I love the new, controversial Bond No. 9 Booklyn bottle – I think it´s total eye candy. Apparently some folks object to the idea of Brooklyn being represented by graffiti, but I’m under the impression that at least parts of Brooklyn are now so lousy with Bugaboo-pushing trustafarians that a little graffiti symbolism would be welcomed with (artfully tattooed) open arms as either warm nostalgia or a burst of street credibility. But what do I know? I´ve been to Brooklyn twice – once to visit Christopher Brosius and once when I got on the wrong train — so let´s move on to the fragrance.
Actually, let´s take a slight detour to commend the accompanying press kit, written in a style that doesn´t make me want to smack my head on my desk or wet myself laughing. If you do not waste your daily hours reading such things, this is more surprising than you´d think. A warm, friendly shout-out to the person tasked with taking Bond´s “vision” of Brooklyn and writing an informative, reasonably clever marketing piece that doesn’t make me suffer for my art.
So. How is Bond Brooklyn? Well… the notes are grapefruit, cardamom, cypress-wood, geranium leaves, juniper berries, cedarwood, leather, and guaiacwood. This would lead you to suspect, correctly, that the fragrance is “unisex with a desirably masculine attitude,” in the words of the press release.
Brooklyn opens with a big squeeze of slightly sweet grapefruit accompanied by the cardamom, and it´s a lovely, bright combination. The pungent-woody cypress and juniper follow right behind, for a twist of gin martini. Then there´s a stretch of a few minutes so quiet that I´m wondering whether I´m partly anosmic to the fragrance, but it´s pleasant enough. The grapefruit hangs around for a surprising length of time given its usual short-lived volatility. When the geranium appears, midway though the development, the fragrance is at its most traditionally “masculine.” This verdant, damp, aggressive herbaceousness is my least favorite part on me but I suspect probably the most interesting for a lot of men.
The leather, when it arrives, doesn´t read as leather at all to my nose. Combined with the guaiac in the drydown it fills the spot where the florals would have gone in this fragrance, providing a sweet counterpoint to the woods and green notes. Anyone looking for a big dose of leather is not going to find it here.
The drydown is unisex, mildly sweet, woody and dry, the way CdG Hinoki and Sel de Vetiver are dry. It´s not camphor-y or quirky like Hinoki, and it strikes me as eminently wearable without inducing a killing boredom. The scent didn´t stay big on me for long, maybe an hour before it faded into a very quiet guaiac-tinged woodsy skin scent, so I´ll be interested to hear how other people find the lasting power. On the other hand, better that than the guy next to you reeking of Hummer for 19 hours, so I can think of worse things to say about a fragrance.
I acknowledge that, unlike the guys on, say, POL or Basenotes, I´m not intimately familiar with every men´s-aisle fragrance out there. Based on the notes, Brooklyn isn´t striking male bloggers/commenters as breaking new ground, and hey – maybe cardamom IS the current cliché in men´s fragrance. However, as I joked recently, it´s a cliché I happen to like very much. Brooklyn does me the great favor of assiduously avoiding two other men´s clichés – fresh/aquatic, which I loathe, and iris, which (sorry) at this point is so ubiquitous it´s beginning to wear out its welcome in my nose, and I never thought I´d write that.
I know gender-assignment irritates some perfume people, but I think it can be useful as a tool in discussion. So. While this is most obviously a men´s scent, I would actually endorse this as a more interesting fragrance for the ladies, somewhere along the lines of Annick Goutal Mandragore. I also think it would be refreshing in the summer heat.
Brooklyn is supposed to debut in March (which in my neck of the woods generally means late February, how about you?) and costs $220 for 100ml, $145 for 50ml, which seems to price out slightly higher than the average Bond, if I´m interpreting the pricing at Saks online correctly.