„It was like nobody ever saw me. Even I didn’t know if I really existed. – The Joker
Joker, the most recent film (2019), together with Zeitgeist of 2020 inspired the creation of Le Joker perfume by Art de Parfum. This dark, disturbing story about a supervillain that first appeared in the debut issue of the comic book Batman in 1940, elicits a whole mix of feelings such as deep disgust, unexpected sorrow, and strange pleasure. It’s not about whether you might „like“ this movie or not, the fact is that it makes you FEEL a whole array of different emotions. Isn’t that what all art is about, after all? Perfume should do the same.
With such a powerful context, the launch of a new perfume Le Joker is bound to run into quite a few expectations, and yet, it opens so many possibilities of olfactive interpretations of the character of The Joker.
Grim colors, the cruel city breathing heavily, disturbing music, rage, murders, pain, and suffering: that could be one fragrant interpretation, but would you actually be willing to wear a monstrous fragrance like that? Or just appreciate it l’art pour l’art? Maybe. Expectations are always premeditated resentments, so let’s see what Le Joker (perfume) really smells like!
Le Joker is the seventh addition to the line of Art de Parfum fragrances, a relatively new luxury perfume brand based in London, established in 2016 by Lithuanian-born Ruta Degutyte-Humphreys, and (as the brand states) inspired by French culture and sophistication.
I did test five of six of the previous releases by Art de Parfum: Sea Foam, Gin&Tonic Cologne, Signature Wild, Sensual Oud, and Excentrique Moi. I was most impressed by Gin&Tonic Cologne: a quite vivid fragrance that’s very true to the theme, and since all these fragrances come as pure extraits, it’s not really a Cologne at all! Come to think about it, it performs wonderfully in summer, if you like your gin&tonic fizzy, and on rocks! The collection features different styles of perfumes, from salty-aquatic (Sea Foam) to rose-oud (Sensual Oud), with fine, minimalistic, and original artwork, and clean-cut presentation and packaging.
The Joker might be the most dramatic, frightening, and controversial villain character of all times, but instead of expectations, let’s talk about this interpretation and the way I see its concept and context: what if you took one element out of the whole The Joker imagery, the complex story about disturbingly blurred lines of good and evil, what if you made it very contemporary (just take a better look at the world we are currently living in, The Joker himself would laugh and cry at the same time at all of this we are facing), and what if, instead of focusing on evil, threatening and disturbing elements, you highlighted empathy, and the bitterness when the deepest possible human desire to be seen, heard and able to connect – is unmet?
What about the Zeitgeist we’re living in? Our own reality, hidden behind masks? Provocation doesn’t necessarily need to scream. And sometimes it can’t, especially if it’s wearing a mask…
Le Joker opens with a burst of contradiction: simultaneously dark and bright peppery tones that feel lemony and spicy, almost as if some ginger was added. This crisp, determined introduction slowly moves into another direction: dust of soft powder slowly falls all over these sharp notes, smoothing them out. It performs in a very dry manner on my skin, with a smooth-powdery feeling that is gentle and cosmetic-clean, reminding me of the white mask The Joker applies on his face.
This balsamic bitter-sweet powder, later on, begins to feel softer around the edges, a bit sweeter and woodier, but still flowing very smoothly. In time, the fragrance shifts again, towards a more woody-earthy impression. Towards the dry down the salty vibe becomes stronger and stronger: the kind of an Ambroxan? infused, a woody-salty impression that feels oceanic, bitter-dry, and just distantly smoky.
Le Joker is full of different facets, dark and light, soft and sharp, shapeshifting, and smooth at the same time. I tested and wore it in very high temperatures, and it performed smoothly, staying quite skin-close.
Le Joker is available at the Art du Parfum website, as 50 ml extrait, or as 10 ml refillable Travel Size. Test before you buy!
Notes (as listed by the brand): Pink Pepper, Timur Pepper, Elemi, Star Anise, Nutmeg, Atlas Cedarwood, Cypriol, Patchouli. TPG Note: Art de Parfum prefers not to disclose the perfumer.
The Plum Girl
Photos: Art du Parfum, The Plum Girl
Disclaimer: All samples mentioned including a 10 ml travel size bottle were provided by Art du Parfum for my consideration.