I call it a true “Americana” perfume. Non-surprisingly, its history, passed on verbally from generation to generation , includes JFK.
Albert Fouquet was a perfume connoisseur, son of a Parisian aristocrat, and member of elite French society in the early twentieth century. He would surprise his social circle at exclusive events with an exquisite fragrance that sparked instant demand. He easily could but rejected any proposals to market his fragrance.
Story goes, a night during his summer vacation in 1937 on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Albert met and got along with a young American student who was touring France in a convertible: John F. K. JFK was captivated by the essence that Albert wore and persuaded Albert to leave him a sample of his cologne.
Right after his vacation, Albert received a letter from John in the U.S. thanking him for the kind gesture and informing him how popular the perfume became amongst his friends. He requested that Albert send him eight samples, “and if your production allows, another one for Bob”. Without fully understanding the request, Albert decided to send a box with sufficient samples to offset the transport costs. His perfectionism extended not only to the fragrance but everything surrounding it. He didn’t fill the order until his assistant found some beautiful glass bottles in a Parisian pharmacy. He ordered several boxes decorated with the same pattern as the shirt that JFK was wearing when they met, and then labeled the bottles and boxes with John’s amusing request: “EIGHT & BOB”.
Albert began receiving letters from America with requests from various Hollywood directors, producers, and actors such as Cary Grant and James Stewart.
Everyone wanted the “EIGHT & BOB” cologne they had apparently discovered through John’s father.
Unfortunately, the success of his cologne would not spread much further. In the spring of 1939, Albert died in an automobile accident near Biarritz (France). His butler, Philippe, the only person who could handle the orders, would only continue with the work for a few months, since the start of World War II forced him to leave his job with the Fouquet family. In the final shipments, Philippe hid the bottles inside books that he carefully cut by hand to prevent the Nazis from seizing the cologne.
Decades later, thanks to the family of Philippe the butler, the formula for “EIGHT & BOB” has been completely recovered, along with its carefully crafted production process. Lucky for us…