Scent Of A President

If you thought the battle to dress JFK was competitive, imagine the skirmish over his scent.

According to a New York Daily News piece recently dispatched to Ivy Style HQ, there were four fragrances associated with the late president. Two are familiar, and two probably not.

The four fragrances are:

Jockey Club by Caswell Massey, which is  in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library’s store:

4711, a German cologne that one of JFK’s dalliances claimed she had to wash off:


Vetiver by Creed was apparently a freebie for all who hold the Oval Office:


The last is the most mysterious. Reports the Daily News:

Newest to the market and hardest to verify is Eight & Bob, a European perfume that claims to be the scent of JFK’s college years.

As the legend — and marketing materials — go, a young Kennedy met hobbyist perfumer Albert Fouquet in France in 1937 and complimented him on the cologne he was wearing. The next day, Fouquet delivered samples to Kennedy’s hotel. The pair stayed in touch after Kennedy returned to the States, and JFK later requested more samples — eight, in total, and “one for Bob” (his brother, future senator Bobby Kennedy).

Four seems a good number of scents to have in one’s rotation — it’s the number I typically have on hand. Who of you likes to smell the same every day? And who is an inveterate collector? Sound off on one of menswear’s most subjective subjects. — CC

58 Comments on "Scent Of A President"

  1. davidwolff69 | September 5, 2017 at 4:26 pm |

    The wrong Creed is pictured in this article. “Original Vetiver” (pictured) was created in 2004; not something JFK could have worn. Creed’s “Vetiver” was created in he 40’s and should be pictured instead.

  2. Surprised that JFK (seemingly) didn’t wear anything by Clubman. Or even Old Spice.

  3. terrryoreilly75 | September 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm |

    I enjoy Vetivier by Guerlaine; Creed’s Green Irish Tweed and Aventus; Patrick of Ireland; D.R. Harris’s Windsor is up there, too.

  4. Ivy-leaguers typically don’t wear cologne, they wear after-shave.

    Old Spice or Brut was popular when I was in college in the 90s.

  5. Down Tradden | September 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm |


    I thought we’d had enough of JFK for this week.

    But having said that, I’ve splashed on them all over the years . And ,yes, thay German one does cling somewhat!

  6. Down Tradden | September 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm |

    *that German one

  7. This bromance Christian appears to have with a long dead president is, um, odd.

  8. Often do things in a series. Also, I’m trolling “Richard Meyer,” who left in a huff over the Kennedy family shenanigans post.

  9. I appreciate the series motif of Ivy Style.

    As for scent, I typically wear none. I’m not against it, but it’s just a bother. I like reading things about the more personal side of distant figures like JFK, though. Very interesting.

  10. If money were no object, I’d probably be a collector. A different scent each day is like trying a different wine each night with dinner.

  11. CC

    You should try caswell & Massey No. 6 the oldest after shave in America. Reputablely the favorite of President Washington. President Bush senior and younger have both used it

  12. GS

    Brut was introduced in 1964 and is a favorite of most proles. Give it s try. I am sure you will love it.

  13. Brut is for construction workers. I heard that on Oprah once.

    I like variety but I also have specific tastes: dark, heavy, woodsy, leathery, oud and spice. Can’t stand citrusy, sporty things.

  14. Mr. Korn I have been tempted to try Brut since seeing Roger Moore use it in Live And Let Die a few years ago. If I find it somewhere I’ll be sure to pick it up.

    I have tried Aqua Velva, it was pleasant.

  15. CC

    I like Polo Black and Captain’s Choice Bay Rum aftershave.

  16. @CC:

    You should sample Creed’s new “Viking” fragrance. It is dark, heavy, woodsy, spicy, and fiery; just the way you like it.

    It launches today, by the way. You can probably spray the tester at the Creed boutique on Madison.

  17. GS

    You should be able to find Brut at any drug store. Proraso aftershave and aftershave balm is an excellent product — made in Italy — citrus scent with menthol. About 18.00 for a bottle. You can easily find it on line.

  18. Thank you for the tip, Mr. Korn. My barber uses Proraso as well as Clubman. My go-to after shave is Clubman in the Spring/Summer months and Old Spice in the Fall/Winter months. I’ve also been meaning to try Bay Rum.

  19. Took me a long time to find a cologne I liked, discovered Caswell-Massey “Greenbrier”, wore it for years (to a decent number of compliments from the few who got close). Then, true to Herblock’s Law, they “reformulated and improved” it. WRONG!!

    Still wear Jockey Club some, but my favorite C-W is Sandalwood (cooler months). TOBS Eton College and Speick EdT top the new list, overall, and Penhaligon Blenheim Bouquet for summer and Cade Eau de Baux for winter.

    None are too strong or cloying, and hold up pretty well during the day.

  20. I happen to collect without trekking into pretentious dissection territory (ala Basically, If I like the scent, I make the purchase. I won’t bore you with the entire collection but here are five greats.

    5. St. Johns – Bay Rum
    4. Tom Ford – Tuscan Leather
    3. Creed – Green Irish Tweed (careful to not over-apply, one spray max)
    2. Christian Dion – Eau Sauvage
    1. Tom Ford – Oud Wood

  21. Currently in the Americana section of my aftershave rotation:

    Aqua Velva (1919; the Spanish formulation is better IMO);

    Mennen Skin Bracer (1931);

    Lucky Tiger Aftershave & Skin Tonic (since late 1930s);

    Murray and Lanham Florida Water (1808; search out the Peruvian formulation that uses sugar cane alcohol and is approved for ceremonial use my Amazonian shamans (!!));

    Pinaud Clubman (1810) and Clubman Reserve;

    Presidential products: Caswell-Massey Jockey Club and No. Six; Success by Trump (don’t let politics bias you)

    Low alcohol and non-alcohol witch hazel products from Thayers (1847, accept no substitute) are great for your skin and have some nice scents or without scents added.

    Pro tip: during hot weather store alcohol based aftershaves in the freezer section of your fridge: this is especially fantastic with Aqua Velva!

  22. I’ll second Thayer’s Witch Hazel. Great for your skin after shaving and helps keep the scent of after-shave on your skin, I find.

  23. F. Framboise | September 6, 2017 at 1:29 am |

    Pino Silvestre was the Heyday cologne. It was launched in Italy in 1955 and became available in the U.S. almost immediately.

  24. In a fit of nostalgia last year, went out and bought a bottle of Old Spice, and boy did it deliver: talk about memories in a bottle. Only disappointment was that the conical shaped white bottle is no longer glass, but plastic.

    I received a Caswell-Massey “Presidential” box set of soaps a few years ago: “No. 6” (Washington); “Almond” (Eisenhower); and “Jockey Club” (Kennedy). My recollection was that Jockey Club, in particular, was very, very strong. A nice, fresh scent, but wow – you couldn’t even smell your morning coffee.

    The only scent I haven’t seen mentioned here, but which I remember from the top of my dad’s bureau, was ‘English Leather’: square bottle; barrel-shaped wooden cap.

  25. PS – I’ve mentioned it here before, but it bears repeating for those that like woodsy/leathery/tobacco-style after shaves, and it is also my current go-to: “Chesapeake Spyce”. It’s a local product here in my neck of the woods, but they have an online presence: (

  26. Richard Meyer | September 6, 2017 at 6:13 am |

    ” Christian ” ( quotation marks intended”:
    I am still here and that’s my real name. I left the FB group but am watching your posts. Feeling a bit guilty about your JFK snark item, I guess?

  27. Hai Karate anyone?

  28. Hunter Hartford. | September 6, 2017 at 9:38 am |

    Bob Lee,

    JFK is much more than a long-dead president. He lives in our memories as a source of optimism.
    I don’t know about Christian, but many of us who were in college during JFK’s all-too-short presidency continue to have a bromance with him.

  29. I’ve found that spackeling a fistful of Suavecito Extra Firme Hold pomade into your hair eliminates the need to mist yourself with parfume. It also eliminates the need for crash protective head-wear while riding your Vespa.
    Some restrictions apply. Local gendarmes feel otherwise.

  30. Mac McConnell | September 6, 2017 at 10:20 am |

    My father was an Old spice and then English Leather guy.
    I was a Canoe, Gravel and Royal Lyme guy in high school and college, then the original Polo (green). I’m trapped in the Polo scent, tax clients in the fragrance industry bring me cases of this stuff as gifts. Don’t have the courage to decline, I give lots away. 😉

    I think the only places to buy Canoe now is at K-Mart or Walgreen. Just middle class and proud. 😉

    I remember guys in high school and college using Brute, Hai Karate and one called British Sterling.

  31. Check that. ….”may” feel otherwise.

  32. @MacMcConnell: funny – I haven’t thought of Polo (in the green bottle) in forever. And thinking of it brings to mind the faces of a handful of guys from my freshman dorm (late 80s), who apparently bathed in the stuff. Several others doused themselves in ‘Drakkar Noir’ – you could smell them from a mile away.

    I’ve heard it said that scent is the sense most directly tied to memory, and I’m starting to believe it.

  33. Polo and Drakkar both remind me, too, of the late ’80s and high school and college. Also Obsession. Magazines smelled like them, fellow students, and occasionally me.

    I think Drakkar smells fine, but it’s easily parodied and reviled because for some reason it causes men of questionable character to bathe in it.

  34. @Richard

    I have nothing to feel guilty about, as you were the lone freak-out among thousands of readers.

    As stated above, I’m cajoling you with positive JFK posts as a means of trolling.

    Glad you’re still with us!


  35. Mac McConnell | September 6, 2017 at 10:55 am |

    Christian & Paul
    Yes everyone wore Polo green in the 80s, not so much anymore. Yes it’s strong, driving to work with the windows open is a must.

  36. Richard Meyer | September 6, 2017 at 1:03 pm |

    Majority of one.
    I guess Mr. Press’s comment meant nothing to you, ”
    Christian “

  37. Down Tradden | September 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm |

    @ Richard Meyer

    While your indignation was clearly justified with regard to several posters and your defence of the Kennedys ought just as clearly to be applauded, I do feel that your attack on our host was over -the- top and your continued jibing should really stop now.

  38. Likely true about JFK–the bromance stuff. While not technically Ivy on many points (how many actually care?), he’ll be affiliated with elegance, composure (“cool”), charm and wit for as long as his memory is kept alive. Like Churchill and FDR, he remains a source of fascination. Many biographies yet to be written.

  39. @misterswingeasy | September 6, 2017 at 4:12 pm |

    Creed Millesme Imperial for high days and holidays, otherwise soap (Customs Imperial Leather) and water. T

  40. No cologne for me, just after shave.

    Aqua Velva
    Mennen Skin Bracer
    Pinaud Bay Rum

    All a man needs.

  41. Bravo Wriggles!
    AV in warmer months
    MSB in colder months
    Pinaud your all rounder?

  42. Brooks Brothers Classic. One thing they still do well.

  43. Bulgari Man. But only when my wife drags me through a Bloomingdales department store, where I put on samples.

  44. Yikes, just counting very-most-favorite bottles I get to ten. About half French classics (that can be had for a song in the U.S. for some reason) and half niche or indie. Then there are the ones I’ll probably not buy again. And the back-up bottles purchased as a defense against reformulations.

  45. I generally wear Royall Lyme, not so much because its head and shoulders above all other scents, but because its pleasing from the get go, and then wears off rather quickly; I’d rather not have any fragrance sticking to me throughout the day. Last January, I bought a 2oz bottle of Royall Mandarin – honestly, its kind of nice – candy sweet at first but it mellows nicely and has decent staying power.

  46. A single dab of vanilla extract behind each ear. Drives the girls crazy.

  47. @ M Arthur

    Thank you!
    All three right!

  48. R. Shackleford | September 22, 2017 at 8:11 am |

    English Leather cologne by Truefitt & Hill is incredible. I wear that for special occasions or date night, then Aqua Velva or Pinnaud Bay Rum on days I shave then Caswell-Massey Sandalwood for the days in between.

  49. Scotch & Soda | September 27, 2017 at 6:07 pm |

    Great discussion. Wife does not approve due to her father’s lack of personal olfactory dress sensibility, but I do retain somewhat of a Cologne Bar.
    Polo – classic 80’s Prep (Golden Age of RL Polo)
    Polo Double Black – new classic, smells like the Great Gatsby
    Green Water by Jacques Fath — fresh, green, and limey
    Hermes Orange Verte – classic citrus/mint scent, weekend on the Cape
    St. Johns Bay Rum – classic summer, beach and country club
    Creed Irish Tweed – eternal class, from Cary Grant to Clooney to Quincy Jones
    Marc Jacobs for Men – fig and spice, fall and winter wear

  50. Craig Bozorth | October 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm |

    Remember the ‘Chill a Cella’ commercials and ‘Aldo’? I am not a slave to fashion! Until she passed away, my grandmother would send me a bottle of English Leather every Xmas. Then I began to travel. Agua Brava, Tabac, St. johns, Royall Lyme, Acqua de Colonia Fresca (Victor), Flano (Chile), Acqua di Selva, Benjamin’s Bay Rum (Kingston, JA), oh and Pino Silvestre make up my favorites.

  51. After reading somewhere about JFK and the Eight & Bob story, I located some free samples via eBay. While I’m not sure I buy the entire story, it’s use for marketing is brilliant. I really liked the cologne too.

  52. Just read that Cole Porter wore Tricorn by Caswell-Massey. It’s still produced but has been reformulated, of course.

  53. Anthony Gaade | May 7, 2019 at 11:41 am |

    The Royall Lyme, classic range of mens after shave and colognes, remain the finest choice in an over crowded market

  54. Other than the all too brief mention above, my go-to scent is the classic prep Eau Sauvage, unfortunately, it does not last long on the face. As for aftershaves, its Truefitt & Hill’s West Indian Limes.

  55. Ian Dickinson | September 5, 2020 at 1:42 pm |

    The Eight & Bob story is fiction.
    As is the Creed Vetiver. Creed did not produce any cologne until a long time after JFK’S death 1973 at the earliest.

  56. Vern Trotter | April 30, 2021 at 10:35 pm |

    Ian Dickinson,

    I like these kind of conundrums: how do we know this?

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