Roget & Gallet is 150 years old this year and it is one of those brands that I think sometimes gets overlooked. It isn’t overly expensive but feels and looks like great quality. It’s not that helpful that distribution is mainly to pharmacies (the brand’s roots are apothecary based) so it misses out on some of the glamour of being in the bigger stores. 

Anyway, I had a funny time the other day discovering that Napoleon 1st went through their signature eau de cologne, Jean Marie Farina, by the bucket load. He was so fond of it that Josephine asked Roget & Gallet to make a specially created bottle that was easily transportable. They came up with an oblong bottle with one flat side so that Napoleon could tuck it into his boots for easy travel. It’s also thought that the reason he went through so much of it was because he drank it. 

So, up for a challenge, I had a little nip of it myself. Can I just say, please don’t try this at home – it was absolutely horrible. Like a mix of Floral Gums and the bitterest alcohol you ever tasted. Not quite sure how Napoleon glugged it down so readily because the formula is pretty much the same now as it was then. I expect he drank it for the alcohol content, but I’ll take a gin and tonic any day. 

Back to the fragrances, however. No 1. Jean Marie Farina is a traditional eau de cologne, fresh and light and quite manly. No 2. Bois d’Orange is fruity and woody, and No 3. is floral with down notes of sandalwood. These three fragrances have all been bottled in the Emperor’s Flasks; limited edition as they were Napoleon style and almost entirely true to the original. Personally, I didn’t quite have enough room to squeeze all three into my boots, but they fit in my handbag very nicely! Look out for these gems – they’re £34 each from pharmacies.

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