Albert Fouquet, the son of a Parisian aristocrat, was part of elite French society of the early twentieth century and a perfume connoisseur. In a room in 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 every social event he was invited to, he would surprise everyone with his exquisite fragrance that became increasingly in demand within the exclusive social circle he frequented. But Fouquet continually rejected proposals to market his fragrance.
One night during his summer vacation in 1937 on the French Riviera (Cote d’Azur), Albert got on very well with a young American student who was touring France in a convertible: John F. Kennedy. Within minutes of being introduced, the vain JFK was captivated by the essence that Albert wore. Kennedy’s charm and congeniality persuaded Albert to leave him a sample of his cologne with a note at the hotel the following morning: “In this jar, you will find the dash of French glamour that your American personality lacks.”
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 enough extra samples to offset the transport costs. His perfectionism extended not only to the perfume but everything surrounding it. He didn’t fill the order until Philippe finally found some beautiful glass jars in a Parisian pharmacy. Albert considered them suitable for his cologne and labeled them with John’s amusing request: “EIGHT&BOB”.
(Image via AIROWS)
Albert couldn’t believe it a few months later when he began receiving letters from the U.S. 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 Joseph Kennedy, John’s father, who had maintained relationships with well-known stars due to his previous business ventures in the movie industry.
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 that work for a few months longer, since the start of World War II forced him to leave his job with the Fouquet family. In the last shipments he sent, Philippe hid the bottles inside books that he carefully cut by hand to prevent the Nazis from seizing the perfume.
Decades later, thanks to the family of Philippe the butler, the formula for “EIGHT&BOB” has been completely recovered, along with its refined production process. Once again, it has become one of the most exclusive colognes, preferred by the most elegant men in the world.