Will this new perfume from an emerging French house live up to its name, or instead of it being ultra hot will it just be a damp squib?
More than just notes, we can give you at least some of the ingredients with this one, which are listed on the brand’s website: Frankincense 10%, Leather accord (orris absolute) 5%, Elemi 5%, Habanolide 15%, Astrotone 20%, Safraleine 1%, amber accord 9%, Bourbon vanilla extract 5%, Iso-e-Super 20%, Atlas cedarwood 5%, Muscenone 5%.
Ultrahot by JUS is one of those fragrances that it is quite easy to miss. A quick sniff on a blotter and it feels like something that has been done before, very forgettable, and a little underpowered. Which is very much the place we were at with this scent a couple of weeks ago. It seemed as if our sample of Ultrahot would languish at the bottom of the pile until it went off.
Then coronavirus happened, and we had a lot more time to spend with the discarded scents, the ones that don’t immediately excite, and suddenly this little gem of a scent found itself being worn, and then worn again and now we can’t get enough of it! What a joy to find something you had previously thought was mediocre is in fact rather fascinating – the most enduring loves can often be born that way.
Ultrahot does open in rather a muted fashion. Spray it on your skin and you get a mix of a little wood, a little incense-smoke, a little amber. You need to give it a few minutes to open up though, and the ingredients then fall into place. All part of a rather delicate jigsaw.
Once the scent has properly settled, the first thing you will notice is the rise of a sweet plume of white smoke. It is delicate, like incense being burned at the far end of a church. The perfumer has hit that beautiful place where the scent makes you crave a bigger hit of it, but instead of delivering that, they have held back, which just makes you want it more! It’s such a pleasurable experience when a perfume doesn’t just overwhelm you with a ton of the good stuff, and instead makes you wait and work for it a bit.
As the fragrance really hits its stride, a leatheriness becomes noticeable. Although this is not overpowering, it really adds to the addictive nature of the scent. The leather is soft and buttery, at times so buttery that you forget the leather and concentrate on the butter, which is very pleasant in it’s own way. This part of Ultrahot has the the sort of vibe that you just want to abandon yourself to and delight in fully.
What struck us as clever about Ultrahot is the amount of space the perfumer has left in the composition. It very much feels like each individual facet of the scent, whether that be the leather, the smoke, the metal or the sparks that ping between them all, has space to breathe and expand or contract as the fragrance moves and wears. One must be confident to not fill the available space with things to catch and delight the nose, and this confidence is really evident in this charismatic scent. The fragrance isn’t perfect, but there is something about this space which allows you room to love it despite the imperfections, or perhaps even because of them, and in that way it becomes a very unexpectedly intimate and sexy scent indeed.
Under the sweet incense smoke, a metallic tone lives and this has to be one of our favourite things about this scent. Metal notes can be really hard to do well, but here it feeds the want for the fragrance, the need for it, that grows the more you wear this.
People familiar with allotment gardening may know of the existence of small-scale braziers. Modern ones are shaped like dustbins but made out of aluminium and have rows of holes punched into the sides, towards the bottom of the ‘can’ shape. The gardener fills them with cuttings and then sets a fire in the base. Smoke pours out the lid, which is shaped into a small chimney.
When you burn cuttings in a brazier, the metal of the bin heats up, sparks often leap from the top, and the smoke which comes from burning small sticks, cuttings and the like is fragrant and white, savoury and herbal. This is exactly the sort of effect that Ultrahot produces. It is hot, it is a fire, but it is also fragrant, delicate and really fascinating. It’s a bit like the day after you’ve had a bonfire like this in the garden, when you can smell the traces on your clothes and in your hair but it is faint now, almost neutralised but not quite.
There is nothing acrid in this smoke, it is really pure, soft almost, and pillowy. A well-amalgamated vein of sweetness ties the leather, the smoke and the metal together. Somehow JUS have created a fragrance which is subtle yet deeply addictive and it keeps us going back to it time and time again to press wrist to face and inhale deeply. That in itself is a very simple and yet reliable mark of a good scent.
The other stuff
Ultrahot is a relatively modest and subtle scent, which will doubtless leave some people feeling that it is underpowered, especially for the price point. This is something you will have to decide for yourself if you can live with or not. It divides us here at The Sniff, between wanting more from the fragrance, but understanding it would not have all that beautiful, enticing space if it were punchier.
The longevity of Ultrahot is around 3-4 hours following an application, which backs up the subtle feeling. The sillage of the fragrance is also fairly limited. It seems to project to hugging distance or just beyond.
In terms of the gender of this fragrance, it feels to us as if it leans slightly more towards the masculine side of the spectrum, but that was only slightly, and in reality anyone could wear this who takes a fancy to it.
The presentation of the JUS range is beautiful and well worth a mention. Glorious, tactile bottles are coated in vibrant paints so that they look and feel a little like they are wearing neon wetsuits. They really compliment the youthful and exciting feel of the brand, whilst retaining that luxury element as well.
Funky, fresh and modern, the JUS brand has bounced onto the fragrance scene with an attractive and unique blend of the retro and the modern. The brand uses a lot of pop art on their website, and the whole presentation feels just a little funky and rebellious. JUS stands for Joyau, Unique and Sensoriel and isn’t to be confused with Jusbox which is another brand entirely.
JUS perfumes are bottled and produced entirely in France, something which the brand is rightly very proud about. Their gloriously coloured bottles are designed to be refillable too, which is a nice touch and an attempt to reduce waste.
JUS describe their fragrances as ‘open source’ meaning that they list the ingredients their scents contain and don’t keep their formulas as tightly guarded secrets like the majority of brands do. They aren’t the only brand we have seen do this in recent years though, Perfume Sucks do this as well.
We were very kindly given a sample of Ultrahot by Bloom, and we thank them for their kindness.