The saying goes ‘You should never judge a book by it’s cover’, but I just knew I would love Eight & Bob the first time I laid eyes on the striped packaging across the room. How could I not? Fragrance + Striped packaging = Sure fire win. What I didn’t expect was a history full of glamour, mystery and war…
Albert Fouquet, the son of a Parisian aristocrat, was part of the elite French society in the early twentieth century and a perfume connoisseur. In a room on the upper floor of the family chateau, Fouquet created and perfected various essences for his own personal use – aided by Philippe, the family butler.
At social events he would surprise everyone with an exquisite fragrance that became increasingly in demand within the exclusive social circle he frequented. However, Fouquet continually rejected proposals to market his fragrance.
One night during his summer vacation in 1937 on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Albert met and got on very well with a young American student who was touring France in a convertible: John F. K. Within minutes of being introduced, the vain JFK was captivated by the essence that Albert wore. John’s charm and congeniality persuaded Albert to leave him a sample of his cologne with a note at the hotel the following morning:
On returning from his vacation, Albert received a letter from John in the U.S. thanking him for the kind gesture and informing him of the success his perfume was enjoying among 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 Philippe found some beautiful glass bottles in a Parisian pharmacy that Albert considered suitable for his cologne. Finally, 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”.
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). 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.
In a nod to this important part of its history, the original ‘Eight & Bob’ fragrance is presented in a book, complete with cut out pages. 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. Once again, it has become one of the most exclusive colognes, preferred by the world’s most elegant men.
So, what are the fragrances like? Well… quite frankly, divine. The two I have are ‘Champs de Provence’ and ‘Nuit de Megève’ both polar opposites but equally as luxurious.
Up first; ‘Champs de Provence‘ is a fragrance inspired by the sheer beauty of the Provence landscape. The newest addition to the Eight & Bob collection is refreshing and uplifting one. The top notes are Bergamot, orange and pear for a summery and zesty feel whilst the middle notes of orange blossom, rose and jasmine soften things a little to add a touch of romance to the fragrance. Finally, the base notes of musk and ambroxan warm things up a little. I love spritzing this first thing in the morning after getting out of the shower as it’s like a summer vacation in a bottle – you feel alive and relaxed all at the same time!
‘Nuit de Megeve‘ is inspired by the magical nights in a charming authentic French village. I love warm, woody scents and this one does not dissapoint. It’s seductive without being too in your face with it’s aroma. The middle and base notes of Coffee, tobacco, musk and vetiver really shine through on this one. On first spray you are met with a welcoming, warm embrace which slowly mellows and the top notes of grapefruit, petitgrain and cloves become clearer. I’ve been wearing this fragrance in the evening mostly and have been asked several times by complete strangers what it is I am wearing – always a great indicator you’re onto a winning fragrance!
* Please note I was gifted two fragrances from Aspects Beauty PR to trial. I have been a fan of the brand for quite some time (possibly persuaded by the stripe packaging!) and wanted to write a post about how the brand came to be as it’s such a wonderful story.