I wear Number Six, and have been pleased with it.
I wonder at you being doubtful at the claim that the receipt is unchanged. I suspect, as it is a company's secret, that weither or not it has been changed can not be proven. I wouldn't see any reason for alteration however, save ingredieants that are no longer available. Having made cologne, I would see very little reason to expect any alteration for this reason today. Colognes are generally made with alcohol, water, witch hazel, and various "flavouring agents" usually fruit and spices.
As to weither or not Washington's use of it is apochryphal or not, I can not say. I limited perusal on the Washington Papers online shows no reference to Dr William Hunter or Number Six Cologne. If you are really interested, you just email or write to the company, and ask for their documentation. It could be that it is no more than an old corporate story, but they may in fact have documentation. I frankly wouldn't be surprised either way.
Dept of Geographers
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 6:00 AM
Subject: [Revlist] Washington's cologne
I am new to this list and although my knowledge of the American
Revolution is minimal, I've always loved colonial things ever since I
was a child and went on my first school class trip to colonial
Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, but an hour away from where I
lived in Virginia. I've gotten into a "toiletries kick" lately
(nostalgic soaps, powder, candles, etc.) and am curious about
something I've seen in the Caswell-Massey catalog. According to CM,
they "have been in business since 1752 at which time their founder,
Dr. William Hunter created their fragrance called "Number Six" which
they say was George Washington's favorite, liking it so much he sent
a shipment of it to the Marquis de Lafayette." If you go to the
Caswell-Massy web site, you can click on where it says "our company"
then "historical info." then "timeline" and they also say "we offer
it unchanged today."
Being the Doubting Thomas that I am, I've just been wondering if any
of you have ever tried this cologne, or if anybody knows what kind of
archives CM may have to show that Washington did in fact use it, or
if it is truly "unchanged today." The "unchanged today" statement is
the one I really question. A couple of years ago I discovered this
company and went totally overboard and ordered something like eight
different bottles of their fragrances. The transaction was flawless,
the packaging beautiful, etc. and I thought I was in heaven but then
in short time, I began to notice that every single one of them had
chemically <?> broken down into nothing but pretty bottles of musk
(which I hate.) Such a crushing disappointment and I've never
ordered anything from them again because of their "musk problem." (I
forgot to mention that I've always liked/worn mens' colognes and I
know a lot of them are musky but when you order lime, lavender,
lilac, etc. and they all smell like musk, something is wrong!....I
don't get this same problem with Crabtree & Evelyn.)
Anyway, I know this is way off the topic of battles and such but I
figured if anybody would know the answers to my tedious questions,
this group would...ha! I didn't have the nerve to email CM and ask
them to produce a copy of a document, etc. showing that Washington
was one of their customers.
Thanks for any thoughts on this. I've only been subscribed here for
a couple of weeks or so and have enjoyed reading/learning from the
many knowledgeable posts. I've never even been to a reenactment; I
think they had one recently near here, in Great Bridge/Chesapeake but
I could not go.
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