Go-To Scents of Past Presidents
BY VISHAKA ROBINSON
LEFT TO RIGHT: Royal-Oud, Creed (325 for 2.5 oz.). Neiman Marcus, Mazza Gallerie, 202-966-9700. American One 31 Eau de Parfum, Krigler ($255 for 3.4 oz.). Gendarme Eau de Cologne, Gendarme ($75 for 4 oz.). Nordstrom, Westfield Annapolis, Annapolis, MD, 410-573-1121. Royal Briar Cologne, Carroll & Co. ($35).
George H.W. Bush
The 41st president of the United States cannot resist the charms of Creed’s $300-a-bottle Royal-Oud, a sumptuous blend of precious raw oud—extracted from Indian agarwood trees—with pinkberry and Sicilian bergamot. Bush is in good company: Royal-Oud is also worn by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
John F. Kennedy
Originally worn by Ernest Hemingway and created by the writer’s friend Rose Krigler, America One 31 was a hit with JFK, who was a huge admirer of Hemingway’s work. He first tried the scent while vacationing in the South of France; it was here, as a young senator, that he visited the Krigler family’s perfumery and fell for America One 31’s mélange of mandarin, bergamot, and neroli.
Clinton’s favorite fragrance was revealed when his personal assistant described the trials of trying to hunt it down on Good Morning America. The hard-to-find object of Clinton’s affection is a little-known scent called Gendarme, the olfactory handiwork of music executive-turned-perfumer Topper Schroeder, who created it in an effort to make something that wouldn’t trigger his allergies. The result: a blend of lemon, lime, bergamot, with hints of lilac and jasmine. Schroeder describes the scent as “incredibly clean and fresh, as if you’ve just stepped out of the shower—all day.”
The Gipper’s signature scent was reportedly Royal Briar, an old-school, woodsy cologne. The Hollywood actor-turned-politician so favored the label that it remains associated with him to this day.
photography by rebecca sahn
We hear from our panel of experts.