For hundreds of years, this Ottoman-era cologne has been synonymous with Turkish hospitality. Now, it’s being used to fight coronavirus.
As commercial hand sanitizers run dry in the US and Europe, people in Turkey are turning to a traditional, aromatic fragrance that has taken on a whole new relevance amid the coronavirus pandemic:kolonya.
Meaning “cologne”, kolonya has been a treasured symbol of Turkish hospitality and health since the Ottoman Empire, and it’s often described as Turkey’s national scent. Traditionally, this sweet-scented aroma made with fig blossoms, jasmine, rose or citrus ingredients are sprinkled on guests’ hands as they enter homes, hotels, and hospitals; when they finish meals at restaurants; or as they gather for religious services. But unlike other natural scents, this ethanol-based concoction’s high alcohol content can kill more than 80% of germs and act as an effective hand disinfectant.