A few years ago the jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenfeld, who creates truly fantastical arrangements of gems, released a line of luxury fragrances bearing his initials. These seven scents, all pure perfumes, can be examined and purchased at JAR’s only boutique outside Paris: an alcove just off the main fragrance area of Bergdorf Goodman’s beauty department.
The JAR boutique’s walls are painted a deep plum shade, with an emblematic bolt of lightning streaking across the ceiling. The space is dimly lit with small, shaded lamps, and once you have entered its sanctuary, you sit facing a specially trained JAR fragrance representative across a table. The shadowy light, the hushed ambiance, and the glimmering objects on the table may make you feel as though you are about to have your fortune told, or to participate in some secret religious ritual.
Slowly and methodically, the JAR representative will proffer a series of lidded glass containers. Each one is etched with the name of a fragrance and contains a piece of chamois imbued with that fragrance. You may inhale the aroma that wafts from the open container, and you may comment on the scents if you wish; however, you will not be given any response if you inquire about the perfumes’ compositions, other than an enigmatic smile. The notes of JAR fragrances are never revealed. (“I haven’t even told my wife what they are,” one JAR representative confessed to me.) Instead, the client is encouraged to form his or her own impressions of the scents, based on his or her own memories, tastes, and personality. (Whether the exclusivity of this overall process impresses, amuses, or aggravates you is, of course, similarly a reflection of your own tastes and personality.)
If you wish to know the price of a certain scent, it may be written discreetly on a slip of paper and handed to you; then again, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it (as the saying goes). Prices per ounce start above $400 and rise past $700, depending on the individual fragrance. Samples of JAR fragrances are not available, so if there’s one that you particularly enjoy, graciously accept the representative’s offer to anoint your wrist with scent from one of the glass flasks resting on the edge of the table, and wear it like a jewel.
Details: 754 Fifth Avenue (at 58th Street), New York, NY 10019; (website).
See also: Perfume shopping in New York
— Report and second image filed by Jessica M, first image via jar-parfums.fr.