One Thousand Scents

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dis Guy's Disguise: Bond No. 9 Bleecker Street

Although this is the first I've heard of it, Bond No. 9 does a shiny, showoffy, Swarovski-studded bottle on occasion; last Mother's Day they produced three bottles in bright pastels and a line of purse sprays (you can see them at The Scented Salamander). They have five more for Christmas, and wouldn't you like to have a look at them?

Here's their limited-issue bottle for Bleecker Street

and I think we can all agree, can't we, that's it's completely over the top and not particularly concerned with good taste, what with that giant paste jewel in the middle and everything? Okay, then. I love the insane combination of acidic green and violet, but the shinies aren't working for me, especially at $395, double-especially with the exchange rate between the Canadian and American dollars being what it is.

These next three, however, are, I hate to admit, actually kind of pretty

in a teenagey, I-blinged-out-my-cell-phone kind of way. (They each have 5000 tiny rhinestones and vend for $650. Each.) The bottles hold Chelsea Flowers, Eau de New York, and Chinatown, respectively, and since I haven't tried any of those scents, I can't tell you a thing about them, except that Chinatown is regularly cited as the best Bond No. 9 ever.

And finally, for people with a whole lotta money, this.

Click on the picture to see it in all its shiny detailed glory. It's an amphora, a drammer, that contains forty-two ounces of whatever Bond No. 9 scent you want them to pour into it, and it costs $3500. As the Bond people put it, it's "breathtakingly covered with 16,500 hand-applied platinum Swarovski stones" and "comes in a white patent leather gift case, also adorned with crystals", and while I should probably be thoroughly ashamed to admit it, if I had a massive quantity of cash, I would buy one of these right now (filled with New Haarlem). I can't help it. I'm part raven and I like shiny things, and those platinum Swarovski stones are remarkably subdued (I mean, relatively, compared to the other bottles). And I would keep a supply of little spray vials, and every time someone came over, I'd dram them out some. What fun!


After seeing the Bleecker Street bottle, I figured I ought to give it a sniff. The original bottle looks like this

which I actually love; the combination of violet and all those sizzling greens is just fun as hell. The company is positioning the scent as a "woody gourmand oriental", and once again, as with their Lexington Avenue, I'm forced to say, "No, it isn't. What are you talking about?" The description of the scent in their publicity materials bears, quite literally, no resemblance to what's in the bottle. Bleecker Street is supposedly made up of

1) vanilla (our salute to Magnolia Bakery, next door), the pastry essential that's also famed for its aphrodisiac powers; b) the latest edible notes--cassis, caramel, cinnamon, and thyme; c) aromatic woods that prolong the more delicate food flavors; d) must, for warmth and sensuality; e) patchouli, another fabled aphrodisiac, poured in, like gin, to balance the mélange of sweet flavors. Result? A not-too-heavy day-into-evening fragrance with overtones of seduction and dessert.

Good luck matching that with the fragrance. There may be food elements to this, as there are in most fragrances these days, but it's a men's fougère scent, plain and simple, and a very good one. It's marketed as a unisex scent, but it's obviously patterned after men's fragrances, without a single element that would detract from this classification. Go read the reviews on Makeup Alley, which all say the same thing: "It smells like something for men," "I bought it for myself but my husband snagged it," "It smells better on my boyfriend than on me".

In fact, I'm not going to break it down much further than that. If you like fougère fragrances such as Grey Flannel, Eternity for Men, Green Irish Tweed, Drakkar Noir, Cool Water, or any of a hundred other masculine scents, but without that toxic artificial-fresh-ozonic quality that seems to infect all the newest ones; if you're a woman who regularly wears men's fragrances; if you want something that will last twelve hours on your skin (I could still smell it yesterday after fourteen-plus), then Bleecker Street is worth a try.



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