JAR Parfums ~ Ferme Tes Yeux & Diamond Waters

I recently had the opportunity (thanks Beth!) to try 2 scents by JAR Parfums, the line created by Paris jeweller Joel Arthur Rosenthal. Devotees of obscure niche fragrances are accustomed to having to jump through hoops in order to get their hands on a fragrance, but JAR surpasses even Serge Lutens in terms of making his perfumes unavailable to the hoi polloi. They can only be purchased in-person at his shop on the rue de Castiglione in Paris, and run upwards of $200 an ounce (way, way upwards).

At one time, you could see a list of the fragrances on the JAR website, along with an explanation to the effect that samples were not available because it was better to try the fragrances in person. Apparently that was more information than the company cares to divulge to strangers: the website now displays the address and store hours, nothing more.

So it is just as well that I am not going to stay awake at night pining for Ferme Tes Yeux. I cannot tell you what is in it, as JAR does not disclose fragrance notes — no surprise there — but it is a heavily animalic fragrance with possibly some amber. The top notes are downright unpleasant; it does improve as it dries down, but I found wearing it a somewhat disturbing experience.

Diamond Waters is a different story. This is a lovely white floral, with peppery top notes and a creamy-sweet dry down with a bit of spice. I smell some tuberose, possibly some rose, and maybe a tad of carnation. It is a heavier fragrance than I would normally wear, but I cannot deny that it is beautifully done. Worth the price? Not to me. It is lovely but not earth-shattering, and for that price, a fragrance would have to rock my world.

Mr. Rosenthal apparently does not plan to put these fragrances into wider distribution:

JAR Parfums will not soon--and may never--be available at a department store near you. "Part of the pleasure of perfume," he says, "is where it comes from--literally the shop it comes from. If you can buy something anywhere in the world, as is almost always the case today, the pleasure and mystery of the source of the thing is gone." (W Magazine; September 1, 2001)

Other perfumes in the line include Jardenia, Jarling, Shadow, Bolt of Lightning, and Golconda.

Update, 12/05: the line is now available at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. And now that I've tried Bolt of Lightning, I am considerably more impressed with this line.

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15 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i've been asked a lot recently if i've smelled the JAR perfumes – the answer until this morning was no. i just got back from bergdorf's where i went through them all – some several times.

    based on much of what i'd been told about them, i was expecting very high concept presenting rather mundane scents. this is NOT the case.

    frankly i was stunned.

    i can't think the last time i smelled anything so unlike anything else before. contrary to popular belief i do not hate all perfume – in fact i happen to well and truly admire many (hermes & serge lutens which are all perfect in there way spring to mind) and while i certainly recognize the JAR perfumes are not everyone's cup of tea when it comes to fragrance they are one & all brilliant perfumes – beautifully & brilliantly composed and hugely original.

    and while i could recognize a great many of the ingredients used (which i will say are obviously of the best quality) – i agree with m rothenthal that there is ultimately no point in listing them.

    the point is the scent.

    and as for me, it's SO nice to have such an unexpectedly WONDERFUL surprise!

    Cheers

    CB

  2. Anonymous says:

    CB, I was not impressed with the first 2 I tried, but since visiting the boutique at BG and trying Jardenia, Bolt of Lightning & Jarling, I wholeheartedly 2nd your comment — they are quite brilliant and not like anything else on the market. Still, not likely they'll enter my collection given the price!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a really sweet husand. He knows how much I love parfum and if I really want it, then I can have it. However, this is a marketing strategy that I will not participate in. It is insulting to me that the creator thinks I don't need to know what is in the parfum.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I still remember my visit to the intriguing JAR boutique at Bergdorf Goodman several years ago: the dimly lit, elegant plum-walled room in which the representative proffered each fragrance from a glass jar containing a scented chamois, and his sincere, serious manner. I too was astonished by the originality of the scents. It was almost impossible for me to choose between two of them, the names of which I cannot now recall. Finally I made a decision and my wrist was anointed with the chosen scent.
    I wasn't sure at first. Yes, it was unique, and I liked it very much. But was this something I'd be interested in wearing daily? Was it that much more special than other scents I loved?
    I went off to shop that afternoon and found myself frequently bringing my wrist to my nose to experience the remarkable scent. As the day passed I was craving having it for myself, but at the price, I found it decadent to actually make the purchase. It stood up though, hour after hour, and I was falling in love. I so reluctantly let the scent be washed away in the shower.
    If JAR wishes to limit the purchase of its fragrances only to those willing to put out that much money, then they are handling the marketing correctly. Personally I'd love to wear the JAR fragrance every day, but in this world of precious human beings, my funds are much nobler spent elsewhere. Should the price be lowered, however….

  5. Anonymous says:

    I can't argue with you — if any company only wants to sell to those with lots of money, of course they're smart to do so! But I think funds are better spent elsewhere too, as much as I'd love to have a bottle of Bolt of Lightning.

  6. Ayala says:

    Any idea of the exact address for JAR?
    Thanks so much!

    • Robin says:

      From their website:

      JAR PARFUMS boutique

      on the Beauty Level at
      BERGDORF GOODMAN
      754 Fifth Avenue
      NEW YORK 10019 NY
      USA

      Open from Monday through Sunday

      for more information
      please call our direct line

      tel. : + 1 212 – 872 – 2874
      fax. : + 1 212 – 872 – 2788

      email: capitals@jar-parfums.fr

      Boutique :
      JAR PARFUMS
      14, rue de Castiglione
      75001 PARIS
      France

      Heures d’ouverture :
      de lundi à samedi
      de 10h30 A 18h30

      tél. : + 33 (0)1.40.20.47.20
      fax. : + 33 (0)1.40.20.49.20

      courriel : capitals@jar-parfums.fr

  7. tawfiq says:

    you need to know and understand JAR to appreciate the creations
    the nameless one (known to some as Bold of Lightning) is one of the most extraordinary and complex perfumes you will ever encounter
    the creator does not need to disclose the ingredients
    part of the magic of allowing you to expereince it without preconceptions
    as for the price
    and exclusivity

    JAR is not a for all
    if you think something is worthy then you will purchase it
    knowing the value of something
    regardless of the cost

    • Robin says:

      Bolt of Lightning is a wonderful scent. Nothing would make me pay for it though — as you say, if you think something is worthy then you will purchase it, but I don’t think any perfume on earth is worth that much.

      • tawfiq says:

        What is your favourite chocolate Robin?

        • Robin says:

          Do you mean my favorite brand? I’m very fond of Dolfin & Chuao.

  8. tawfiq says:

    would you be kind enough to post my corrected first entry, thank you:

    you need to know and understand JAR to appreciate the creations
    the nameless one (known to some as Bold of Lightning) is one of the most extraordinary and complex perfumes you will ever encounter
    the creator does not need to disclose the ingredients
    part of the magic of allowing you to experience it without preconceptions
    as for the price
    and exclusivity

    JAR is not for all
    if you think something is worthy then you will purchase it
    knowing the value of something
    regardless of the cost

  9. Dilana says:

    I was given the “JAR” presentation at Sniffapooloza. While the presentation, (a long consultation with the sales associate”) was very nice. The perfume is very nice indeed; however if I am receiving a consultation, I think some form of discussion of the notes is appropriate. The discussion of price only occurred at the end, when I had to ask. I did not faint, but I did mumble something along tthe line of “perhaps another time,” meaning when I no longer have to waste money on trivial things, like housing, car repairs, health care, worthy charities etc.

    The perfume was very nice indeed.

    However, it did not smell quite so rich, and quite so interesting as one which I sampled later in the afternoon: Field Notes from Paris. If you are like myself and find it necessary to ask the price of things, FNOP is less than $100.00 a bottle.

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