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Florida Water is a 19th century formula for a commercially-prepared toilet water (see below for a definition of toilet water) that blends an array of floral essential oils in a water-alcohol base. The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth said to have been located in Florida.

A similar toilet water is Kananga Water, which is built upon a foundation of essential oil of Cananga odorata, also known as Ylang Ylang (which may be closer to its pronunciation in its native growth region of Indonesia and adjacent areas). Commercial kananga plantations were established in Jamaica in the 19th century by the British.

Although both Florida Water and Kanaga Water have the word "water" in their names, it should be noted that they are actually alcohol-based Colognes -- unlike such products as Willow Water, Rose Water, and Orange Water, which are made from distilled water with added botanical fragrances.

Both Florida Water and Kananga Water are widely used in rituals of home protection and spiritual cleaning, to scent bowls of water set out for the spirits of the dead, as a basis for making an ink-dyed scrying water, and for other ritual and cosmetic purposes among people of African-diaspora descent in the United States and the Caribbean. A third 19th century commercial perfume with a long history of magical associations is Hoyt's Cologne, which is used among African-American hoodoo practitioners to draw gambling luck.

The specific blends of essential oils found in Florida Water and Kananga Water used to vary from maker to maker so there is no "one and only" way to make up these mixtures. Typical commercial formulas for both products can be found in any standard formulary in your local public library -- such as "Henley's Formulas," or "Fortunes in Formulas" by Hiscox and Sloane. (See below.) These days i know of only two commercial sources for Florida Water, Lanman and Kemp and Two Girls (a toiletry company in China) and two commercial perfumeries supplying Kananga Water, the Vandi Perfume Co. and Lanman and Kemp.

I used to make my own Florida Water and Kananga Water from recipes in commercial formularies, but i find that the Lanman and Kemp products are perfectly satisfactory and the labels are very familiar to users, so i now sell that brand in my shop and online.

Murray and Lanman Florida Water Cologne (actually now manufactured and distributed by Lanman and Kemp) has an old-fashioned Victorian-era style label -- very floral and rococo in slightly out-of-register pinks, reds, blues, and gold. It depicts a hodge-podge of isolated figures on a white background -- the Fountain of Youth, a woman with a bird perched on her hand, a troubadour with a lute, two parrots, two wreaths of flowers, flowers in a basket, ornamental leaves, etc. The bottles still have an old-fashioned long-necked shape, are embossed at the shoulder with "Murray & Lanman Florida Water -- New York," and are wrapped and sealed with silver foil on which is imprinted a spiral black-and-white trade mark notice in Victorian display lettering with a spread eagle in a stamp plus a handwritten signature ("Lanman and Kemp").

Lanman and Kemp also manufacture Florida Water Soap. This high-quality beauty bar has the same familiar floral aroma as the cologne and is wrapped in paper featuring the same lovely graphics as the famous bottle. Florida Water Soap can be used for physical as well as ritual cleansing of the skin.

Another brand of Florida Water -- Two Girls, from China -- also has a cool-looking label, featuring two girl children in Chinese costumes in a floral landscape, but i have never been able to get a wholesale line on it, and so i sell the Lanman and Kemp variety in my shop.

Murray and Lanman Kananga Water Cologne (now made by Lanman and Kemp) is similar in quality to Vandi Kananga Water, but the label is more attractive, so that is the brand i carry in my shop. It is another Victorian-rococo confection of floral motifs and scroll-work, centered on an image of a bunch of flowers and a waterfall. The container is less ornate, however, being a simple long-necked plastic bottle without embossing on the shoulder or foil wrapping on the neck.

Order Florida Water Cologne from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

Order Kananga Water Cologne from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

Order Florida Water Soap from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.


"Florida Water" and the associated graphic label are registered trademarks of Lanman and Kemp. It is against the law to manufacture and market a product of that name or bearing that image. However, formulas for a variety of products once marketed as Florida Water have been published since the 19th century, and i get many requests for formula information from would-be mages who want to save a few cents and make their own. For the record, i think that making Florida Water or Kananga Water at home is somewhat of a fool's errand, because the Lanman and Kemp products, available from any good occult supply store, are of impeccable quality and reasonably priced. However, the following technical information is presented for the use of readers who wish to try their hands at perfumery. It is expected that before you begin such a task you familiarize yourself with the terminology, systems of measurement, and methods used in a laboratory. Please do not email me with requests for help in locating essential oils or lab equipment; i will not reply.


From "The Ancient Book of Formulas" by Lewis de Claremont comes this basic information on how to distinguish perfumes, colognes, and toilet waters based on their relative percentages of essential oils, alcohol, and water:

   All perfumes contain alcohol to varying degrees. Most
   important perfumes contain 2 to 3 ounces of oils per pint
   of alcohol. Most domestic [cheaper] perfumes [and Colognes]  
   contain 1 to 3 ounces of oils per pint of alcohol.

However the amounts of essential oil or concentration is determined solely by taste and price.

Toilet waters are just weak perfumes, generally containing 1 to 6 ounces of essential oil per gallon of alcohol. However 10% to 25% water is usually added according to the amount of essential oils contained therein.


From Hiscox and Sloane's "Fortunes in Formulas" comes this basic information on the proper type of alcohol to use in perfumery:

   The alcohol used should be that obtained from the 
   distillation of wine, provided a first-class article 
   is desired. It is possible, of course, to make a good 
   Cologne with very highly rectified and deodorized corn 
   or potato spirits, but the product never equals that 
   made from wine spirits. Possibly the reason for this 
   lies in the fact that the latter always contains a 
   varying amount of oenanthic ether. 


It is traditional to dye Florida Water a pale aqua-green and Kananga Water a pale orange. These dyes are not necessary to the formulas, but if you intend to show the results of your experiments to others, their use will greatly enhance viewer recognition.


The formulas for Kananga perfumes below contain grain musk and/or civet. Hiscox and Sloane's "Fortunes in Formulas" provides the following basic information on the proper formulation of such ingredients in liquid perfumes:

   When grain musk is used as an ingredient in liquid 
   perfumes, first rub down with pumice stone, then digest
   in hot water for 2 or 3 hours; finally add to alcohol.
   The addition of 2 or 3 minims of acetic acid will improve
   the odor and also prevent accumulation of NH3. Civet 
   should be thoroughly rubbed down with some coarse powder
   and added directly to alcohol. 
   oil of bergamot 3 fluid ounces
   oil of lavender 1 fluid ounce
   oil of lemon 1 fluid ounce
   oil of cloves 1 1/4 fluid drachms
   oil of cinnamon 2 1/2 fluid drachms
   oil of neroli 1/2 fluid drachms
   essence of jasmine 6 fluid ounces
   essence of musk 2 fluid ounces
   alcohol 8 pints
   rose water 1 pint

   Mix and, if cloudy, filter through 
   magnesium carbonate. 

-- From "Fortunes in Formulas For Home, Farm, and Workshop"
edited by Garner D. Hiscox, M.E. and
Prof. T. O'Conner Sloane, A.B., A.M., Em., Ph.D.
(The Norman B. Henley Publishing Company, 1937)


   oil of bergamot 3 fluid ounces
   oil of lemon 1 fluid ounce
   oil of ylang ylang 1 fluid ounce
   oil of lavender 1/2 fluid ounce
   oil of cinnamon 20 drops
   oil of cloves 12 drops
   oil of neroli 10 drops
   alcohol 1 gallon
   rose water 1 pint 
     (or distilled water plus light rose scent) 

-- From my own personal notes, circa 1973, source
not attributed but apparently adapted from an old
formulary to use what i had on hand at the time.


   oil of ylang ylang 10 minims
   oil of neroli 5 minims
   oil of rose 5 minims 
   oil of bergamot 3 minims
   alcohol 10 oz.
   One grain of musk may be added
   Dilute with distilled water to make a toilet water.

-- From "Manual of Formulas, Recipes, Methods, and Secret Processes"
edited by Raymond B. Wailes, B.S.
(Popular Science Publishing Co., New York, 1932)


   ylang ylang oil 45 minims
   rose oil 15 minims
   cassie oil 5 minims
   almond oil 1/2 minims
   tincture of orris rhizome 1 fluid ounce
   tincture of storax 3 fluid drachms
   grain musk 3 grains
   civet 1 grain
   tonka beans 3 (chopped)
   alcohol (90%) 9 fluid ounces

   Mix, and digest one month, then filter. The 
   above is a very delicious perfume.

   N.B. Cassie oil, also called cassie otto, is 
   derived from the flowers of Acacia farnesiana, 
   a.k.a. Mimosa farnesiana, L. (N.O. Leguminosae, 
   sub-order Mimoseae). It must not be confounded 
   with cassia otto, the essential oil obtained 
   from Cinnamomum cassia.

-- From "Fortunes in Formulas For Home, Farm, and Workshop"
edited by Garner D. Hiscox, M.E. and
Prof. T. O'Conner Sloane, A.B., A.M., Eum., ph.D.
(The Norman B. Henley Publishing Company, 1937)


   Essence d'ylang-ylang  24 grammes
   Isoeugenol  4 grammes
   Methyl-isoeugenol  2 grammes
   Alcohol a 90 [degree symbol] pour 1 litre
-- From "The Ancient Book of Formulas"
by Lewis de Claremont
(Oracle Products Corporation, New York, 1940)

Note: Bouquet Canang, Kananga Perfume, and Extrait d'Ylang-Ylang are strong perfumes and as such may be diluted with 10% to 25% distilled water as outlined above to make them into Kananga Water Cologne.

Order Florida Water Cologne from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

Order Kananga Water Cologne from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

Order Florida Water Soap from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.


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