Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue

In spite of thinking several of the Bond No. 9 scents are nicely done, I´ve never felt moved to buy one.  My favorite is Chinatown, but I finally gave my decant away because it just doesn´t wear right on me – there´s some note in the drydown I find shrill and annoying on my skin, like a friend at a party who is no longer as amusing as the evening wears on.

Bond’s first in the Warhol series, Silver Factory, is really, really nice, and if Bond gave me a bottle (hah!) I´d probably wear it, but my heart belongs to several other incenses.  The second Warhol is some fresh-floral thing with a name I can´t even remember.  Given the good reviews for the third Warhol scent, Lexington Avenue, I thought I should give it a try.  I find the notes particularly intriguing — blue cypress, fennel, cardamom, pink peony, iris, crà¨me brà»lée, pimento berry, patchouli and sandalwood.  I think this thing is pegged by Bond as a floral chypre, but I´d call it a woody gourmand.

So here´s the humorous reveal – the first time I sprayed it on, I inhaled deeply and thought:  Serge Noire!   It bears a passing resemblance to the new Serge while feeling less … French?  Like if Estee Lauder made Serge Noire?  And I don´t mean that as a criticism – it´s more full-bodied and less subtle, if you will, while still being completely engaging.  I get a hint of delightful sweatiness, resin-y incense, and lightly spiced woods. (The typically vague notes for Serge Noire are patchouli, cinnamon, amber and dark woods.)  I would love to hear comments from anyone else who has tried both whether I am out of my mind?   The Lexington Avenue is more opaque, and smoother.  The fennel is pretty subtle and adds to the soft spiciness, and the florals seem really abstract.

As I was writing the review´s first draft in my head, suggesting this as an easier-to-get alternative to the Serge, there was an amusingly rapid shift to a gourmand – the quite distinct Part B of the scent.  This could be really jarring, but it isn´t – the sweet creaminess in the woods of the first part and the spices carry over to the gourmand part, making the transition interesting and charming rather than unnerving.  It´s the crà¨me-brulee phase I´d see a man having a bit more trouble carrying off, but in my general experience men tend to “butch” fragrances up on their skin, and anyway, I´m the woman who thinks all men should try wearing Fracas and Datura Noir for a change of pace.

When the transition is done, the drydown of Lexington Avenue ends up being strongly reminiscent of – wait for it – CB Musk on me, the sweet ambery warmth rather than the dirty bits, as if I were smelling CB musk layered with something like Sushi Imperiale or Organza Indecence.  There´s a vanillic, spicy sweetness still tempered enough by the woods to maintain a plausible unisex vibe.  Great timing on the release, too – a this would be a perfect fall scent.

I find myself wanting a bottle of this.  A lot.

  • Tommasina says:

    Well, OK, I really *am* crazy, or else my chemistry is: I just got a decant of LA in a swap (thanks to Gail’s daughter, in fact!), and – are you ready – it’s just like EL SENSUOUS on me. No, really.


    • March says:

      I could totally see that. I am partly anosmic to Sensuous, but I think it’s some of the same stretch of road — spicy woods with a slight gourmand touch. To me Lex Ave is more complicated (I find Sensuous totally without development).

  • Tara says:

    I tried this and loved it immediately. Incensey, a bit like Chinatown, but much easier to wear. The creme brulee note was a bit alarming, but fortunately it didn’t last long. Serge Noire on the other hand was pure cumin/BO on me, nothing like Lex Ave.

    • March says:

      Isn’t that funny? I consider myself the BO magnifier, but clearly I have nothing compared to some people. Or maybe I just really, really like that smell. :”>

  • Robin says:

    Wow, very suprised — at the comparison to SN, and that you want this one most of all the Bonds. Will pull out the samples of SN & LA and try them together tonight.

    • March says:

      I would love to hear what you think! The polite consensus seems to be that I’m crazy. 🙂

      • Robin says:

        Wow. I (politely) thought you were crazy until I put them on. Then I still thought you were crazy for a few seconds. Then…hey, good call, and “like if Estee Lauder made Serge Noire” is exactly right.

    • March says:

      PS I think this is one of those cases where I ate most the sweet off the scent. I would have hated anything that reeked of creme brulee. /:)

  • Kathy says:

    I don’t think you’re out of your mind, but I don’t think Serge Noir and Lex Ave smell anything alike. Serge kinda reminded me a bit of DK Chaos (until I sprayed Chaos on my other wrist, that is).

    • March says:

      Aha!!! And people are saying the Chaoses (Chaosix? Chaocises??) smell pretty much the same, you are disagreeing? I have yet to try the new one.

      That was a very nice way to tell me I’m wrong, btw. 😡

  • MJ says:

    I’ve gotten back into perfume in the last year, and have tried a number of things – the only one I really, really don’t like (to the point of considering throwing the sample across the room) was Chinatown. It comes off on me as incredibly cloying, like one of those Chinese glazed meats loaded with Red Dye No 2 and sticky malt syrup. Frankly, gross and a scrubber on me. Since it is supposed to be their crowning achievement, I have not been interested in sniffing into Bond further.

    • March says:

      Someone on the blogs recently joked about negative-perfume styles, e.g., if you don’t like X, you’ll REALLY hate Y! So I’m thinking, if you hate Chinatown that much, this would be marginally less repulsive. :)>- 😉

  • Louise says:

    I must give this Bond another chance. So far, I’m batting zero with the line-though my son truly rocks Silve Factory, which just shrivels up and dies on me.

    I had a tiny spritz of Lexington in NYC a few weeks ago-but the Saks SA was incredibly nasty, and I was fuming too hard to really give the sprayed spot a fair chance o->

    But if you say so, babe, I’ll get me down to our local Saks, and huff it good…8-|

    • March says:

      Minor side rant — there’s this one SA at the Saks here who is REALLY aggressive (she must not recognize me yet as that woman who comes in frequently but never buys anything, heh heh) and interestingly to me, she is always pushing the Bond line as “so EXCLUSIVE.” And … well, not really. I mean, they’re easier to find and less expensive than some of the other stuff sitting there. I keep wanting to suggest another angle that better matches the bottles, like artistic or edgy or fashion-forward or what have you. Not that I’ll buy a bottle. /:)

      • Melissa says:

        I have a new strategy with the aggressive SAs. I start pulling decants out of my purse and spraying back. :d

        Well, that’s just a fantasy, but a good one.

      • mharvey816 says:

        If it’s the Bond SA at the Tysons Saks, I am more than familiar with her antics myself. Not just the whole “exclusive!” crap (including trying to insist that you can’t get them anywhere *except* Saks) but the constant, uninterrupted intrusions into my personal space. I really wish that the Tysons Saks didn’t have the Bonds in the same “fragrance nook” as everything else that isn’t at a cosmetic counter, because it acts as a firewall to keep me from venturing further. I have actually been known to dive in that corner sideways from the left side of the store entrance, hoping that I don’t knock over any of the closely spaced display tables between me and my quarry. *sigh*

        • Louise says:

          Oh, nooooooo 😮 Her clone is at Chevy Chase, too >:p

        • March says:

          Interestingly, the folks at Saks Tysons totally ignore me, like I’m contaminated. (I hate the fragrance nook too). I take more heat from the SAs at Neiman, who are really trying to

  • Elle says:

    Was reading your post and canine child was giving me odd looks since I kept nodding my head and mumbling “yes” in agreement. This is the very first Bond I believe I can actually commit to – have had serious flirtations in the past, but they’ve faded w/ time. I think that for me it’s the double hit of pimento berries and cardamom. I am powerless against those two notes together.

    • March says:

      Ah, yes, the serious flirtation that fades with time! The reason I love my samples and decants! I so very seldom manage to work my way through a decant, my general rule before buying a bottle (if I can get a decant). I could definitely see Lex Ave getting some play this winter. Unlike many (most? almost all?) people, I am not wildly in love with the Bond bottles. And they fall over like Dominos at Saks.

  • violetnoir says:

    Yep, I’m with ya, babe. I bought a bottle unsniffed just based on the notes and a few favorable reviews that I read, and I love it so much more than Chinatown, which was a bit too harsh on me.

    But, I hear the Chinatown body cream is wonderful…


    • March says:

      I’ve never tried the Chinatown body cream. I bet it’s delish… the same strategy works for Black Cashmere, the lotion is delightful. (Although I don’t know/can’t remember if they redid the ancillary DK stuff for the re-release?)

      I was surprised to be so delighted by Lexington Ave, I thought it would be too sweet. Cream brulee is not at the top of my list of notes I want in a fragrance. 😉

  • Denise S. says:

    I didn’t like Serge Noire too much heavy amber and loud spices for me.But this weekend I broke down and brought a bottle of Silver Factory since my daughter said everytime we come in here(Saks) Mom
    you spray that perfume why don’t you just buy it? So I did and we both sampled Lexington Ave and liked it.Smells fruity fresh and sweet to me.The SA gave us each a sample,I could love a bottle of this too!

    • March says:

      Denise, I think that is a perfect way to buy a bottle of something! If you reach for the same darn thing every time you enter a store, that’s a sign you are ready to make a commitment. :)>- And Silver Factory really is beautifully done.

  • Gail S says:

    My daughter came home from a trip with a big bottle of Lexington Avenue. I’ve read several comparisons to Chinatown and I would agree with them in that it doesn’t work on me any better than Chinatown :-& I think it’s the particular combination of patchouli and sandalwood in both of them that overpowers everything else in the universe, LOL! I haven’t tried Serge Noire and it doesn’t sound like something that will smell particularly good on me. Probably won’t stop me from trying it when I get the chance though!

    • March says:

      Yeah, what is the deal with that? I think a lot of people would agree that Chinatown is one of their best scents in terms of artistic accomplishment, but it can be some pretty rough road on the skin, depending. Sandalwood in particular can get on my nerves, along with cedar. It’s like wearing Vap-O-Rub or something, I become hyper-aware of the smell and then it’s obnoxious.

      So I’d be curious whether you had the same reaction to Noire. They were both reasonably restrained on me.