The Scent of America’s Sweetheart, Jackie Onassis

Remembering the iconic First Lady Jackie O through her fragrance of choice, Krigler’s Lovely Patchouli 55.

By Nora Maloney

"Like a fairy tale, Jackie Kennedy used to come to the Plaza Hotel from time to time to enjoy tea at the Palm Court,” says Ben Krigler, the fifth-generation owner of Krigler Perfumes. “One of her delights was to come with John John and Caroline around Christmas. She would come and get a bottle of Lovely Patchouli 55, and we would show Caroline the scent of Manhattan Rose 44, what we always called ’the young mademoiselle scent.’ It was a family experience.”

Taking us back nearly a decade before Jackie’s trips to the Plaza, Albert Krigler, legendary perfumer and founder of the brand, was living out his final years in the South of France. It was in the charming village known as Antibes that Krigler developed his latest fragrance, using patchouli flowers found during his travels through the Middle East and Asia. Lovely Patchouli 55 would be one of the perfume master’s final and most recognized fragrances. Still today, the fragrance takes two-and-a-half years to make and requires the upmost attention to detail.

Such craftsmanship was recognized by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who gifted a bottle to the widowed First Lady in 1968 just before they were to be wed. But why are we talking about this now? Well, with the release of the Golden Globe–nominated drama Jackie, the late Jackie Onassis is, once again, the talk of the town.

Everyone remembers the iconic First Lady for her exquisite sense of style, from her pillbox hat to her oversized glasses. But what many don’t know, or maybe don’t remember, is the fragrance that completed her signature look. Sweet with the smell of patchouli flowers and warmed by notes of rich amber and bergamot, Lovely Patchouli 55 was the final touch to the timeless elegance that defined Jackie O.

Nora MaloneyComment