Wednesday, September 24, 2008

About those JARs...

Previously on the Non-Blonde: Tom (my scent twin) and I went on a perfume adventure. You can read all about it here, but I promised a separate post to discuss the JAR perfumes we sniffed at Bergdorf.

I've been there before and have a full bottle of Diamond Water, so I knew more or less what to expect. It was still a surprising experience. The sales assistant presented us with the famous scented fabrics in their glass bowls, and we started sniffing. The first thing I noticed was the (too) big a difference between the real juice and what you get from the cloth. I had to be told that what I was smelling was Diamond Water, because the pretty but tame thing didn't resemble the radiant, sparkly and spicy perfume I like to wear when dressed to the nines.

Golconda was more spicy than the carnation skin scent I remembered, but it's still high on my wish list. Jardenia was its cheesy gardenia self, pungent and life-like. Shadow was not as dark as I remembered it on my husband's skin, but that's one that needs to be worn before you can really tell much (like all of them, actually). Jarling was softer than I remembered. This time I could actually smell the lilacs under the almonds. I didn't even have to try it on to know it can never work on my skin that brings out the worst in anything with lilac. This one just smells cheap on me.

The two for which I intended to devote serious skin space were the mysterious Bolt of Lightning and the notorious Ferme Tes Yeux. The latter is sometimes known as "I smell dead people", and I remembered it as too weird and rather unpleasant. Now, I've smelled a thing or two since then, and I'm the proud owner of some other famous stinkers that on my skin are tame kittens, and Ferme Tes Yeux is amazingly close to them. It's a sibling to Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan with a touch of the sweetness I get from CB Musk and some undefinable animalic quality that makes it very appealing. I adored it from the second it touched my skin till I reluctantly showered late that night. I want a full bottle, but since I already own MKK and CB Musk, it's a bit hard to justify buying Ferme Tes Yeux considering the price tag (around $500). If you're a fan of Muscs Kublai Khan, this is a must-smell. And it makes the price of the Serge Lutens bell jar look like a bargain.

The jewel in the JAR collection is Bolt of Lightning. It's not the perfume's real name, because it doesn't actually have one. But the flacon is etched with a bolt of lightning (the same one that you see painted on the ceiling at the dark alcove of the boutique), so that's what the perfume is nicknamed. The scent is a whirlwind of charged air and danger in its opening, then it becomes green and damp, and then...

I can't even begin to say how glad I am that Tom was there with me and tested the exact same thing on the same part of his arm, because otherwise I'd hesitate to write this. Not only did I have a witness to sniff me, but also someone who had the very same thing happening on his skin.

Gardenia. That's what Bolt of Lightening became on both of us. An exquisite, the most beautiful, non-creamy, unsweetened, elegant and streamlined gardenia. It's a gorgeous fragrance, but for the life of me I can't fathom forking over $800 to smell like a gardenia (a $500 dirty musk is all of a sudden so very reasonable).

My first visit to the JAR boutique at Bergdorf Goodman can be found here.
My full review of Diamond Water is here.

Image: Zebra brooch by Joel Arthur Rosenthal, the nose behind JAR, from The Jewels of JAR Paris: The Gilbert Collection (catalog of the exhibition). I'm still dreaming about the cuff bracelets from that collection. Probably the sexiest, most perfect piece of jewelry I've ever seen.


  1. What did we do to that scent that it went all gardenia on us?

    I found most of the experience rather silly, but the scents were definitely worth the rather goofy show involved.

    But I really wanted to cut to the chase and just try the damned things on my skin.

  2. I am SO glad you guys also got gardenia from this!!!! The first (and only so far) time I tried the scents I was rather certain this one would have been the Jardenia I had read about before all was revealed. I was baffled. I am glad I am not the only one. Also, I got carnation/clove from both shadow and Golconda. One of the two reminded me of Caron's old style...

    As for me, I liked the 'goofy show' :)

  3. wow! thanks for this post!


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