There are celebrity perfumes and then are perfume lovers who make perfume and also happen to be celebrities. Richard E Grant created his own perfume brand and also happens to be an actor, writer and director. As much as I love a good sleb bargain, they are usually about noughts and dollar signs and not usually driven by a lifelong love of all things olfactory. Jack very much falls into the latter category, and is the culmination of Richard’s self-confessed obsession with scent and all its visceral triggers.
First of all, the creation of Jack Perfume was coaxed out of him by the incredible Anya Hindmarch (yes, the creator of the handbag brand). It was when she stumbled across him with his nose in a gardenia bush that she more or less asked him if there was anything he needed to talk about? You can the read the full story on the Jack blog.
Secondly, and this sets Jack apart from many celeb scents, Richard funded this himself. He risked his own money, (after all, we may have hated it), and tracked down the right people so he could scratch this itch that wouldn’t quit. (I’m sorry for the imagery there, I’m trying to think of a more elegant way of saying that.)
The result of Anya Hindmarch’s nudge in the ribs and pep talk, and of Richard’s drive and passion, is Jack Perfume, which I am reviewing today. There are now two more in the series, Jack Covent Garden and Jack Piccadilly, which I shall review presently.
Now I’m a bit late to the party having only just got around to getting my mitts on these. Cwmbran is not a hub for perfume samples, unless you count my four mini suitcases in the dining room. It’s never too late to review a scent though, so here we go.
So What Does Jack Smell Like?
Jack opens with an immediate and thirst quenching blend of mandarin and lime. One dab has my son asking if I “have sherbet over there.” It’s delightfully refreshing and a great first impression.
There is a cannabis in the opening symphony too. How could it be left out after Richard’s iconic role in Withnail and I? I cannot say the name of the film without so many quotes flying into my head, I fear I may bore you if I don’t get back on track. Rather than being a joint the size of a large carrot (as in the film) the cannabis is a light herbal touch, slightly earthy and grassy and rather pleasant: its not unlike vetiver, which is also here.
The cloves come in shortly after that, accompanied by nutmeg, giving this a wonderfully aromatic spiced wood warmth. The lime and mandarin from the opening act seem to cut through the richness of the pepper, oud, resins and woods, which stops this from getting too dark or too rich. There are clean musk nuances in the finish and the sniffability factor goes off the scale. I can’t seem to type more than three words without having another sniff.
Jack is a wonderful unisex fragrance that would serve you in summer or winter. It is a scent of contrasts: dark and light, with a glossy wooden shell and a soft belly. My overall impression is that this is very much a feel good scent. It’s both uplifting and cosy, like a hug, and I shall be ordering several gallons.
You can buy Jack from Liberty in London, as well as in Europe and the USA. See here for a full list. My samples were kindly sent to me by Richard E Grant, for which, my warmest thanks. I completely failed to be cool when I received them.