Viktoria Minya – Eau de Hongrie, available here
An ancient Hungarian tradition tells that, on Easter Monday, men were allowed to throw a bucket of cold well water over girls of marriageable age or even dip them in a stream, as a fertility rite ( …. and this kinda springs to mind Monty Python’s ”if she floats she’s a witch”)
Over the years, the tradition has been made less intrusive and sprinkling girls with perfume is the accepted way of carrying on this tradition. I’m draining out my sample of Eau de Hongrie -Viktoria Minya today – name meaning “Hungarian water- supposedly the first alcohol-based perfume recipe made in Europe. Legend has it that this perfume, a true medicinal elixir, was a gift a monk-alchemist gave Queen Elizabeth as a remedy for her migraines.
The original recipe tells us about a potion made out of rosemary, thyme, and cognac, more recent versions adding in mixture lavender, mint, orange blossom, and lemon (Fragonard still have in their portfolio a fragrance called “Eau de Hungary” – based on the original recipe). Over the centuries, Hungarian water has been used as a medicine, thanks to its antibacterial properties, from disinfectant during the plague, to anesthetics for the dentists of the time, to anti-wrinkle cosmetic use.
Viktoria Minya took a step sideways from the legend and rewrote it in a modern version. Eau de Hongrie is a modern niche perfume, inspired by the noblest wine in Hungary, the famous Tokaji (a worldwide known dessert wine with proven medical benefits)I do not know if I am younger or healthier after a few puffs of this wonderful concoction, but it is certain that I feel pleasant dizziness, as if I had drunk a few glasses of Tokaji wine, in a garden of eternal worldly delights, one with flowers from which wild honey flows and sandalwood clocks melt lazily, hanging from the tree branches.
Ingredients: Lemon, grapefruit, clove, jasmine, honey, sandalwood, immortelle, labdanum, musk, tonka bean, and Tokaji Aszu wine.
If you like this, also try: Sakura Imperial