JAR Ferme Tes Yeux by TOM

Guess what Posse! TOM just sent me this piece on JAR Ferme Tes Yeux and Ava Gardner. It’s been so long and he doesn’t have access to the Posse back area on his computer anymore. Yes, I’ll take that up with Patty, sure we can get him back on board. Would you all be as excited as me? I’m practically hyperventilating, Tom is one of a kind. I’ve spent a few amazing weeks with him on different LA visits and he always has the most interesting historical tit bits and scandalous gossip. You’ll have to search hard for a better companion. PLUS he bloody loves perfume.


Well kiddies, long time no post..

For those of you with long memories, I used to write fairly frequently for the Posse (on Fridays) and before that on PST. I am afraid that I sort of fell out of the habit, and with the pandemic I confess I sort of fell into a bit of ennui about the whole thing. I didn’t get Covid (thanks to the gods, paranoia, and vaccinations) but except where necessary closed myself off to new things and new people and just sort of put it all on hold.

Of course it helped that I have a decent sized perfume collection, and our local market delivers.

The other night on FacePlace a friend who is almost as obsessed with Actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood posted a photo of Ava Gardner. Not the Ava of the forties but the Ava of the late (ish?) fifties: The Ava who’d been through a bunch of bullfighters and a fair amount of booze. Still the hottest thing in heels, she is raw sex in raw silk.

JAR Fermez Tes Yeux

She reminded me of JAR Ferme Tes Yeux.

JAR, to recap, is the star jeweler (as opposed to jeweler to the stars) Joel Arthur Rosenthal, who’s perfume creations are (were?) only available in his atelier in Paris and in a wildly luxe little cubby at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC. Years ago, the late lamented Non-Blonde (my scent twin) and I went there and this is where I first experienced them, and Ferme Tes Yeux was an instant favorite.

Gaia’s husband Ori had previously described it as “a wedding in hell”. Others had mentioned that there are decidedly animalic aspects to it that were, for them, nigh unto unpleasant. White flowers for me always seem to have a hint of rot to them, I found it fascinating. Like going to see the famous Corpse Flower at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. One of the times that it was in bloom. It famously is supposed to smell like rotted meat, and therefore was quite the tourist attraction. This was days after the high point of the flowers stinkitude, and while it did indeed smell on that hot San Marino afternoon, it wasn’t precisely rotten meat. It was like lilies and gardenia and tuberose that had managed to spoil; a wet, mossy decay.

It was also something that I thought if dialed down from 11 to say, 7, would almost be enjoyable.

Ferme Tes Yeux dialed it down to about 8. I loved it.

What does this have to do with the photo of Ava? There’s something in it’s unretouched glory that has that blasted-bud thing going on with it. She’s not an ingenue. She has knowledge in her eyes and experience written on her face. There’s something defiant in her stance. Her hair slightly tousled, the shoulder straps of her gown almost slipping off, her wrap tossed on a chair. You know she could beat you at chess or arm-wrestling if she felt like it. Her gaze almost challenges you: are you man enough for this? Well, are you?

Ferme Tes Yeux listed no notes, was wildly out of my price range (I bought decants from Surrender to Chance) and as far as I know isn’t sold anymore at least at Bergdorf Goodman. Gone, like the Barefoot Contessa herself.


  • AnnJune says:

    Hello Tom! So glad you are back, as I always enjoyed your posts : ) I actually received a bottle of JAR Shadow many years ago in a swap, crazily enough, from a generous swapper – not sure if it was on this forum or NST. It is beautiful, but a bit unusual. I have not had the pleasure of sampling any of the others.

  • Zazie says:

    The joy to welcome back Tom.
    The joy to see JAR mentioned again on a perfume blog.
    (Not that I ever smelled the fragrances. Or really coveted them.
    I eyed the jewels, which I could not afford, and vividly remember the first reviews I read from Gaia, and made me discover those incredible, precious, stone studded flowers JAR created. I remember LSD wearing a rose around her neck at a MET gala and recognizing the design immediately.)
    Which brings me to this unrelated topic: the (bittersweet) joy to read Gaia’s name again.
    I was never a big commenter on her blog, the moderation took too much time, and she didn’t interact much, but I read her perfume and makeup reviews every day, I loved her style, I shared her taste for the ornate and her love for cats.
    I miss her writing and end up thinking of her, her husband and kitties, more often than I should, given I never really met her or had any kind of meaningful interaction.
    So this post made me think back to those time when I first discovered perfume blogs, and was reading PST, TNB, NST, BDJ and of course PP as some read the Bible, amazed at the fact that there were so many people obsessed with perfume as I was. And still am. Always have been. So thank you for the time travel and welcome back!
    So grateful for the few OG blogs that still review and love perfume.

  • SpringPansy says:

    Yay – thrilled to see Tom again! Welcome back.

  • Maya says:

    Welcome back! Ava Gardner was an amazing woman. I have never tried any JAR perfumes, though I was always interested in Jardenia. If Ferme Tes Yeux reminds you of Ava, I would be very interested in trying it.

  • Musette says:

    Sweetums!!! SO nice to have you on here again!!!

    This (and the Ava photo) is giving me LIFE! I’ve been going through some ‘is that all there is’ re my age (fell just a little bit for a VERY much younger man, thankyouverymuch) – was ready to give up ALLLLL my power (I’m TOO OLD, etc) , then I realized ‘hey! this little pup should be kissing my stilettos!

    Just Like Ava. Minus that HawtAF, one of a kind beauty. But still like Ava.


  • Kathleen says:

    Wonderful to read a post from Tom again! I enjoyed the photos of Ava Gardner and his description. The only JAR I’ve sampled was Jardenia from STC vial, it was glorious!

  • Tara C says:

    I had the experience of smelling the JAR perfumes with Neela Vermeire years ago in Paris. We went the morning after I arrived, so I was still feeling woozy and jet-lagged. Sniffing Ferme Tes Yeux and Jardenia turned my fragile stomach and I nearly had to step outside. They were interesting though, and didn’t smell like anything else. It was quite the experience. The boutique is of course extremely posh and intimidating. I never would have gone in except with Neela.

    • Musette says:

      I absolutely LOVED the Bergdorf atelier and wish I would’ve had time to visit the Mothership in Paris.
      Try not to let luxe intimidate you (I hear this a lot) – at the end of the day, it’s just a shop.


  • cinnamon says:

    Welcome back, Tom. Have always wanted to sample the JAR perfumes. It appears there’s still a shop in Paris but no website. Something else to add to my ‘next time I’m three’ list.

  • Portia says:

    Ava looks so much like Charlize Theron in this pic.