Jazz was the epic follow up to the highly successful Kouros. Jazz would have to be one of my strongest perfume memories as a child growing up. Every opportunity I had I would spray a scent card and tuck it away in a box when I returned home. I still remember the cards. They were made from a heavier than normal gsm weight. The grain was soft and had not been heavily pressed giving the card an almost cotton like hand. One half was printed black with the brand name and perfume title. Endless perfume forum threads exist discussing formula changes. Many fragrances are altered due to ingredients being regulated, or supply is unavailable, or simply the sales have dropped so the house’s finance team wants the production cost altered. For what ever reasons it is a reality and I guess it becomes something you need to accept. Jazz is a fragrance that does not smell exactly the way I remember it as a child. I wonder if this is because of changes to the formula, which I know there have been some as I have had a number of bottles of Jazz throughout the past twenty years. Or could it be your sense of smell develops as you mature, similar to your palette for food? Jazz Prestige is the closest I get to the olfactive memory of Jazz I have from my childhood. Launched in 1993 it was the first move away from the molded plastic bottle in contrasting black and white, towards the current glass bottle. Jazz Prestige is said to be a richer, luxurious Jazz expression that incorporates notes of Mysore sandalwood and tobacco absolute. It is also a mysterious fragrance and not much exists in the way of information both online or on paper. I received a reply back from YSL Beaute to say they had no information to share on products that were discontinued before the group was purchased by Loreal in 2008. The author of this fragrance is unknown (if you do know, please let me know!). It survived only a few years before the release of Live Jazz. Comparing the two there are some similarities but for me, not enough to call Live Jazz a revision of Jazz Prestige. These days it is rare find so if you have an opportunity to buy a bottle, I suggest being quick.
Like most fragrances from this era, Jazz Prestige packs a punch, but I do not think using sparingly is a solution. It is simply one of those fragrances you have to use as it was intended. Who cares if the person you are sharing an elevator with is making strange faces at you. There are much less interesting things you could have decided to smell like. The beauty of Prestige is the warmth of the floral accord. Geranium with less amounts of rose and a few ionone’s that create the same violet rose found in Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris. Jasmine increases the sweetness of the floral notes. This is paired with fruity apple, green spice, ginger, pepper, coriander and nutmeg. In time the warmth of sandalwood, amber and benzoin take over with the trademark early nineties fougere theme playing continuously in the background. Another interesting part of the composition is the tobacco note. It comes in and out of focus throughout the fragrance’s life. In particular during the mid phase where the hay like scent of tobacco is still perceivable before becoming more animalic, like the smell of stale urine. It makes for an interesting paradox between the powdery freshness of geranium rose paired with apple and the smell of homeless men. Sounds ghastly I know, but for me it is a peculiarity I find strangely attractive.
Kouros lovers who want to try something less Tarzan and more Jane might like to give this a go. It is a real nineties fragrance, I almost see fluro Keith Haring animations in my head every time I smell it. Although it feels like it was designed for nocturnal wear I think in our times it does not meet the demands of today’s modern man who is heading out for the night. I see it as a great retro nod for daytime wear and the office. I would suggest pairing it with a modern look to help onlookers not misread your fragrance choice as ‘stuck in a timewarp’, the feeling I get when I pass someone in the street who is wearing Joop Pour Homme. This one has all of the hallmarks and complexities, which on the right person would make both sexes, go weak at the knees.