Number of fragrances: 1
In 2013 Jay-Z and Barneys announced that they would be collaborating together on a store activation, called “A New York Holiday,” that ran from Black Friday to the top of January. It featured limited edition product from Rick Owens, Moncler, Balenciaga, and Proenza Schouler that were created with Jay-Z. At this point Jay Z was in his “Magna Carta Holy Grail” era and sharing his interest in art with the world—even performing for six hours at New York’s Pace Gallery to promote the album. So it made sense that Jay Z and Barneys named their space the BNY SCC Gallery (an abbreviation for Barneys New York and Shawn Corey Carter), and it made even more sense that the aligned this space with the launch of his first fragrance, which was called Gold, which according to WWD retailed for $39 for the 30-millimeter bottle, $55 for 50-millimeter bottle, and $70 for 90-millimeter bottle.
The Gold fragrance was exclusively released at Barneys on November 20, 2013 and produced by Parlux, a brand that manufactured and produced fragrances for stars ranging from Rihanna to Andy Roddick. It was positioned as an elevated cologne made by Firmenich perfumer Ilias Ermenidis, who concocted fragrances for brands like Gucci, Calvin Klein and Givenchy. The fragrance was a white fougere scent with top notes of yellow ginger, white cardamom, and grapefruit sprinkled with a touch of blueberry, lavender, pink pepper, along with bottom notes of golden amber, patchouli, teak and bourbon vanilla. It came in a sleek white bottle inscribed with “Gold,” and a matte gold box with a gold leaf effect. The launch included an extensive rollout plan that started at Barneys and then was distributed to retailers including Sephora, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Belk, Bon-Ton, Ulta, and Macy’s, which covered its Herald Square flagship with an interactive window display that transformed your reflection into a gold avatar. Industry sources told WWD the fragrance was projected to generate $20 million in retail sales for the last couple months of 2013 and $35 million in 2014. Whether it generated that is unclear. In 2018 Parlux sued Jay Z for failing to promote the fragrance—they say he didn’t post it on his social media and avoided TV appearances to push the product, therefore they sought out more than $20 million in damages. Jay Z and his team appealed, citing touring obligations and “an unprecedented attempt to perform a full-scale audit on every aspect of Mr. Carter’s business and personal life…a tactical pressure point to seek personal information about a well-known celebrity.” The case still seems to be open, but you can purchase bottles of Gold on Walmart.com for $262, along with a deodorant that retails for $9.99. That was Jay Z’s first and last fragrance.—Aria Hughes