Jazz Prestige by Yves Saint Laurent (1993)

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.


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