I once described to someone the way Bolt Of Lightning smells to me as "storm and danger". The look I got back was of total bewilderment. Why would anyone want to smell like the potential for a natural disaster? The answer to that is a) it smells really good, and b)there's so much more to this perfume.
Let's start with the name of this creation by jeweler and perfumer Joel Arthur Rosenthal. "Bolt Of Lightning" is actually a nickname. The perfume doesn't have an official name, but the box carries the bolt of lightning emblem of the JAR boutique while the other perfumes in the line have a real name inscribed on the boxes and bottles. So Bolt Of Lightning it is.
The notes of all JAR perfumes are kept secret. The Perfumed Court lists them as red berries, delphiniums, twigs and green leaves. But Robert, the distinguished and charming JAR rep at Bergdorf Goodman will never tell. He and his younger associate will only smile and inquire: "what does it smell like to you? How does it make you feel?" . Nothing like red berries if you ask me.
Bolt Of Lightning opens with a disturbing burst of ozone and pickles. The pickles morph quickly into greenery and a storm drenched wood and garden. This perfume causes an emotional and physical reaction, like being jolted out of deep sleep in the middle of the night by an enormous thunder. You open the window and stand there in the dark trying to remember your last dream; were you just free falling into the ocean? But you forget all about it as you smell the charged air, the rain-soaked earth and bushes in the yard... and wet gardenias.
Gardenia. This is how Bolt Of Lightning dries down on my skin. And not just any gardenia, but one worthy of an imperial garden. Layered, intoxicating, delicate but persistent. This gardenia is drenched to its roots, has a few grains of wet earth stuck to its petals and carries that eerie, dreamy quality you smell in this perfume from the very start.
As far as I know, the gardenia note is not supposed to be there, but since I could smell it just as clearly on the wrist of my scent twin, I feel quite validated about it. JAR's real gardenia perfume, Jardenia, is different, as it's a play on heat and decay. Still, the gardenia note itself is similar, while the pickles and twigs make an appearance in an even darker JAR perfume, Shadow.
For more information and reviews of JAR and his creations, please see my older posts:
1. In which my scent twin and I visit JAR at Bergdorf.
2. A review of Ferme tes Yeux. Proceed with caution.
3. A review of Diamond Water. Bring your own tiara.
4. The n00b point of view- my first encounter with JAR perfumes.
Bolt Of Lightning by JAR ($765, 30 ml pure perfume) is only available at two locations: Bergdorf Goodman in NYC and 14 Rue de Castiglione, Paris. Samples are only available for purchase from the Perfumed Court. I swapped for mine with a dear friend.
Photographs, in order of appearance:
Two bolts of lightning by Stefan-23 on Flickr
Stormy Night by Dallas Smith
Stormy Night by The Lake Life