Sunday, 12 July 2020

Bathing in the classics, 4711, Badedas and Fenjal

I’ve been bathing a lot lately.

There’s something about the cocooning effect of a warm bath that’s deeply tranquil, or the zingy bombardment of a shower with the pressure turned up to max. 

I’ve always revelled in the joy of bathing, but with the outbreak of Covid 19 it’s become even more of a necessity. When I return home from a day’s teaching, I immediately strip off and bundle my clothes into the washer, then comes the race past the window as I leg it to the shower, hoping that I haven’t shocked the neighbours with a high speed nude bounce!

For the perfume lover, choosing a bathing potion is a joy. It’s yet another way to feed our fragrant obsession. In recent months I’ve gone vintage (not literally, I’m not using putrid bottles of bacteria from the 80s), but vintage as in ‘I’ve been around for a long time and there’s a damn good reason why’.

As we know, brands come and go with products being discontinued as quick as they were launched. But these products have been on the shelves for donkeys years, their unique fragrances and super utility commanding a loyal following. Here’s what I’m using:

4711 Original Eau de Cologne Shower Gel

Exactly as it sounds, a shower gel fragranced with the iconic scent that’s been around since 1792.  The bright turquoise gel creates a lush lather with exactly the same effect of dousing yourself with the EDC, a bracingly bright burst of citrus and herbal notes that cool your body and spark your spirit joy-wards. Nothing feels as perky as 4711. 

My bottle marks the transition from an anxiety ridden day to a restful evening, show me a therapist that can do that for less than a fiver.  

Badedas Original Bath Gelee

Another reviving delight hailing from Germany (these guys really know how to bathe). Badedas is probably best known for its saucy advertising campaigns from the 70s and 80s. The strapline ‘things happen after a Badedas bath’ promised bathers anything from a handsome peeping Tom lurking outside their window to a leather booted goddess striding from a helicopter. Sadly after a Badedas bath I usually just have a glass of wine and watch some telly. 

That said, it’s gorgeous. 

Badedas is one for the forest scent lovers. The lurid green bath soak offers up deeply aromatic woody foam, with oodles of coniferous sap and a calming earthiness. Its therapeutic circulation boosting ingredient is extract of Horse Chestnut. I’m not sure wether the extract imparts a scent or if it’s added with perfume, but there is definitely a whiff reminiscent of peeling open a conker ready to thread and bash over someone’s knuckles. 

This is my go to relax bath, soothing and invigorating in equal measure. Its a real treat year round but particularly beautiful in the winter when I crave the scents of nature around me to banish the dark nights.
You can find a large bottle for less than a tenner online and in big pharmacies. 

Fenjal Classic Creme Bath Oil

If Badedas is your reviving soak, Fenjal is your dreamy one. Launched in Switzerland in 1962 (yet another German speaking country), Fenjal has been lulling us to sleep with its pthalo blue goop since the days before most people indulged in a nightly bath. Back then, it must have been a treat for those with time and money. Nowadays most Europeans have indoor plumbing and it costs about £7, a utilitarian treat indeed!

Fenjal is strong, a little capful scents the upstairs rooms of my house with a heady oriental whiff. The fragrance is deeply sensual and soporific, ideal for a late night pre-bed bath. Even the bottle looks sensual, she has a waist!
According to their website, the notes are vanilla, rose and pine, yet neither of those notes dominate. There is a distinct terpene whiff, slightly reminiscent of pine but it reads more as an aged patchouli, underpinned by a sweet vanillic, earthy and powdery nuance that lulls you into a deep state of relaxation. 

Fenjal released a range of fragrances a few years ago which seem to have disappeared from the shelves as fast as they were launched, unless they just didn’t come to the UK? I’m not sure I’d buy one anyway as veering away from the original scent would feel like an act of infidelity. 

In the current crisis I’m staying close to home with my woefully expired passport. But I’m still dreaming of where I’ll travel in the future. Perhaps a trip to Berlin is in order? Whilst tourists flock in their thousands for the city’s arts scene, I’ll revel in the wonder of German toiletry shopping…

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Avid bathers may also like to click here to read a post on another delightful forest bath from Aromatherapy Associates.