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.