March 2, 2009
Cologne inventor flap resolved
A centuries-old note found in a Paris library seems to confirm eau de cologne was invented by Italian Paolo Feminis and not another Italian.
The discovery of the 18th-century written evidence appears to shoot down claims by the family of another Italian man that their ancestor had created the popular perfume, a mixture of neroli oil, bergamot, lavender and rosemary, ANSA reported Monday.
Feminis, who lived from 1666 to 1736, moved from a small northern Italian village near Santa Maria Maggiore to Cologne, Germany. His hometown says Feminis gave his formula to Giovanni Maria Farina, who may have been a relative and who also moved from the same village to Cologne.
But Farina's family, which has been making perfumes for eight generations, contended the Feminis claim was only
legend and gossip and in 2007 demanded the Santa Maria Maggiore council remove a claim on its Web site that Feminis was the inventor.
However, researcher Silvia Ceccomori told ANSA she uncovered papers once attached to eau de cologne bottles in which Farina's grandson Giovanni (1718-1787) says the perfume ''was invented by Paolo Feminis, Italian and distiller of Cologne."
Santa Maria Maggiore Deputy Mayor Claudio Cottini said he was satisfied the dispute could finally be put to rest and that he hoped Farina's German descendants would accept the new evidence.