“It smells very much like 1940. It’s dapper,” a brand rep said, but it's the scent's history that draws.
As a college student in 1937, Kennedy toured France, and struck up conversation with a Frenchman over the scent he was wearing.
That man, Albert Fouquet, happened to be an amateur perfumer, and left a sample at Kennedy's hotel with a note that read, "In this jar, you will find the dash of French glamour that your American personality lacks."
Insults aside, Kennedy got back to the U.S. and wrote to Fouquet to say everyone loved the fragrance. He asked Fouquet to send eight samples and "if your production allows, another one for Bob," referring, of course, to Robert Kennedy.
Fouquet sent the samples, labeled Eight & Bob. The scent was so popular Hollywood stars started asking for the blend.
But in 1939, Fouquet died in a car accident. Philippe, the family butler, had assisted Fouquet in his perfume-making and continued to fill orders until WWII began. Then he hid bottles of the perfumes inside hollowed books to hide them from the Nazis.
Philippe never made the perfume again after the war, and it's not clear what happened to him. But his family recovered the recipe, and began production again last year.
Eight & Bob will see wider distribution in the U.S. this fall, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination on November 22.
Eight & Bob, winner of two Cosmetic Innovator of the Year awards, comes in one size for $195, and is packaged inside a hardcover book with novel-quality paper cut to fit the bottle.
The the "woody vanilla" formula is top secret, it does contain the extract of the “Andrea” plant, so nicknamed by Fouquet when he discovered it in Chile. It can only be harvested in December and January, and only 7 percent of the harvest is usable, limiting annual supply of the fragrance.