This year, we have changed the location of our summer seasonal after learning a little more about the history upon which it is based. As I was reading about Clamorgans, I found an advertisement for their shop advertising the fragrance brands that they carried: Lubin, Guerlain and Farina’s Eau de Cologne, the inspiration for what was originally Fourth and Pine and so many other classic colognes like 4711 and modern classics like Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino. What struck me was that the listed address was 88 Chestnut Street, not Fourth and Pine.
After more research, I learned that the brothers originally opened shop at 88 Chestnut Street. Eventually, they moved into a newly constructed building at Fourth and Pine that featured a bathhouse and a bowling alley downstairs, because apparently bowling was considered a work out back then. Crossfit it was not, but I’m sure The Dude would approve.
A little background on the family. One of the prominent figures in the early years of Saint Louis, when it was beginning to realize the vision of Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau as a trading hamlet perfectly placed on a bend in the Mississippi River, was Jacques Clamorgan. His sons were mixed race, meaning they were not allowed to inherit Jacques’ fortune from trading. However, the brothers wasted no time finding a way to create their own fortune in a booming city flush with newly made fortunes.
Eventually it became a go-to destination for A-list celebrities like Senator Stephen Douglas, Thomas Hart Benton and Ulysses S. Grant for their “tonsorial accoutrements.” At the time, Saint Louis was one of the first places in America to feature Farina’s Eau de Cologne, and it was at Clamorgans.
The original Eau de Cologne, first created in 1709, causing a cultural shift from local artisan perfumers to mass-marketed fragrances, featured orange, grapefruit, lemon, bergamot, citron, lime, violet, jasmine, olibanum and fresh herbs. In our shaving products, our blend is neroli, lemon, orange, petitgrain, grapefruit, yuzu and lavender. In order to give it more depth and reflect the creamy, herbal and floral undertones of the original, our eau de cologne features notes of neroli, lemon, grapefruit, yuzu, orange, petitgrain, lavender, jasmine, geranium, vetiver, and tonka bean.
Like many before and many after, I believe the best way to approach the most classic genre in fragrance is the way a musician would approach an old standard. You pay homage to the original but you try to see it in a unique way and interpret it in your own voice. That is what I aimed to do in 88 Chestnut Street: I think it’s both easy to wear and unique as something both perfect for any situation, but especially on a warm summer day.