The Story Behind The Original by Eight & Bob.
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, 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:
"In this bottle, 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 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”.
Albert was surprised a few months later when he 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, who had maintained relationships with well-known stars because of his previous business ventures in the movie industry.
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 The Original Eight & Bob has been completely recovered, along with its refined production process.
The main note of The Original by Eight & Bob is a closely-held secret. The fragrance is based on a rare aromatic plant from Chile. In January 1934 Albert Fouquet traveled to Chile and returned to Paris with several sprigs of a plant he called "Andrea." Andrea is a wild plant in short supply due to the altitude and the limited area where it grows; it can only be picked during the months of December and January. The total plants gathered undergo a very exacting selection process of which only 7% are chosen. This process ends between March and April and it is only then that one knows the how many units of The Original can be bottled.
*Photos courtesy of Eight & Bob.
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