Jazz Prestige is a really bizarre scent, and one of the few whose name perfectly reflects the juice. I am a big fan of jazz, and this scent is indeed “jazzy” as regards of its composition and evolution; it’s daring, creative, playful, unpredictable and most of all, with the same “clashing” structure of a free jazz improvisation. It has a really bold and perfectly crafted interplay of shades and lights, bright notes and darker nuances. What strikes me the most to this extent is the opening phase, which also perfectly integrates the “prestige” feature: an incredibly radiant, fresh, crisp and sharp green-citrus accord with breezy flowers (geranium above all) that, however, smells just deeply different from, well, any other “citrus floral accord” you may think of: not sure what it is due to, but the term that comes to my mind to describe this would be: abstract. Not in a theoretical meaning, rather I think of abstract art: it’s all just colorful, dynamic and almost chaotic, like a Pollock painting. Take a conventional citrus-herbal-floral accord, throw it in a blender, replace it there, here’s Jazz Prestige. And underneath that, a really formal, cozy and classic fougère structure as in the classic Jazz version, a “barbershop” symphony made of sandalwood, lavender, herbs, carnation spices, smoky notes, maybe a hint of leather too. The coexistence of these two “veins” – basically, “classic” and “creative” – is mindblowing. This flanker is a really precious, special and deeply creative rewriting of the original Jazz, which adds both artsy madness and a luxurious feel of golden refinement – due to the peculiar treatment of citrus-greenish flowers notes, again: crisp and clean like a freshly ironed shirt. You know what I thought of too? The “brat pack” group of novelists – McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, that group of American authors which portrayed the conflicts of the young, wealthy and spoiled generations of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, their pop luxury, their “camp” culture. Not sure why, but I feel Jazz Prestige shares the same “vibe” of many of those characters – it smells “rich”, ironical, bizarre, vibrant, almost naughty. Playing with classic notes like a postmodern composition. And I am not saying it smells like something those guys would wear; I mean more like an olfactive depiction of them. Not sure if that makes sense and surely isn’t helping much to understand this fragrance, so... just this: it smells fantastic and really – really! – ahead of its time. A true gem worth looking for.
Today I had a lucky chance of finding this masterpiece in its vintage bottle & packaging in an old shop shelf!
But unfortunately there were just 2 30ml bottles, so I bought one 30ml bottle for 45$! Very expensive!
I should say it IS fantastic, wayyyy different from new formulation of Jazz. Very classy and moderately long lasting. Somewhat warm and masculine but not suffocating or intoxicating in anyway.
Wished it was not discontinued. I can't understand why it is not produced any more.
Good addition to the collection!
Amongst those collectors for whom the pursuit of now obsolete olfactory treasures remains a constant source of fascination and nay, dare I say, obsession, then the discovery of a boxed, full bottle of YSL’s, ‘Jazz Prestige’, would be similar to a back-street car-boot-fare scenario in which Steve Buscemi’s, ‘Seymour’, discovers a pristine copy of an early, vinyl, John Coltrane album released on the original Prestige record label.
Indeed, just as in Terry Zwigoff’s remarkable, Ghost World (2001), we would see ‘Seymour’ admire the album’s sleeve and 50s artwork: feel the weight of the vinyl as it slides from out of its inner sleeve: watch his thorough inspection of the disc for scratches, faults etc, and ultimately his playing this disc on his old hi-fi equipment to preserve the sound of the day, marvelling at the ‘live’ feel of early Coltrane’s ‘sheets of sound’ captured on an analogue –not digital – recording: Buscemi’s trademark over-crowded teeth breaking in to characteristic easy, yet friendly grin - left foot tapping in time to the beat of Art Taylor’s driving drumming.
Such is the masterpiece of ‘Jazz Prestige’: a bottle of now discontinued hard-bop perfume delight that, like the youthful Coltrane’s tenor solos, goes on-and-on: twisting and turning as the (unknown) nose throws everything in to this creation, yet manages to ‘pull it off’ with an unfolding series of outcomes that constantly engage and inspire the wearer.
So, as if in the film Seymour had also been in to vintage perfumes, I ask you to imagine Buscemi’s unmistakable laconic tone giving enthusiastic, erudite commentary to the quietly quizzical, ‘Enid’, (Thora Birch), having judiciously sprayed ‘Jazz Prestige’ on to each others’ wrists. I shall leave you to imagine the rest….
‘You see…it is at once citrus bright; aromatic green, and kinda deeply floral, with a heavy ylang-ylang head note to me…..but don’t be fooled by the box: this is really a unisex despite the 90s bullshit marketing label. Yeah… here we go…this baby is backed by a depth of pepper and spices: an ‘Oriental’. Here…check this out…yeah! Great! You get the apples, okay…but wait now for the chypre notes…these were really cool in the late-50s/60s with a guy called Chant…but here’s the thing…this is no chypre either…cool…you dig the ‘leather’. Yeah that’s genius…really….but you wait a few hours and tell me how this smells then. The oriental shifts to chypre and then to a true fougere…the tonka bean-plus oakmoss thing…yeah, that’s right, the Paco Rabanne fern vibe. Only this is a 1000 times better! In fact, this is one of the best fougere chords there’s ever been, though most people out there just don’t know it, they just stick to Paco and Drakkar. No go on…take it, friend: it’s for you!’
Prestige was a fairly regular wear of mine over a couple of years, and I never ceased to enjoy it. I found it to be nothing unique, but the great combination of mint and apples with a flowery undertone was quite special and always cheered me up. The wood that emerged a bit later was clean and bright and merged very well with the other components. Longevity on me was limited to about 1 1/2 hours; it lasted longer on the clothes. A great summer fragrance without the usual citrus opening, and eminently suited for cooler days of the warm season. A shame is was discontinued.
15th July, 2012 (last edited: 20th August, 2012)
Strong soapy lavender with a touch of mint to begin with, then the tobacco starts to take over, which is also quite strong. There's also a bit of fruitiness kicking around. I just tried half a spritz to the chest and I can't imagine wearing more without some discomfort. In a sense, it doesn't come across as a complete fragrance, but rather as collection of notes, many of which are fighting for dominance. However, I can see how some might enjoy this kind of presentation, though I'm really not sure what to think. It's natural-smelling and has strong "sillage"/projection and longevity. but you had better like soapy lavender and tobacco, that's for sure!