Eau de water!
Eau de is French for ‘water of’. I’m sure you have heard of, or even sprayed, eau de toilette or eau de parfum. In English the idea of ‘toilet water’ sends school children into sniggers, but toilette is the process of washing oneself, dressing and taking care of one’s appearance, so splashing on some eau de toilette is part of this process of daily ablutions.
Eau de parfum, containing about 15% aromatics, is more concentrated than eau de toilette typically with 10% aromatics. Parfum (with no eau) has 20%.
Eau de Cologne, named after the German city, is an even more diluted citrus scent. Cologne has come to mean any light scent and is particularly used in relation to men’s fragrances.
Eau de vie means ‘water of life’ as joie de vie means ‘joy of life’. Eau de vie is a colourless brandy with a light fruit flavour e.g. eau de vie pomme is apple flavoured.
Quite a few spirits take their name from life-giving water. Whisky comes from the Gaelic usquebaugh and vodka comes from the Slavic voda. Both words mean ‘water’.
The colour name eau de nil means literally ‘water of the Nile’. It is a pale yellowish-green colour reminiscent of the River Nile to those who named it. It sounds like something you might find on a sheet of paint colours along with Flounder, Asparagus and Serenity!