A selection of Presidential soaps by Caswell-Massey slipped into to my office yesterday. (Just in time to scour myself spotless for a season of mudslinging?) The soapmaker, which dates back to the first days of American politics, venerates George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy with three triple-milled bars—and not the current candidates (which, by the way, is a brilliant idea that would likely lead to profuse bath-time wisecracking). So I kind of expected the soaps to look like commemorative coins. That would be perfect for the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg!
But instead the soaps represent the fragrances “known to be worn by the three Presidents.” Who knew our forefathers were such dandies?
“George Washington” is scented with Number Six, Caswell-Massey’s original fragrance, which was “first purchased by Washington in 1780 long before the Continental Congress convention when he was unanimously elected President.” It smells faintly of oranges. President Eisenhower was supposed to have favored the Almond Cold Cream bath soap (apparently it’s still used today at Blair House, the Official Guest House of the White House), and Kennedy, the preppy president, wore Jockey Club, with musky hints of leather and amber. No surprise there.
If these fragrances fit our former politicians, just what are the signature scents of today’s candidates? Until Chandler Burr, the NY Times perfume critic, tells us, I’ve asked some SpaFinder colleagues to name a scent they’d associate with the current candidates. So what scents do our November candidates mostly conjure up in my petite poll?
Barack Obama: mint and citrus (and one patchouli)
John McCain: rose, lavender, and a few “oatmeal” (even thought it’s not technically a scent)