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.