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.