Factory Girl

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

  • MattS says:

    Damn. I can’t help it. I love Warhol. I love Edie. I love the whole Factory myth and even love the Studio 54 legend. I love violets and incense and I keep on waiting for my decant of this to arrive before I go ahead and say Merry Christmas to me and order a full bottle. Then you guys start talking Grace Jones and I’m lusting for this scent even more. It’s almost inevitable that this one is gonna disappoint me, I want it so badly.
    False eyelashes and crystals glued to your face…there’s the pictures you needed for this post.

    • March says:

      I was wondering where you were! I know you and I are in the early stages of our relationship :d but I have a hunch you are going to like this. Wait for your decant, though, please! Things can always go wrong on the skin, or maybe it disappears in 30 seconds, and you have a very expensive room spray…

  • Solander says:

    Bois d’Encens gets on your nerves? Wow. On me it just has no sillage or staying power whatsoever, it’s a nice but very subtle and fleeting peppery/incensey/woody scent. In fact, incenses in general don’t have much sillage on my skin. Staying power, perhaps, but sillage, naah. Except the really high-pitched and annoying ones I don’t like, like Kyoto, but I’m not sure it’s the incense note in that one.

    Silver Factory sure sounds interesting, despite my general dislike for cool scents!

    • March says:

      Bois d’Encens on a bad day is like some soothing piece of classical music (pick your favorite) playing in the background … playing and playing and playing, playing over and over and over and over, playing and playing and over and over and OVER and OVER until you want to stick your boot through the stereo.:-w

      On a good day I’d have paid $400 for it, no lie. But yeah, it is huge on me, one of those two-day scents. But scents in general cling to me (as I think you know, regular reader that you are). When the rare item has no lasting power, I am shocked.

  • Robin says:

    What I was thinking this morning is that we’ve got something like 11 more Andy Warhol scents to go (it was to be a total of 12, wasn’t it? or did I dream that?) and I don’t see how they’ll top this one. Unless they’ve taken on Aurelien Guichard for the whole line.

    • March says:

      holding my fingers in my ears going lalalalalala can’t hear you! :d Because thinking about 11 more Andy Warhol scents moves me DIRECTLY and RAPIDLY into Stage Five on the NST scale…

      • Robin says:

        Don’t worry, I was probably dreaming. I do know there are more coming. At least they’re not all being dumped on the market at once! I think the next one is supposed to launch in spring ’08.

  • sweetlife says:

    I have such a strong imagined scent in my head regarding the metal/incense/violet combo that it’s going to be very interesting to actually smell the real thing.

    You know, I’m living proof that a kind SA can make all the difference for a line. Early in my sniffery I went to a great place in Austin called The Blue Elephant and was shocked to see the Bond’s and many other fine things there. The SA was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about scents and very generously rounded up a bunch of Bond samples for me. I was so happy that it took me a long, long, time to realize I wasn’t actually that much of a Bond fan… /:)

    • March says:

      That is such a great story. A good SA who knows the line and knows how to sell (discreetly) can make all the difference in the world.

      I’m mulling a post about a similar experience I just had in L’Occitane. I mean, that woman was such a pro, we had the most interesting conversation. As it turns out, she travels from store to store doing SA training, and I can see why. I felt like buying a bunch of stuff in gratitude, you know?

      The SAs here annoy me with the Bonds because they have this … this whole it’s GREAT it’s PERFECT thing going with *all* of them, it feels very fake, like when you try on 10 skirts and they keep telling you how fab they are all.

  • sara says:

    Loved your review! I felt exactly the same way–I got a bon-bon in the mail Friday and was stunned by how much I like it. Made me want to listen to Grace Jones’s version of “Nightclubbing” as I spritzed (and yes, with this one you gotta spritz!) It’s that kind of a scent. It’s the olfactory version of false eyelashes and staying up way too late. Cheers, Sara

    • March says:

      Grace Jones and false eyelashes — egg-sactly! And you totally got me with Grace Jones, I should have stuck her photo in here …. sigh. Grace jones. Those were the days. Were we really that young?

  • Divalano says:

    Bond is one of those lines I’ve never been able to focus on. Or maybe that’s Creed? I can’t keep those 2 apart in my head. Maybe because there used to be a Creed store & now it’s a Bond store? Oh. But maybe it’s not Bond, but it used to be Creed & it’s on Bond Street. I think? Anyway, I can’t focus on either line & none of their scents call to me, this one included.

    And thank you for using “fabulosity” in print, it made me smile 😀

    • Divalano says:

      Oh yes, & I agree about the incense great/kill you dichotomy. I just got part of a split of Joseph Statkus, which I is one of the few incense scents I can wear. Sometimes. Deciding to wear it is always perfume roulette for me – some days it’s heaven, some days it does work that last olfactory nerve.

      • March says:

        Oh yeah, there’s another one I forgot about! That *will* kill you on the wrong day. Even Avignon can irritate me to the point of showering.

        Although, let’s play a game — how *do* you write that? Originally? Josefikus Statikevicious? Or some such … I am such a goober. Pretty soon I’m going to be calling it Joe Stat /:)

        Creed on Bond Street? Bond on Creed Street? They’re the star-shaped bottles. I like Bond better than Creed, only because the Creed base doesn’t particularly agree with me. But somehow, for as great as they might sound when you read the notes, I never quite fall in love. Silver Factory is a different kettle of fish, however, if you ever run across it.

  • Anne says:

    So here I am again, excitedly waiting for my Silver Factory sample to arrive from you-know-where. Now I have a smile inducing visual “that iris …., on its little metallic wheels” adding to my unreasonable impatience.

    I don’t know what it is about Bond and me. The notes and the bottles always draw me in siren-song like. I always have such high expectations and I am always let down.

    This one sounds way out of the box for Bond, not in notes or bottle design but in actual scent. Maybe, maybe this is the one!

    Thank you March for a great review!

    • Anne says:

      Oh, I almost forgot. Abigail, is that small crystals glued to your face a story you could share?

      • Abigail says:

        Oh hey, thanks for asking!

        It’s not a very interesting story, I just wanted to have really fabulous makeup, so I glue them on under my eye instead of eyeliner.

        Eyelash glue works great for that sort of thing.

    • March says:

      I stand there in front of those umpteen bottles, which btw I tend to knock over like Dominos, the Saks ladies LOVE that 😉 — and they all start blending into one giant, pleasant-smelling-but-dull cloud in my head. I don’t know that there’s a single one I *hate*, but neither is there one that I said, hang on a minute, let me get out my credit card…

  • Judith says:

    Can you believe I still haven’t tried this? I can’t! But after reading this, I certainly must! Thanks, I guess. . .:)

    • March says:

      Oh, hey — you are *so welcome*;) C’mon, you need some lemmings.

      This one I barely cared about. I am anxious to try those Amouages, and the Annick Goutal ones.:-w

  • marina says:

    I like this one too. Might be one of the most interesting Bond No 9s yet, along with Chinatown. Have a great week, March!

    • March says:

      Well, we like the same ones, then. I was really surprised by this. Chinatown — I think my decant is going off? The last time there was this harsh note I don’t remember.:(

  • Patty says:

    Agree totally on this one. Also concur that it should be spritzed to get the full weirdness. I just can’t think that dabbing would get you there.

    I, too, could care less about warhol or whatever, never followed, never cared, his 15 minutes, shall we say…. but I really love what Bond has done with this perfume.

    • March says:

      And I am thanking the Perfume Gods for those weeny teeny little atomizer vials. When I had to dump 1 or 2ml into a 5ml atomizer, that seemed such a waste (and often didn’t work). But those wee ones you use now are great!

      Totally agree this needs to be sprayed. And I was right about Unspoken ^:)^@};- hugs to you!

      • Patty says:

        Ahhh… we are getting a lot of perfume love here at the end of the year, after a lot of disappointments early on, which is pretty darn cool!!!!

        Good thing or I couldn’t get to 25 on my best of 2007 list!

  • Abigail says:

    Sparkling and weird?

    Is it sparkling like the time I glued small crystals to my face, or sparkling like a charming woman?

    • March says:

      Like the small crystals. You want honesty, don’t you? I mean, that’s part of why you read this blog?

      You need to remember, of course, that you are talking to the sort of woman who also glued small crystals to her face in an earlier life (I think it’d be a bit much now) and does not feel it was a fashion mistake. I have the *rest of my life* to dress in St. Johns knits, why start now?

      I would not say “charming.” I would say “quirky.” But to me, quirky *is* charming. :p

  • Louise says:

    I got very close to trying Silver Factory in NY this last weekend, but the SAs were so nasty I ran away with a paper sniff that faded quickly. And of course, wasn’t intrigued. But if you find it cool, weird, peculiar, freaky, unusual, and great and wearable, I must revisit. While I still love my room-clearing churchy incenses (hmmm, NK Incense today?), it might be time to expand.

    Love the little iris rolling in on metallic wheels image!

    • March says:

      Yeah, those great SAs and that fab customer service! Wow, they were working it, weren’t they?

      This is plenty strong enough for me, but somehow I am doubting whether it will be strong enough for you. I am looking forward to finding out, though. The smell itself I think you would like very much.

      • tmp00 says:

        Funny- they have gotten some seriously nice SA’s for the counter in Beverly Hills. I got my vial from the most charming woman…

        • Maria says:

          Tom, maybe the SAs are trained to mimic the affect of the city in which they work, so in NYC they’re rushed and rude and in LA they’re laid back and tell you all about their lives?

          Anyone else remember that New Yorker cartoon comparing New York and LA? In the NY half, somebody yells “F– you!” but thinks “Have a nice day!” and in the LA half it’s the reverse.

          • March says:

            That is HILARIOUS.

            FWIW I have spent very little time on the Left Coast, and have never been to El Lay, but I think NYC’s rudeness rep is vastly overstated. They have nothing on us here in D.C., that’s for sure.[-(

    • Maria says:

      It’s still churchy incense for me.

  • JuliaForsberg says:

    I managed to score a sample vial of this before it was released and right there and then I was the happiest girl on the block. However, dabbing Silver Factory is not the way to go. When dabbed it had little staying power on my skin and the notes seemed muted and very quiet. When I decanted what was left into a small atomizer… Wow! What a difference! When sprayed on skin it stays forever and the notes does indeed dance in and out of the composition. I really admire this perfume and I can’t wait to spritz some on my DH;)

    • March says:

      Hey, I added your comment regarding spraying to the original post up there, I think it’s an important point. I have now decided in my sample sniffage (which is a huge part of my sniffage) that I get more out of most scents if I spray them, no matter how much of the scent I might pour on my arm from a vial. Fortunately, those teeny weeny atomizers make spraying samples much easier.

      I bet it will smell great on DH!

  • Lee says:

    Like you, I don’t hold much reverence for, or interest in, Warhol and the Factory machine. Well, my interest is more about why he remains culturally significant than his stuff itself…

    Anyway, I need to smell this. I thought I’d gone off incense (aside from Encens et Lavande). Very recent sniffing tells me it’s churchy incense I’ve gone off, at least on my skin.

    • March says:

      Heh heh. I could add a couple other names to the Emperor’s New Art list…

      Churchy incense I loved for quite some time, and then I … didn’t. Yes, EetL is a perfect example of incense that is something else entirely.@};-

  • Gail S says:

    Oh, I’m seriously wanting to try this now! You mentioned one of my new favorites, Encens et Lavande! What I love about it is the simultaneously cool and hot vibe going on. Maybe this is similar? I have a small decant coming from TPC, hurry, hurry, hurry!!!!!

    • March says:

      EetL is a stunning, stunning thing. And in my top five SLs. Which always surprises me a bit because as I said, lavender is not my first love. If you love that, this might be of interest. It’s a lighter take, obviously, with some significant differences, but a fun twist on incense.

  • Maria says:

    Hey, March, do you know what my biggest problem with Armani BdE is? It vanishes quickly. Poof, it’s gone. Doesn’t come close to killing me. :d Wonder how it reacts with Louise?

    My two favorite Bond are (1) New Amsterdaam and (2) Chinatown. My DH seriously loves the first on himself, and I quite agree.

    • Maria says:

      Oops! Wrong Dutch city. New Haarlem, of course. See, I went to school in New York City, and actually there’s a connection between the two concepts (i.e., Amsterdam Avenue).

      I’m done with my excuses. I’m going to bed! :”>

      • March says:

        I like New Haarlem too, that’s the yummy coffee one, right? Unless it’s H.O.T. always … see, this is my problem, there are just so many and I can’t keep them straight!

    • Louise says:

      Dear Maria-yup, I kill off BdE, too! And turn it nasty before I slay it. Very sad. I bet your K smells good in the NY street one, though. Chinatown is just pleasant on me…and only lasts a little while, surprise!

    • March says:

      Okay, you two need to come visit NIH and have your skin studied by science. I actually own a bottle of BdE, but I have to go through this whole soul-searching, inner-seeking process before I spray it on, because it’s like getting permanent ink on my skin. I swear I can smell it for days. And I never put it on my clothes.

      Louise, eeeeewww, I don’t even want to imagine how Bde Gone Bad >:) might smell.

      • Maria says:

        Hey, I have a friend who works at NIH. Maybe she can get us into a study.

        New Haarlem is the coffee one. I prefer Ava Luxe Cafe Noir on me (and not just because she’s closed shop); it’s more sensual. New Haarlem is more masculine, we think. K does smell goood. 🙂

        • March says:

          Wah, don’t mention Ava Luxe!


          Nothing like taking something away from me to make me desperate for it. All those figs!

  • Elle says:

    Rusted metal? OK, must try. For some reason, that really appeals to me. I was put off by the grapefruit and lavender listed in the notes and I’m not much of a Bond fan to start w/, but now I’m seriously intrigued. I also rather enjoy full out synthetic scents from time to time (I’m one of the four people who actually really liked a few of the CdG Synthetic Series). And, of course, I’m a hard core incense fan. Yep, a bouncing baby lemming has just been born.

    • March says:

      CdG … now there is a line about which we can wax poetic, no? Leaves? Red? Incense? Of the synths, I think I liked Soda and Skai the best … the only one I didn’t like was the drycleaning one, I think. And I adore the original CdG, although I have to apply it very, very sparingly on the right day.

      I am still trying to forgive them for Play.:-w And I am not sure how I feel about the Luxe ones, either. What do you think?

      • March says:

        PS Sorry about the delay — I had to switch over to Explorer, for some reason I can’t get on here in Firefox today …

        wow, this looks really weird in Explorer…

      • Elle says:

        I like the Patch, but not nearly enough to shell out $285 ($165 I might have spent). I’m still just a bit bitter over Rei going the luxury scent route. Champaca went soapy on my skin – am *not* fond of soapy scents. But, objectively, I really don’t think they are worth the money. I think some luxe scents are – just not these two (which pains me to say because I’m a hardcore CdG fan).

  • tmp00 says:

    I just got a sample of this from Saks and I was sure that the saleslady said it was $190 for 100ML…

    • tmp00 says:

      Of course a quick check of the website shows that it’s $230. In any case I’ll be sniffing the samp she gave me tomorrow…

      • March says:

        If I remember right, this was supposed to be pricier than the regular Bonds. But since I wasn’t planning on buying one, and I don’t own any other Bonds, I’m not really sure where this falls. Maybe Patty or someone who actually knows will chime in, yeah, $230 is the price on the site.