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  1. #1
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    Default Relish of the Gods

    I have had quite an overstimulating day for a noob. There is so much to smell in the basement of Bergdorf Goodman--before we even got on the escalator, in fact, the entire line of city scents from Guerlain provided on paper strips like cocktails before take-off. But let me cut right to the chase because I have to go to bed in a few minutes, and I have a few things to say about what I just bought.

    I tried not to over-saturate with blogpinions before we ventured to the JAR boutique, but it's hard not to take note of the myriad dismissals of Shadow: that it smells like relish, marinated tomatoes, hamburgers, pickles, etc. Well, it does not. Or, perhaps I should say, if your relish really smells like this then where can I get some?



    Just to be fair, I actually sniffed that jar of relish. Its development is linear with top notes of vinegar and dill followed by fructose, clove, and citric acid in the drydown. It was actually less exciting than I expected.

    Then from jar to JAR.

    OMG.

    First, let me say I have not given a lot of thought to the texture of a scent before. Many designer fragrances (I realize now) come out of the bottle extremely hissy and coarse. They are the olfactory equivalent of an old fashioned TV picture barely watchable through bad reception. I buy a lot of niche fragrance, and their textures tend toward the finer end of the spectrum. But this thing. Ach mein gott. It is stitched together so finely that it may as well have been wept from those angels on the head of a pin. It is well beyond my noob nose to account for how this texture is so beautiful--as if the fragrance "pixels" disappeared and I was seeing for real for the first time--but wow, there it is. A whole new level.

    Now the notes. I understand where the pickle comes from, but that is such a lazy way to describe what's really going on. There is a beautiful juxtaposition between vetiver and (what to my nose smells like) mustard seed. It is a sweet-savory tug-of-war against a backdrop of clove, a wood that I cannot identify, and an indolic whore of a carnation. It is fairly linear. It does not have amazing longetivity. But what these players act out on the stage of my arm is so refined, so perfectly crafted, and so stunningly unlike anything else I have smelled that I hardly know how to put it into words.

    I also sniffed the mostarda, which is my personal favorite condiment. And I would say the mostarda is a little closer than the relish. But it plays out the same way: sniffing the condiment only reinforces that, not only is the JAR not from the fridge; I'm not even sure it's of this world.

    This is some badass juice.

  2. #2
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    Diamondflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Texture is definitely one of those attributes that is hard to describe in a fragrance. Thank you for such an interesting review of JAR Shadow.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    This is good, I have been trying to come up with at least one good reason for another visit to Manhattan - 81, 96 . . . it's time isn't it?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Thanks for the awesome review and awesome title ! I love Shadow's weirdness and all of the JAR's in general. I definitely see the pickle vibe but then it transforms into the most beautiful oakmoss-sandalwood drydown that is very reminiscent of old school chypres. When did you purchase your bottle? I've been wanting to purchase it for years now but it has been discontinued because of oakmoss regulations and supposedly it has been reintroduced. If you don't mind me asking, how much was it? Are they still 5-600-ish?

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    I'm not getting a lot of oak moss in the drydown. I do get the sandalwood. This is apparently a new batch, so it's possibly had the oak moss toned down.

    Quote Originally Posted by scent View Post
    Thanks for the awesome review and awesome title ! I love Shadow's weirdness and all of the JAR's in general. I definitely see the pickle vibe but then it transforms into the most beautiful oakmoss-sandalwood drydown that is very reminiscent of old school chypres. When did you purchase your bottle? I've been wanting to purchase it for years now but it has been discontinued because of oakmoss regulations and supposedly it has been reintroduced. If you don't mind me asking, how much was it? Are they still 5-600-ish?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by scent View Post
    Are they still 5-600-ish?
    I happen to have a list of the current prices:

    Diamond Water $465
    Ferme Tes Yeux $580
    Golconda $525 LE Baccarat Bottle $950
    Jardenia $505
    Jarling $515
    Shadow $472
    Bolt of Lightning $865
    Bed of Roses $498

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Thanks for the great description. I agree with your description of something saturated, rich, vivid for JARs - it probably has to do with the parfum concentration, and the use of many naturals.

    Any other impressions on the ones you did not buy?

    cacio

  8. #8

    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    I'm not getting a lot of oak moss in the drydown. I do get the sandalwood. This is apparently a new batch, so it's possibly had the oak moss toned down.
    Thanks for your impressions. Do you get a dark feel to the drydown?

    Quote Originally Posted by socalwoman View Post
    I happen to have a list of the current prices:

    Diamond Water $465
    Ferme Tes Yeux $580
    Golconda $525 LE Baccarat Bottle $950
    Jardenia $505
    Jarling $515
    Shadow $472
    Bolt of Lightning $865
    Bed of Roses $498
    Thanks you! Wow, Shadow is a bargain LOOOOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Thanks for the great description. I agree with your description of something saturated, rich, vivid for JARs - it probably has to do with the parfum concentration, and the use of many naturals.

    Any other impressions on the ones you did not buy?

    cacio
    cacio, did you try the not-yet-released one which smelt a bit like Thai food and seaweed

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by scent View Post
    Thanks for your impressions. Do you get a dark feel to the drydown?
    It definitely darkens but it also becomes very subtle in the drydown. According to this blog, JAR would rather kill a fragrance than reformulate. So it seems Shadow has returned only because they've sourced the raw materials again.

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    The minimum one expects from something as pricy as JAR is that they don't follow IFRA restrictions. The Jarling I smelled in december appeared to have plenty of heliotropin still. But perfume houses are known to lie shamelessly, so what they say isn't really a proof of anything.

    I don't recall any thai food with seaweed during my december sniff. As long as the seaweed is not the one in M/Mink, Tirrenico, or the like, it could be interesting. Vintage Diorella was supposedly thai food as well.

    Incidentally, Golconda was quoted to me in Paris as EUR630 - with no specification of bottle ...

    cacio

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    The minimum one expects from something as pricy as JAR is that they don't follow IFRA restrictions. The Jarling I smelled in december appeared to have plenty of heliotropin still. But perfume houses are known to lie shamelessly, so what they say isn't really a proof of anything.
    Could not agree with this more. Do remember however that we're dealing with a company that would rather not sell a piece of jewelry at all than have an ugly person wear it. I do tend to believe they would yank a fragrance from the shelf long before they would sully it. (As they have apparently done.)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Thanks for the very informative review.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    Could not agree with this more. Do remember however that we're dealing with a company that would rather not sell a piece of jewelry at all than have an ugly person wear it. I do tend to believe they would yank a fragrance from the shelf long before they would sully it. (As they have apparently done.)
    Dear me. I suppose I approve of such hauteur abstractly, but in practice it is quite an affectation.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Thanks for the review! I agree about texture - the JAR fragrances have been relentlessly polished - both at the component level and in combination, IMO.

    Bed of Roses was the one that I loved the most. Possibly one of the best rose scents I've ever smelled. I would agree with anybody that a truly beloved JAR scent is worth owning, even at those prices.
    * * * *

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    I tried not to over-saturate with blogpinions before we ventured to the JAR boutique, but it's hard not to take note of the myriad dismissals of Shadow: that it smells like relish, marinated tomatoes, hamburgers, pickles, etc. Well, it does not. Or, perhaps I should say, if your relish really smells like this then where can I get some?

    I understand where the pickle comes from, but that is such a lazy way to describe what's really going on.
    I have realized that it is best to dismiss reviews where the reviewer makes these kinds of comparisons, especially if they use words like "exactly" or the like. Threads come up here all the time where someone is convinced one frag smells "just like" another, but a huge majority of people do not agree with them, every single time. I've never read a thread where anyone will say, "hey, you're right, x does smell exactly like y", it never happens.

    I like your description of it being a lazy way to describe or review, because the person is not making any effort, their brain has told them it is relish due to scent memory associations and they haven't learned to get over it or made the effort to smell what's really there.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Merely View Post
    Dear me. I suppose I approve of such hauteur abstractly, but in practice it is quite an affectation.
    I think it's kind of funny. Affectation? In its way, yes. But perhaps not without sincerity. Artists often have their own sets of rules.

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Bed of Roses was the one that I loved the most. Possibly one of the best rose scents I've ever smelled. I would agree with anybody that a truly beloved JAR scent is worth owning, even at those prices.
    Bed of Roses was intriguing. I may go back and smell it again. Your blog entry about it was actually one of the things that inspired me to go smell them in the first place. So thanks for that!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    It definitely darkens but it also becomes very subtle in the drydown. According to this blog, JAR would rather kill a fragrance than reformulate. So it seems Shadow has returned only because they've sourced the raw materials again.
    That's it...I'm calling Bergdorf's ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    The minimum one expects from something as pricy as JAR is that they don't follow IFRA restrictions. The Jarling I smelled in december appeared to have plenty of heliotropin still. But perfume houses are known to lie shamelessly, so what they say isn't really a proof of anything.

    I don't recall any thai food with seaweed during my december sniff. As long as the seaweed is not the one in M/Mink, Tirrenico, or the like, it could be interesting. Vintage Diorella was supposedly thai food as well.

    Incidentally, Golconda was quoted to me in Paris as EUR630 - with no specification of bottle ...

    cacio
    If I recall, the one that distinctly smelt like Thai food was put on hold for unknown reasons. Diorella and Thai food eh? Cause of the fermented melon note perhaps. Interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Thanks for the review! I agree about texture - the JAR fragrances have been relentlessly polished - both at the component level and in combination, IMO.

    Bed of Roses was the one that I loved the most. Possibly one of the best rose scents I've ever smelled. I would agree with anybody that a truly beloved JAR scent is worth owning, even at those prices.
    Redneck, does BoR resemble any other rose scent on the market? Is it lush or soft? Animalic?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Thanks for the review, I don't think I've ever seen a review of it or heard of anyone who owns a full bottle.

    Sounds ghastly....nonetheless it sounds like you're enjoying it. The relish montage photo made me giggle.

    My personal favorite JAR is Golconda, the vintage juice. OMG. Unbelievably good carnation.
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    scent:

    to be precise, Diorella was Vietnamese beef salad (Tania Sanchez). But I've never had the luck to smell it, just the modern, pale version.

    mike:

    why do you use the past tense on golconda? did they reformulate? did they have to follow the ifra restriction on eugenol? I only smelled it in Paris last year, and only from the glass - I felt the clove was still there, but cannot say about the drydown.

    cacio

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    mike:

    why do you use the past tense on golconda? did they reformulate? did they have to follow the ifra restriction on eugenol? I only smelled it in Paris last year, and only from the glass - I felt the clove was still there, but cannot say about the drydown.

    cacio
    A generous Basenoter sent me a sample of it, marked 'vintage' I have no specific info about the reformulation, I'm assuming it's been discussed on it's own thread elsewhere...
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Mike:

    thanks. didn't find any post on reformulation, so who knows, let's hope the current smells like vintage...

    cacio

  23. #23

    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    I loved this post! That said, dear god 500-1000 for a tiny bottle, it better be made of the tears of those "weeping angels" lol. All the same, fantastic review; I also love Bergdorff's just a fantastic store.

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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    There are two versions of Golconda. I am going to ask next time I stop by (possibly tonight) what the difference was. From reading descriptions of the original, it sounds like it might have been a somewhat wilder beast than the current version. I have smelled the latter on two occasions, and it has the same level of exquisite polish as the others in the JAR line. My educated guess would be that, when the other five fragrances launched, they did a little refinement on Golconda so she would not look like the adopted half-sister.

    If I end up adding it to my collection, Mike, I'll send you a sample for comparison. It would be interesting to get your feedback on the two versions.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Thanks bro'. I'd love to hear your impressions of it. It has a level of purity and richness that I've never experienced in a carnation fragrance before. There are a lot of threads on carnation prominent scents and I have tried many of them. The only one that even comes close is vintage L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci but I own the EdT (I haven't smelled vintage EdP or extrait). I have this nagging sense that perhaps the JAR has real carnation absolute in it. Which is stratospherically priced. But, hey, if any scent on the market is going to have it, it's going to be a JAR. But the mind wonders, if it does, who is actually MAKING carnation absolute out there, in the market??
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Relish of the Gods

    Does anyone get, during the very final phases of Shadow, a cedarwood base that's vaguely lutenesque?


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