In general, I admire Bond No. 9 more for their bottles than their juice. I don´t really have a “favorite” Bond, and if the entire line ceased to exist tomorrow, I wouldn´t go into mourning. Do I like some of them? Well, sure. I went through an Eau de Noho phase, because I like linden, and I wear Chinatown occasionally (okay, if I had a favorite, I guess that´s it.) Anyway, I wasn´t expecting to love the Bond Andy Warhol Silver Factory, even though it has incense, one of my favorite notes. Warhol the man/myth/artist doesn’t do much for me to start with, and Silver Factory’s price point ($250ish for 100ml) does even less.
I was so wrong.
Silver Factory is not a trip to the church. There´s nothing austere or meditative about it. Incense is a great note to pick if you want to get in someone´s face, and I recall reading that Andy Warhol thought fragrance should take up plenty of space, call attention to itself and its wearer. So let´s randomly pick on Armani Prive Bois d´Encens for a second. You want to take up space? Put some of that on. The problem is, on the wrong day, BdE will work your last fricking nerve. Incense can be like that. It can be great, or like a lot of other sillage monsters (rose and tuberose spring to mind) it can kill you.
So, I am fascinated by the way incense is wielded in Silver Factory. You don´t smell it and go, incense. You don´t think, church or cathedral or kodo or whatever instant cultural or religious associations you might make with incense. You think ….. ooooooooh, coool. Silver Factory smells cool. It smells glittery and jittery and alive. It smells like something that could have been in the Malle Outrageous bottle, but (sadly) wasn´t. I have zero idea how Andy would have felt about it, but I´m totally in love.
It´s a weird scent. Notes are: bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, violet, incense, jasmine, iris, amber, woods. There´s something totally, deliberately synthetic-smelling about it — in a good way. It´s strong enough but not deadly, and it´s got excellent lasting power. The opening is this peculiar, wonderful mélange of lavender, citrus, violet and … rusted metal? Burnt car? Ziggy stardust? For the record, I am not a huge fan of lavender, and this is completely missing that high-pitched, aromatherapy-like note. The incense and iris show up next, and while the incense is a permanent fixture, that iris has a really interesting way of fading out and coming forward again, for hours, on its little metallic wheels. The jasmine and violet add a taste of sweetness without ever moving this into a “floral” realm – a man could wear this easily. The amber and woods round out the scent nicely, tempering the metallic freakiness without really making a masculine statement.
Silver Factory has an echo of the mesmerizing hum of Lutens´ Encens et Lavande and Armani Prive´s oddball Cuir Amethyste. But it isn´t really like either. It manages a certain degree of glitter-ball fabulosity, but you could still wear it to work, or school, or the grocery store, and not feel like you were running around in platform go-go boots. It’s a scent that manages to be both unusual and really wearable. My guess is it’ll sell like hotcakes, and deservedly so, although I do wonder how lovers of the Bond line will feel about it.
Is this one of the Greatest Scents Evah? No. After all, how many times can you make Mitsouko or Narcisse Noir? But it is a great scent, and it definitely deserves a place in any incense-lover´s wardrobe. Even people who don´t love incense might be interested in giving it a taste. Addendum: early comments below say: spray it on for full effect, rather than dabbing. I have mine in a teeny atomizer, and I concur. In fact, unless I find a scent really, really strong, spraying is the way to go.
PS — Be sure to stop back by on Wednesday and Friday for this month’s Holiday Scent Club, hosted by Lee and Patty!
image: still of Edie Sedgwick from Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory, 2007 (documentary), melbournefilmfestival.com.au