JAR Parfums Golconda : Perfume Review

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Two_wild_roses

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

As far as niche fragrance house go, JAR is shrouded in mystery. Perfume notes and even names of specific perfumes are not revealed. Perfumes are currently sold only at the tiny boutique in Paris at the price level well above the average perfume buyer. Even the visit to the boutique is not unlike most perfume shops. Stepping inside the elegant boutique ornamented with teardrop crystal bottle sets the stage for enacting a period piece. Or an olfactory tea ceremony–admire the folded chamois cloth, small the fragrance, think and repeat. When you are ready to try the fragrances on your skin, a handsome Hungarian gentleman applies them slowly on your wrists, massaging them with a glass stopper. Oh, do not get me wrong, the visit to the tiny dusty rose hued boutique is definitely worth it. And not only for the wrist massage!

JAR was established in 1977 by Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR), with his Swiss business partner, Pierre Jeannet. A talented New York-born, Paris-based jeweler is particularly known for his extraordinary pave creations, which break all established conventions. The fragrances themselves do not have a classical top, middle, base structure, with the accords melding, undulating and swelling in an unpredictable fashion.

Golconda was among the first fragrances created by Rosenthal himself, employing the costly and rare carnation absolute. Although, at first, it is a true sun drenched carnation, the semblance to any carnation soliflore vanishes quickly. In fact, it becomes more like a true fire engine red lily, impossibly hot from the August sun. A hint of cinnamon and nutmeg enliven the exhilaratingly potent floral structure. The composition is very sultry and rich, glittering like a handful of rubies, without losing either its luster or its tenacity, the latter deserving particular praise. A mere drop suffices to last for the entire day and into the next! It shimmers like a precious jewel, set against a rich velvet backdrop.

The tear drop bottle is made of Baccarat glass can be obtained at 14, Rue de Castiglione boutique in Paris. However, soon New York denizens would be able to visit the JAR boutique at Bergdorf Goodman.

Photo: ‘Wild roses’ brooches by JAR. Diamonds, yellow, pink and violet sapphires, yellow and pink tourmalines, citrines and orange garnets, silver and gold and enamel.

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21 Comments

  • Tania: I thought Clive Christian (The World’s Most Expensive Perfume ™) was ridiculous, but now, this is really silly. It awakens every knee-jerk punk rock impulse in my body, and makes me want to smash a guitar, overturn garbage cans, and wheatpaste flyers calling for the rise of the proletariat all over the city. June 21, 2005 at 10:36am Reply

  • Victoria: I have my own grudge against Clive Christian, which is due course of time will be apparent. I often like small house for their odd and sometimes different combinations, but when it all becomes shrouded in some mystique… June 21, 2005 at 10:52am Reply

  • mreenymo: ‘The fragrances are presented nameless on a little chamois cloth in order to avoid influencing the buyer’?

    That cracks me up every time I read it, because it makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever!

    Oh, the utter conceit of it all… June 21, 2005 at 11:46am Reply

  • Victoria: Well, the notes and the names are not revealed when you test them. The names are made known only after you are done. The notes are shrouded in mystery. The boutique is very pretty though. June 21, 2005 at 11:57am Reply

  • mreenymo: I think you may have misunderstood me, darling. I was referring to the description of the new JAR boutique at Bergdorfs, not the one in Paris, which sounds intriguing.

    Come to think of it, I could use a nice wrist massage from a handsome Dutch gentleman! :):)

    Hugs! June 21, 2005 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, I see. I was really amused when I heard about it too.

    They do the same thing at the boutique in Paris–you sniff glass jars with chamois cloths. However, they did not seem quite so adamant about not telling you what you are smelling. However, nobody will tell you the notes.

    The Bergdorf is trying to replicate the boutique. They took over the area where Guerlain used to be. The reason the BG outpost is not opened yet has to do with JAR’s dissatisfaction with how they did the ceiling. Therefore, there is still work being done there. June 21, 2005 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Robin: I do object to whole exclusivity & pretentiousness, but now I am dying to smell Golconda. I did not think much of the 3 I tried, but it sounds so much nicer. June 21, 2005 at 1:22pm Reply

    • Judy Knight: Golconda is like burying your nose in a freshly picked bunch of dew drenched carnations…..absolutely divine! March 9, 2014 at 5:57pm Reply

  • Victoria: I must say that it is the most beautiful carnation I have tried. Perhaps, I would have liked it better if it were less concentrated. I would put a tiny drop and it would last for the entire day, without letting up. I could smell it even after my shower. June 21, 2005 at 1:29pm Reply

  • Robin: And wait…just noticed…when you say “created by Rosenthal himself”…surely he used a nose, or a team at one of the big F&F companies, right? June 21, 2005 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: No, he is the nose behind all fragrances. I know this from someone who had a chance to ask this question directly. I do not doubt the veracity of my source, and knowing how talented the man is, I cannot say that I am that surprised. Perhaps, that is the reason the fragrances do not conform to classical standards (not a bad thing, per se). June 21, 2005 at 3:41pm Reply

  • Robin: Wow, then I am impressed. Still disgusted with the general aura of the line, but impressed. June 21, 2005 at 5:16pm Reply

  • Atreau: Part of me wants to be repulsed by the description of the boutique but the other part is drawn in even more! Golconda sounds wonderful – something I must test without a doubt! Thank you V for such a beautiful description! June 21, 2005 at 10:55pm Reply

  • MadAboutTheBois: I’ ve sampled the fragrances at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC. Golconda is simply wonderful as were Bolt of Lighting and Diamond Water. These perfumes are not ridicuously expensive and the presentation is a refreshing change from the rapacious perfume snipers at the more “popular” stores.

    Anyone who needs to label this “pretentious” (a clue should be that that’s not even the correct word one would use to express what they are trying to get across; try “ostentatious” or “grandiose”) should turn off their large screen television, get off their Pottery Barn sofa and get over their feelings of inadequacy.

    Honestly. November 4, 2005 at 7:30pm Reply

  • biagio: please somebody could tell me how much will i spend for a golconda bottle if i go to paris ? January 30, 2006 at 9:24am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Biagio, it costs around 280 euros, as far as I remember. January 30, 2006 at 10:41pm Reply

    • Gían: And how many mL’s does one get for that price? I’m aching to try Jardenia but the whole conceit just strikes me as snobby… If it weren’t for my constant quest for a photo-realistic gardenia I’d just dismiss them out of hand. August 27, 2014 at 3:20pm Reply

      • Victoria: I don’t know what the price is right and how much the bottle contains, but today I’d say, you have many much better gardenias on the market. There is nothing special about JAR, apart from the concept and price. August 27, 2014 at 3:22pm Reply

  • Sarah: Where can I buy Golconda? July 9, 2006 at 9:50am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sarah, it is sold at Bergdorf Goodman, in New York as well as JAR boutique in Paris. July 9, 2006 at 9:15pm Reply

  • Mark Vane: Fellow blogger, Found a cool new tool for our blogs… http://www.widgetmate.com/ It helps get latest news for our keywords directly on to our blog. June 21, 2007 at 7:37am Reply

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