Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Mosquito repellent as your perfume! The New Yorkers did it.

Yes, you read it correct. The brand is “Florida Water” by Lanman & Kemp Barclay company.  The product was launched in the year 1808 by Scottish perfumer Robert I. Murray in New York. He was inspired by the mythical “Fountain of Youth”, which was rumoured to be located in Florida, and he believed that the name "Florida Water" would evoke this image.

Initially, the product was to be used as a mosquito repellent. The perfume contains essential oils such as lavender, neroli, and orange blossom, which are known for their insect-repellent properties. More and more new immigrants were coming in and the city was rapidly growing and expanding into new areas that were previously marshy and swampy. These marshy areas were ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. In this situation, Florida Water quickly became popular, and it was sold in pharmacies and corner stores all over the country.

In 1835, David Trumbull Lanman joined the company, and the firm became Murray & Lanman which was renamed Lanman & Kemp in 1861. It has been in continuous production ever since as a family-owned business and is the oldest perfumery in the United States.

(Florida Water advertising, 1880)

Florida Water was rebranded as a fragrance in the 1950s when a new advertising campaign featured images of glamorous women wearing the fragrance. These ads also emphasized the fragrance's exotic and romantic scent. This rebranding was successful, and Florida Water quickly became popular as a fragrance.

Today, Florida Water is still marketed as a fragrance. It is also used in religious and magical rituals. However, the product's original use as a mosquito repellent is no longer widely known. It has a fresh, citrusy scent with floral and spicy undertones. The top notes include Lemon, bergamot, and neroli which provide a bright and refreshing opening.     Lavender, rose, and cinnamon constitute the heart notes and the base notes have Orange flowers, cloves, and nutmeg. These floral and spicy heart and base notes add depth and complexity.

We analysed the customer reviews available online to assess their preferences while using Florida Water. The following result has been obtained where the majority of the consumers use the product for spiritual and religious practices and only 20% of the customers use the product as a true fragrance. However, these are just estimates, and the actual use of Florida Water by consumers may vary.

So, your beloved Florida Water has evolved as an iconic and unique product. The story is full of twists and turns but still very much relevant.


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