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According to the current trademark holders, Lanman & Kemp Barclay, Florida Water was introduced by the New York City perfumer and founder of the original company, Robert Murray, in 1808. Formulated with citrus essences, clove, lavender and other herbal and floral extracts, Florida Water is uniquely American and a true classic among fragrances.
Florida Water was regarded as a unisex cologne, suitable for men and women alike. Victorian etiquette manuals warned young ladies against the offensive impression made by a strong perfume, but Florida Water and Eau de Cologne were recommended as appropriate for all.
In the 1880s and 1890s Murray & Lanman Florida Water was advertised as The Richest of all Perfumes and The Most Popular Perfume in the World. Like other colognes of the era, Florida Water was valued for its refreshing and tonic nature as well as its scent, and could be used as a skin toner or as what we would now call a body splash. It was also used as a toilet water by adding it to the bath or wash-water.
Although now obscure to most of the general American population, Florida Water has remained popular among South American and Caribbean cultures and was incorporated into ritual traditions including shamanic practices.