Professor [Parvez] Haris, an expert in Biomedical Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, will submit a research paper this week which says the essential oils in Napoleon’s favourite Eau De Cologne can explain many of the changes in Napoleon’s health, including his development of gastric cancer found during an autopsy by the Emperor’s British captors at the time.
His exposure to high levels of essential oils was not limited to Eau de Cologne. He regularly drank orange blossom water which also contains essential oil. Being from Corsica, he was fond of citrus fruits which are rich in essential oils but it is the abnormally high daily intake from Eau de Cologne that led to toxic effects.
— Napoleon reportedly used 2-3 bottles of Eau de Cologne per day. Read more in Did Napoleon meet his Water-l'eau? DMU professor says French emperor was killed by an obsession with Eau de Cologne at De Montfort University Leicester. (Hat tip to Bill, who originally found this story in the Daily Mail.)
2-3 bottles PER DAY? Gosh, must have been one of those people you smell before (and long after) you see.
I wonder what the juice was. It may have been a much lower concentration.
Would be a splash cologne, similar to 4711.
I can add some more detail to this little fact (I’m a historian): yes he used 2-3 bottles a day. BUT not necessarily just on himself. Napoleon tended to splash everyone who came within his personal space. Remember this was an era where people didn’t bathe regularly, didn’t wash their hair and few brushed their teeth. People stank! So besides scenting himself he doused visitors and fellow military. I’m not sure the scent was any lighter back then, eau de cologne is already pretty fleeting. 2-3 bottles to make those around him smell better too is probably about right.
Thanks for the insight – really interesting and does seem more reasonable than using 2-3 bottles on himself alone.
Also – feeling very thankful for living in the era of showers right now!
I’m not sure about his habits, but snuff, drinking heavily , and laudanum were common at the time. He suffered constipation and had a really bad case of hemorrhoids at Waterloo. Chronic insomniac too. But of course only the perfume could be the cause! You’re right, he commanded an army and had a large court. Of course he wasn’t using that much every day.