Here’s the concept: Each of Xerjoff’s ten Join the Club (or JTC) fragrances is an olfactory homage to a particular hobby. When you buy one of them, you get a code that gives you access to a website with "exclusive initiatives" about the hobby to which your perfume is linked. Golf, sailing, theater, meditation, cigars, jazz, poetry, fashion, horse racing and traveling each has its own JTC fragrance.
Well. A beautiful fragrance doesn’t need a gimmick to sell it, and as soon as I read the description, my snark machine fired up. On the other hand, Xerjoff doesn’t usually skimp on materials, and although many of their fragrances are conservative to my nose, I really like a few of them. How does JTC fare?
Let’s swing through a few of the JTC hobbies and get a sense for what their corresponding fragrances are about. I’ll give you the press release’s description of the fragrance then my take on it.1
Fatal Charme: “Fatal Charm is the trendiest Club.” This, I believe, is the “fashion” perfume. Fatal Charme is a girlish iris with a bright citrus opening. The iris is powdery enough to remind me of mimosa. The fragrance smells more like a teen coquette’s boudoir than a late-night club throbbing with dance music. Fatal Charme lasts twelve-plus hours on skin and remains airy and cheerful the whole while.
More than Words: “More than a Word is the all-you-need intellectual perfume, in a context of Bohemian creativity, free from boundaries, that loves playing on words and creating verses in a contemporary lyricism.” Wow! What could that possibly smell like? Oud, that’s what. A berry-topped, rose-accented oud. Again, one squirt of this one before breakfast will oud you up amply until bedtime.
Kind of Blue: “Kind of Blue is the perfume of musical fascination, like the jazz notes that inspired it.” And jazz, my friends, apparently smells like a powdery floral loaded with laundry musk. If you were envisioning smoky clubs, booze and Miles Davis, think again. Imagine, instead, Julie Andrews singing as she folds stacks of fluffy baby diapers fresh from the dryer.
Ivory Route: “Ivory Route is the extreme adventure Club.” When I first read this description, I thought it referred to things like climbing glaciers and deep sea diving. Then I realized it must be the “travel” fragrance, and its dry herbal-leather scent bears it out. The perfume’s aroma of expensive suitcase loaded with dried herbs morphs to amber over its first hour, and it stays amber-sweet until it fades several hours later.
Shunkoin: “Shunkoin is the mystical place of rare intensity that naturally brings inner peace.” Anyone want to guess? You’re thinking incense, right? Wrong. Coconut! Coconut plus almond, really. I think it’s supposed to approximate cherry blossom, but to me it was a coconut soliflore riding a vanilla-amber-sandalwood base.
Ascot Moon: “The Ascot horse races and polo games are the inspiration for Ascot Moon.” There’s nothing horsey about this fragrance. It’s loaded with saddle leather, wood, and soap. If you’re looking for a classic, manly leather that isn’t too oily, you might want to give it a try. When the leather fades, cedar and wood step up. Ascot Moon doesn’t last as long as Kind of Blue and More than Words, but it’s at least six hours durable.
The Xerjoff JTC fragrances come in blue glass bottles that somehow look both deco and space age. The JTC fragrances I didn’t mention above are 40 Knots (sailing), Birdie (golf), Comandante (cigars—sadly does not smell like cigars) and Marquee (theater). If any of you have purchased a bottle and are privy to the secret club website, please tell all!
A 50 ml bottle of the Eau de Parfum costs $215. For information on where to buy it, see Xerjoff under Perfume Houses.
1. You’ll notice inconsistencies in spelling and grammar — including the names of some of the fragrances — but it’s straight from the press release with no doctoring from me.