Eight & Bob – the scented story of the socialite, the president, his brother & a muse

The remarkable story behind Eight & Bob brings together a dashing perfume-lover, a president, his brother and now we’re introduced to a stunning 1930s society muse named Annicke. Settle down and grab a cuppa as you learn the secrets behind the founding of this extraordinary niche house, and the stories which continue to inspre the creation of its contemporary, so-wearable scents..

We begin with the tale of how Eight & Bob got its name: One night during the summer of 1937, so we’re told, in the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Albert Fouquet, a young socialite and perfume connoisseur (who loved to blend his own essences), met an American student who was touring France: John F. Kennedy. 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 his hotel the following morning:

 

In this bottle, you will find the dash of French glamour that your American personality lacks.’

The shade of it all! Rather daring to address one of the Kennedys in such a manner, but we guess if you were a particular kind of socialite, you could get away with such cutting remarks.

Eight & Bob continue the story by describing how, on returning from vacation, ‘Albert received a letter from JFK thanking him for the fragrance and informing him of its success amongst his friends. He requested that Albert send him eight samples, “and if your production allows, another one for Bob”. (‘Bob’ being Robert Kennedy). And so, the legend of the house begat its name. You can read all the details in our page dedicated to the history of Eight & Bob.

The Eight & Bob Iconic Discovery Set is just £20 to delve into six timeless scents, including (of course) the original signature of JFK. The others are scented snapshopts, if you like, that dive deeper into the era and the characters at play, and you can click on the link to read the notes and full reviews of each.

Though initially put together by the house with men in mind, here at Perfume Society HQ we implore everyone to explore this divine collection and discover the timeless aromas loved by the stars of old Hollywood. We enjoy weraing many of these scents ourselves, so be sure to keep them safely locked away, chaps, if you want to keep them for yourselves!

Cap d’Antibes  – a fragrance that captures the essence of  long summer days

Champs de Provence  – an exquisite fragrance, inspired by the beauty of Provence

Egypt – based on Albert Fouquet’s fascination of ancient Egyptian culture

Eight & Bob Original –  the fragrance that was a great success with both JFK and his friends

Mémoires de Mustique – capturing the magic of this unique Caribbean island

Nuit de Megève – based on mountain air, the smell of wood smoke and elegance.

Now the Eight & Bob history unfurls a little further with the telling of founder Albert Fouquet‘s own tale – or rather, that of the woman who turned his life upside down. One evening in the French Alps, he attended a high society soirée (it seems he was paiting the town varying shades of scarlet almost every night) and at this particular party was introduced to the strikingly beautiful Annicke.

The Annicke Fragrance Discovery Set is also just £20 to explore all six scents, and has been created as a contemporary tribute to Fouquet’s love. The exquisite fragrances are inspired by that single, muse in the 1930s, but the love story lives on today in this line-up of six numbered scents – each exploring a differing facet of her personality. Because yes, Albert, a woman can be drop dead gorgeous but SO much more, as he found out…

Annicke 1 – an ode to the extraordinary beauty and elegance of a woman with feminine floral aromas of lily of the valley, peony and jasmine

Annicke 2 – deliberately sensual and irresistible with harmonious notes of fruity fig and mandarin that uplift the senses, and hazelnut that brings a delicate touch of sugar

Annicke 3 – inspired by the sophisticated and glamorous charm of the early 1920s as white rose unfurls an air of vintage femininity across a dancefloor

Annicke 4 – inspired by an enchanted forest with woody and earthy undertones of Cashmeran and oakmoss, with spring-like floral notes of rose, ylang ylang and jasmine

Annicke 5 – discover the art of seduction via rich notes of full-bodied plum, golden honey with a dash of spicy rum and a base of sensual patchouli

Annicke 6 – personifying the complex dimensions of a woman, through juxtaposing notes of Sichuan pepper, bergamot and carnation.

Whichever scent you first fall for – the iconic original, the world-tour of scented snaphots or the six scented love letters to Albert’s muse – we’re sure you’ll enjoy trying all of the president’s scents…

By Suzy Nightingale

Perfume Bottles Auction 2021 – the rare, unique & ravishing!

The annual Perfume Bottles Auction is the most important date in the diary for serious scent bottle collectors around the world. Every year, stunning examples of artistic fragrance flaçons are meticulously sourced and offered to bidders, and it’s a chance to see some of the rarest bottles outside of a museum.

Since 1979, organiser and founder of The Perfume Bottles Auction, Ken Leach, has been working ‘to create public and corporate awareness of the artistry to be found in vintage perfume presentation.’ His antique shop’s show-stopping merchandise ‘has served as a source of inspiration for glass companies, package designers, and celebrity perfumers, before ultimately entering the collections of perfume bottle enthusiasts around the globe.’

Like last year, thanks to the pandemic the auction will be held online on May 1st 2021 – though this offers the opportunity for everyone to join in. The circumstances have made sourcing items more challenging, but Mr. Leach says, although he’s not been able to travel ‘…as I normally would to view collections, fate smiled and among this year’s consignments are some of the rarest and most unusual items I’ve seen.’

 

 

The stunning print catalogue – highly collectable in itself, and an invaluable resource for fragrance fans and historians alike – is now available (and can be sent worldwide).

Mr. Leach is pictured, above, with some of the most important items, and walks us through them, below. Get set to swoon…!
DeVilbiss & Osiris
‘Exceedingly rare 1928 DeVilbiss figural dragonfly perfume atomizer with a pre-sale estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.  Also in this photo is the all important Osiris by Vinolia with a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $40,000
Paul Poiret Rosine
‘1919 Rosine Aladin perfume bottle in elaborate box signed Mario Simonis ’19. The box graphics depict Paul Poiret as a Persian King in an imagined Orientalist tableau, the base covered in authentic Moroccan fabric. Pre-sale estimate $2,500-3,500.’
Hoffmann
‘Spectacular 1920s Heinrich Hoffmann Czechoslovakian black crystal perfume bottle with Austrian decoration by Turriet & Bardach. Pre-sale estimate $4,500-5,000’
 
Isabey Lalique
‘1924 Rene Lalique for Isabey A Travers la Voilette (Through the Veil) perfume presentation in collaboration with Alix Ayme. On the box cover and seen through a veil, a beautiful woman smelling a bouquet of flowers is detailed. The lustrous box is finished to appear lacquered while the veil pattern is printed in metallic ink, allowing the embossed flowers to appear to pierce through the veil. Pre-sale estimate $3,000-6,000′
Powder Box
‘1920s Rare Galleries Lafayette “Terre de Retz” highly detailed figural “Pirate Ship” powder box. Pre-sale estimate $1,500-2,000’
Lalique Olives
‘1912 Rene Lalique et Cie. “Olives” clear glass perfume bottle molded with convex oval cabochons, matching stopper. Pre-sale Estimate $600-800’
Ballerina
‘1940’s Marie Earle Ballerina perfume bottle presentation includes a covered plaster ballet shoe stand box. Advertisements for this perfume read “Ballerina perfume for dancing souls.” Pre-sale estimate $3,000-4,000′

Christmas gift ideas for men: fabulous, festive & fragrant…

Christmas gift ideas for men? It can be difficult, we know – and especially this year, when so many of us are apart from our loved ones. But worry not. You’ve come to the right place! We’re brimming over with scented suggestions that will have him feeling fabulous, festive, AND fragrant

 

Christmas gift ideas for men

The Super Man Discovery Box: £22 (or £18 for VIP club members!)

For super men everywhere, we’ve included independent perfume houses making their mark: recently launched ånd fragrance with sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients at the forefront, decadent Italian niche with Laboratorio Olfattivo and Jovoy with their new creation based on the Mayfair store 21 Conduit St. Also including newness from loved names including St Giles, Parfums de Marly, Ruth Mastenbroek, Floris, Caron,Initio, Atelier Des Ors, Kierin NYC and Anima Vinci. We also bring you TWO GROOMING PRODUCTS! FISH Memory Fish Flexible Gel (50ml), and the divinely scented beard savour WELEDA Skin Food (10ml). Up, up and a-spray…!

 

The Sharing Collection Discovery Box: £23 (or £19 for VIPs)

Yes, we know we’re using the word ‘men’ here, but some chaps perhaps aren’t as advanced in their tastes, fragrance-sharing wise, and will balk at anything not specifically marketed as ‘masculine’ scents. However, here’s a way to ease them in to the modern world – with so many fabulous ‘shareable’ creations being launched, we’ve decided to put our favourites in one beautiful box, for EVERYONE to wear. Niche perfume houses rarely categorise their creations as ‘male’ or ‘female’ – and there’s plenty here with newness from Goldfield & Banks, Kingdom Scotland, BDK Parfums, Vines House Parfum and Rook Perfumes. We also showcase classics such as Goutal Paris Eau D’Hadrien and Eight & Bob Egypt, along with fabulous discoveries from Initio and Atelier des Ors, plus two ‘unisex’ body treats. We won’t be at all surprised if he decides he DOESN’T want to share with anyone else. So maybe treat yourself to one as well?

 

Mihan Aromatics Discovery Set: £33

Mihan Aromatics are a true product of Australia – an up-and-coming perfume house from Down Under. Their luxury, all-natural scents capture the fascinating fragrance landscape of that vast country, created by uber-cool Melbourne couple Josh and Julia Mihan. (They’ve been likened to ‘the BYREDO of Australia…’) In this incredible line-up of gender-neutral fragrances, Josh and Jules combine native floral and spices – including Australian sandalwood, now being deployed by the fragrance industry as a sustainable alternative to Indian Santalum album. You can spray the ENTIRE COLLECTION in this divinely cool set, each one a very clear style; a lightness, a dreamy character, a mood. Try Mikado Bark, a mountainous arrangement of paper and unfamiliar books exude distinction and literary prowess. Or Petrichor Plains, conjuring up the drenching of earth and rock after a shower. Plus: a bonus ‘untitled’ fragrance, still in development, of which you get an exclusive sneak peek… HOW cool it that?!

Jovoy Discovery Set: £30

For chaps unashamedly into decadent scents, you can do no better than choose this collection. Jovoy has a fascinating history as a Parisian house, its customers were a ‘Who’s Who?’ of the Roaring Twenties. Then scent exporter and expert in raw ingredients, François Hénin, rediscovered and revived the fragrance house. So now we bring you this just-launched Discovery Set of FOURTEEN of Jovoy‘s fabulous, opulent fragrances. Created with master perfumers, it is bursting with OLFACTORY HERITAGE and beauty. From Ambre Premier, which layers unisex rose onto vanilla, musk and patchouli to La Liturgie des Heures, evoking the atmosphere of an old cathedral via incense, myrrh and labdanum – and with a dozen more to explore for yourself – each fragrance holds a place in time. Plus each set contains a 10% voucher redeemable against a full size Jovoy fragrance! Daring, decadent, divine: why not treat yourself or – someone close…?

We’ve man-y (sorry) many more fragrant sets with which to entice your senses, simply explore our shop for more ideas (and let us do the sending to save you going to the post office, if you prefer). No matter your budget or the man in your life’s tastes, we have Christmas, fragrantly covered

By Suzy Nightingale

Ruth Mastenbroek: A Working Nose

‘Scent is my life.’  Says perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek. Quite simply, she explains that ‘The fragrance is the essence of my art.  It is my signature…’

Ruth Mastenbroek was born in England and graduated with a Chemistry degree from Oxford University. Having trained in the late 70s and then worked as a perfumer in the UK and Netherlands with Naarden International (who later became Quest and is now Givaudan – one of the largest perfume suppliers in the world); Ruth worked in Japan and in the perfume capital Grasse before returning to England to work for a small compan. There she created fragrances for up-and-coming brands like Kenneth Turner and Jo Malone – including her now infamously successful Grapefruit candle. But finally Ruth knew she wanted to set up her own perfumery company, Fragosmic Ltd., in 2003 – the year she became president of The British Society of Perfumers.

In 2010 Ruth launched her capsule collection of scented products featuring her signature fragrance – RM – and also became the first to use the ground-breaking micro-encapsulation technology… in a scented bathrobe!

Ruth launched her second fragrance, Amorosa, in May 2012 at Les Senteurs in London. Her range is now sold in more than 25 exclusive shops in the UK, as well as in the Netherlands and Nigeria. Her fragrances are astonishingly well composed, but more than smelling beaituful, they capture whole worlds and stories in every bottle.

We’re thrilled to be stocking this incredible discovery set of fragrances in the Ruth Mastenbroek Collection for you to try at home. From the smoulderingly sensual to the classically chic, with sunshine, smoky green unisex to travel memories and joyous moments captured in every bottle, we truly believe there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Why not treat yourself (or a loved one) to a whole new world of exploration…?

Ruth Mastenbroek Collection £17.95 for 4 x 2ml eau de parfum

Ruth has long been a friend of The Perfume Society, so we thought it was about time we caught up with her and found out exactly how she goes about making her fragrances, as part of our series of exclusive interviews with perfumers, called The Working Nose

Is there any such thing as an average day for you? What’s your routine?

Ruth Mastenbroek: It’s not quite as rigid as that. What tends to happen is that I get ideas overnight, and then I can try them out in the lab the next morning. I do enjoy writing out my formulas then, and feeling that then I’ve got the rest of the day to work through them. The way that I like to work has evolved over time. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make a chypre, and the basic structure, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it – there was a lot of trial and error and going back and forth between versions, but eventually I did get there with Signature.

With Amorosa, I knew I wanted to create a tuberose fragrance, because it was so incredibly different from what I’d done, so I wanted to explore. But it had to have something else, which became the ambery woody part of it. With Oxford and Firedance I had a starting point, but then I’d take a chunk out and try something else, to see how that affected the performance and character. It’s not as though I know exactly what’s going to happen when I put two things together. Obviously after forty years I know a lot, I have the experience, but you can never absolutely be sure until it’s done!

Do you keep a notebook with you to collect ideas – how do you keep a track of everything you imagine?

Well it honestly tends to be all in my head, the ideas are very vivid and I like to start working on them immediately, but over the years I’ve made so many different formulas, it’s all written down and I keep a note of every single addition or subtraction I experiment with. That way you have this back catalogue of things that you might not have a use for immediately, but which you know will prove vital at some point! My daughter thinks it’s hilarious that I still write everything down by hand. I still make a note of everything on the computer, but I prefer writing by hand. I do tend to have a lot of Postit notes around, scraps of paper with things that have occurred to me – an unusual combination that worked surprisingly well.

Are you inspired by pictures, textures or sounds at all?

For me it’s a very visual thing – I know some perfumers are synaesthetic and also inspired by sounds, and I can imagine that being very creative working with music, but I see them visually. I think of them texturally, too – very touchy-feely. When I think about my fragrances this way I can then sense what else I need to add to extend that feeling.

Do you need to work in complete quiet – do you shut yourself away when you’re working?

I very much prefer to be alone. I love working and creating on my own. Working from home a lot of the time I can do that. If you’re in a bigger office it’s much harder to do that, but I will always go and find a room where I can go and have some solitude. Otherwise there are too many distractions. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to be distracted, but I like to work methodically through something and just get it done.

When you’re composing a fragrance, are you strict about keeping everything very neutral around you? So not wearing any scented products at all?

Oh yes, you have to really. I mean you end up trying them on your skin of course, because you need to know how they perform, but other scents are very intrusive. Actually, I had one moment that really awkward – I was working for a company where they invited several perfumers to on a day trip to a bluebell wood, with the idea that each perfumer would then create a fragrance based on their personal impressions of it. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of wearing a sweater I’d worn previously had perfume on it. I just didn’t think. But when everything else is un-fragranced (and everyone else there!), boy do you become hyper aware of it. I learned my lesson that day.

What do you think of the rise in self-taught niche perfumers? Do you think it’s a shame they aren’t being trained in that strict way you were?

I think it opens up other routes. But, from what I understand, those who are self-taught are learning about ingredients they can get hold of. And actually that becomes a very limited palette. Whereas, because I had the great fortune to work for a big company, I had access to thousands of materials and had to learn them inside out. On the other hand, Im sure it’s making them really consider what they’re using and how they use it, because they don’t have that luxury. I am a great believer in training, but there just aren’t the places or opportunities for everyone to train the way I did. I guess I’m just glad I did it, you know, a hundred-million years ago, and so I can now rely on that breadth of knowledge and experience. Because in the end, that’s what colours every single fragrance I create…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to build a fragrance wardrobe – we’ve all the tools right here!

How to build your fragrance wardrobe is a bit like beginning to put together one of those ‘capsule wardrobes’ you see lauded in magazines. You need to know what suits you, those that work for specific roles in your life, and then ‘wild card’ pieces you’d perhaps never imagined but somehow express your inner soul.

Easier said than done, right? And a bit daunting. But it really doesn’t have to be.

A lot of us get stuck in the elusive search for a ‘signature scent’ – something that’s befuddled many an otherwise perfectly level-headed person – which had to be your one true love meeting your every need, match your every mood and mark you out as unique.

A wardrobe of fragrances caters to your many moods (hopefully you have more than one!) the multitude occasions and roles we play: colleague / friend / sibling / child / parent / lover – the list goes on… Have a read of the tips below, and let the fragrance wardrobe building begin…

 

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Just as jeans and a white shirt are a great fashion basic, but may not be deemed acceptable for a high-powered meeting or a glitzy party; one solitary perfume is unlikely to express every facet of your personality. Moreover, perfume should be fun – a hushed whisper of intriguing hints at your personality rather than a name tag sewn to a uniform.

You don’t need to know a lot about fragrance to begin: try typing the name of one you love into our Find a Fragrance tool – it will suggest six others to try.

Do some research online and find out name of the nose who made perfumes you already like – it’s an excellent starting point in your quest for tentatively branching out. Just as fashion designers have a signature cut, many perfumers stamp their mark in the scents they create.

Never imagine you know exactly which notes you love and hate. For many years I laboured under the misapprehension that I simply could not abide rose in any form; but several of my favourites contain rose – it all depends on the quality, quantity and how it’s are used.

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When trying something completely new, allow yourself to fall under the spell of the smell alone, without heeding the notes. Focus on how it makes you feel, the images it conjures. Where does it take you? What outfit would you pair with it? What’s the material / colour / texture?

Throw a Bring a Bottle perfume garden party for your friends, get everyone to bring fragrances – especially those languishing on dusty shelves – and a number of samples for you all to smell. Try them, swap them, critique them – surprise yourselves. Be brave!

With all this in mind, if you still need a starting point, it’s a good idea to try some differing types of fragrances from various houses / style of perfumer. Discovery Boxes and Brand Discovery Sets are ideal for this. You might surprise yourself! Then you’ll start to see the gaps in your collection and discover which you need in your new Fragrance Wardrobe…

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Collectively obsessed with scent: you have to see this mega mini perfume collection!

Obsession isn’t just the name of a perfume – it’s a very good description of the fragrant madness that creeps in to every perfume collector’s life sooner or later. And there are many differing types… The completists – those who absolutely must have every single version of  particular scent; the vintage fans who insist on owning (and sometimes wearing, if they’re in good enough condition) history, bottled. Talking of bottles, perhaps the largest collecting community within the perfume world are those who fill their homes (and garages, and sheds) with particular types of flacon – from ultra rare examples that reach eye-watering prices to retro scents in charmingly bizarre shapes – for these collectors, the perfume itself is actually secondary: they’re alllll about the bottle.

For the latest edition of The Scented Letter magazine, we focused on the mysteriouly enticing world of collectors and their collections – and one of the main images we used was kindly supplied by a VIP Subsciber, Phoebe Tan, who happened to mention ‘Oh yeah, my mum collects minis. She has quite a few…’ For “quite a few” please see the featured photo, above, and you’ll understand why we just had to interview Phoebe’s mum, Lindsay Yeo, to find out more.

Lindsay: ‘I first became interested in perfume when I went shopping in a department store about 30 years ago. There was a promotional event for Lancôme where I did a questionnaire that proposed one of their perfumes to match my personality. The winning one was… Magie Noire. I really loved it. Before this, I used to hate perfumes because people around me wore very heavy fragrances (this was in the 70s). But this event made me discover that I just hadn’t found a perfume I truly liked! That same day I bought my first full size perfume which came with a miniature bottle that caught my eye…’

Once the fragrant bait has been taken, it’s a short step to full-on perfumista status, we’ve long known. And Lindsay mused how it was ‘…funny I still have the full size bottle long after it was emptied.’ Of course we had to know how many she had stashed, and Lindsay confessed: ‘I just went to count and I currently have close to 500 bottles (most of them are minis!). This is the first time I’ve counted and I am quite shocked, actually.’
When asked what set her on this miniature-perfume collecting path, Lindsay explained ‘I really only wanted to collect the miniatures so initially I would buy full-size bottles for the minis. The first few I bought were: Magie noire by Lancome, Paloma Picasso , Lou Lou, Anais Anais by Cacharel, Ysatis by Givenchy, Ruffles by Oscar De La Renta, Gucci No.3, Beyond Paradise by Estee Lauder. Years later I found shops that sold the minis on their own – without the need to buy the full-sizes – and that is how I started collecting. It’s kinder on the pocket!’

So what exactly does a collector look for in a bottle – what catches their eye and makes them think “I MUST have that!”? For Lindsay… ‘I look out for interesting designs. [NB: The “lighter” shaped bottle, above, is a particular favourite of Lindsay’s.] To me, perfume bottles are pieces of art! They are so beautiful. Miniatures are not easy to come by so I really treat them all as treasures.’

Phoebe Tan with her miniature-bottle collecting mum, Lindsay Yeo.

Clearly, the passion for perfume runs in the blood, as Phoebe Tan first became interested in chemistry and then – when she made the connection between science and the art of perfume – she was totally hooked. Now setting her heart on a career in fragrance, Phoebe has been studying (and is soon to graduate from) for her MSc Cosmetic Science’ at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. And having sniffed some of her “course work” examples, we’re pretty sure Phoebe’s own fragrances will be added to future collector’s scent stashes…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

For National Perfume Day, show off your ‘shelfies’ to The Perfume Shop… we’ve shown them ours, now let’s see yours!

In celebration of National Perfume Day on Thursday 14th April, The Perfume Shop are urging fragrance fans to show off their ‘shelfies’ – photos of their scent collections – by posting images on Twitter, mentioning @theperfumeshop and using the hashtag #wherewillittakeyou.

We know many of you have cabinets simply groaning with the weight of your collections (some of whom we feature in our #ShareMyStash section of our award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter!) or perhaps are begining to build up a more moderate, carefully curated perfume wardrobe and still want to show that off, too.

Well of course we wanted to get involved and took a snapshot of our very own in-office ‘shelfie’ to post them – something we add to and update constantly as we never know what mood our noses will be in on any given day. Fancy a sneak-peek? See below…

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Having shown you ours, we’d love to see what you share with them – and please do get in touch if you think we’d like to come and sniff out your very own scent collection – we’re always on the look out for more to feature in the magazine!

The Perfume Shop will be celebrating National Perfume Day with in store activities, a 10% discount in store all day and a fragrance giveaway for the best shelfie with the hashtag #wherewillittakeyou.

For more information, visit The Perfume Shop, on Twitter @ThePerfumeShop, or via their Scents blog.

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Written by Suzy Nightingale