Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jil Sander N°4

I'm sure I've mentioned my love for Jil Sander No.4 before, but it really deserves its own post. This is a gorgeous "bombshell" perfume if ever there was one. I've smelled many fragrances in the Jil Sander line from her first launch (a tuberose-based white floral bouquet in the vein of Molinard de Molinard) to the more recent launches, most of which are vanillic or aqueous-ozonic mainstream offerings, but No.4 is the one I would consider a masterpiece in the line. I found it a few years ago at Sephora before they stopped carrying it. I remember seeing these stunningly sleek, heavy glass bottles on their clearance shelf, thinking how handsome they were. I understood the scent was a bit heavy and overtly perfumey for many people, but I thought it was a grand fragrance, and I brought a bottle home from that sale. The headiness brings to mind other tuberose-ambers such as Oscar de LaRenta Volupte, Gres Cabotine, the original Valentino and Creed Fleurissimo, but add to these the animalic notes of grey ambergris and it comes closer to the rich, dark, woody-ambery floralcy of Creed Tubereuse Indiana, only more focused on rose, and also more transparent (but still heavy). I smell in it violets and plummy, glistening fruit notes that give it a purple-y jewel-toned glow, a particularly sweet and rich, almost candied heart.

What makes Jil Sander No.4 special is that it manages to smell minimalist and modern at the same time being a classic Floral Oriental. Not many perfumes can walk that fine line convincingly, but Jil Sander No.4 is, like Wynton Marsalis, effective at playing both Classical and Jazz authentically (although in the case of Jil Sander No.4, it's more like Classical and Adult Contemporary, or something like that). For those of you who can't wear indolic jasmines, No.4 might smell too animalic. For me, the level of animalic notes is just right, but I tend to wear this fragrance in small amounts so I don't overwhelm those around me. According to Jan Moran's book, Fabulous Fragrances II, Kim Basinger is one of the fans of this seductive and unforgettable fragrance.

Notes according to Jan Moran:
Jil Sander No.4 (1992 Floral - Oriental)
Top Notes: Light rose, geranium, peach, plum, galbanum
Heart Notes: Violets, jasmine, rose, tuberose, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, carnation, tarragon, myrrh
Base Notes: Grey ambergris, moss, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli, musk