Thursday, 20 July 2017

CHAMPS DE PROVENCE by Eight & Bob

An aristocrat, a butler and a US president ... it's not a combination that screams fragrance house to you but that is exactly what this one does. The colourful story of Eight & Bob has provided an enviable history for the company and, whilst it might need to be taken with a large pinch of salt, it definitely entertains its fans. This year sees the release of Champs de Provence, which is the company's sixth fragrance since they "relaunched" in 2012, and it promises to capture the "freshness and beauty" of the Provençal landscape. It's an area that I adore and visit often, so I was intrigued to see whether it really did take me back.

Okay, I feel that we need to deal with the "history" of the company first. Fragrance is all about creating pictures, stirring feelings and, in an ever-growing market, a perfume house needs to capture the wearer's imagination. To this end Eight & Bob have adopted a history that, whilst entertaining, is more than a little far fetched. Does it matter? I don't think so, and they do state on their website that the history of Eight & Bob is "based on a family story" but also contains "fictionalised facts and characters".

So, Albert Fouquet, the son of a Parisian aristocrat, was a self-taught perfumer who, aided by his butler Philippe, created scents for his own personal use. He delighted in wearing his fragrances at social events but continually rejected proposals to market them. During the summer of 1937 he met an American student called John F. K. (can you see where we're headed) who was entranced by Albert's fragrance. John persuaded him to part with a small sample which Albert left if at his hotel with a note that read, “in this bottle you will find the dash of French glamour that your American personality lacks.”

Albert later received a letter from JFK asking for eight further samples plus, if possible, "another one for Bob”. He packaged them in a box with the same design as the shirt that JFK had been wearing on their first meeting and labelled the bottles and boxes Eight & Bob. The fragrance soon became a hit with stars such as Cary Grant and James Stewart, but unfortunately Albert died in 1939 in a motorcar accident near Biarritz. The original fragrance resurfaced in 2012, thanks to the family of Philippe the butler, and subsequent releases have also come from Albert's original ledger. It's a great story, but let's get back to Champs de Provence.

Inspired by the wonderful landscape around the south of France, Champs de Provence opens with a zesty, brightly dosed hit of citrus. A glorious combination of bergamot and sweet orange instantly uplift and put you in mind of the crystal clear blue water. The floral heart of jasmine, rose and orange blossom edge their way through adding colour before slowly taking centre stage. A regular sweeten musk is given an earthy dryness by the use of the mate leaf, which also links beautifully with the bergamot’s lavender note, and completes the fragrance perfectly.

Champs de Provence is, quite simply, stunning and is already packed ready for my next visit to Nice. Enjoy the history, pretend you’re a French aristocrat, and make sure that you hunt this one out.

2 comments:

  1. The history of this company always made me smile. At least, not as far fetched as other companies. The scent sounds amazing. I'm sure that Harvey Nichols in Leeds stocks this line, so it will be on my must sniff list, the next time I go through. Thanks for posting about it Stephan.

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    1. It's a fantastic scent and yes, a fun history. Definitely hunt it out. Best, Stephan

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