The JAR Parfums boutique is already opened at New York’s Bergdorf Goodman, and it is a beautiful spot. The corner that was previously owned by Guerlain (about to be relocated to its own boutique) is now a vision of dusty rose and purple, with the bolts of lightning decorating the ceiling. The front table of the boutique holds the fragrance bottles arranged on suede pillows, with a large round jar holding perfume soaked chamois placed besides a corresponding bottle. The JAR presentation is to let one first smell the fragrances (the names are displayed on each jar) and then to decide which to sample on the skin.
Among the madness of Bergdorf beauty department, JAR boutique strikes me as serene and calm. The notes of the fragrances are not revealed, which is an interesting concept, which goes at odds with the common way of marketing perfume. However, Joel Arthur Rosenthal, a famous jeweler, is not a conventional persona, therefore the usual is not something one can expect from him. He wants people to form their own impressions of the fragrance, rather than walk away thinking about a list of notes. In the end, what really matters is the scent itself.
Whether or not one cares for the JAR concepts, the prices or the fragrances, the compositions are constructed from high quality ingredients, and it is impossible not to notice that aspect. Golconda is made from the most amazing carnation absolute that scintillates like a handful of precious jewels. Shadow dries down to the smoothest sandalwood I have encountered. Even my least favorite of the line, Jardenia opens up with a fantastic magnolia note, all white petals, cured leaves, leather and salt.
Bolt of Lightning has been my favorite since I first tested it in Paris. Encountering it again at Bergdorf Goodman, I am amazed by the beauty of the composition, which starts out as radiant and green, like a scent of a garden on a hot summer morning. The blinding sunlight, the scents of leaves, soil and flowers are felt in warm green burst of the top notes. Since I have started my tuberose love affair, I tested a fair number of various absolutes and wore many of them through the summer, alone and diluted to 10% concentration. Not surprising that inhaling Bolt of Lightning, what I notice the most this time is the rich tuberose blooming in this garden. At first, it just sheds a few petals that become tangled in the green grass. The heart revels in the cascade of tuberose blossoms which are shimmering and stunning, as if the pure gold of the sun is distilled into the essence that comprises the fragrance. The dark menacing aspect of tuberose is where one is led in the drydown. A green note weaves in gently, yet it is the dark sensual tuberose that takes the center stage. Dark and mysterious, it must one of the most fascinating tuberose fragrances I have tested.
Photo: JAR, Butterfly brooch in silver and gold with rubies, sapphires, amethysts and diamonds. If you are interested in pricing and other information, call 1 (800) 558 1855.