Tales of the Four Thieves
The inspiration for this blend came out of the historical epidemic known as the Bubonic Plague from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. One of the tales goes like this: four thieves from Marseille, France would rob the afflicted victims of the plague and would walk away unscathed. By using a blend of herbs and spices infused in vinegar, the thieves would have doused themselves with this medicated vinegar before they went up to their victims of the Black Death robbing them of any valuable belongings. This botanical combination was also said to have been used by the doctors of the plague, who placed the herb-infused vinegar inside their bizarre masks of the time and also rubbed it on their bodies and clothes.
Interestingly, there is a possible twist to this story; a man named Richard Forthave made a preparation of a botanical-infused vinegar that had become popular during this time. This preparation was known as Forthave’s Vinegar and over time the name and story were possibly morphed into the Four Thieves. There is also mention that the original recipe for this vinegar was posted on the walls in Marseille during the outbreak. (note: there are many different versions regarding the four thieves)