Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

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.

  • mi-cuit says:

    It does sound generic. and honestly, the only bond worth the price is chinatown. less so now that fendi palazzo smells so similar.

    In other news, i got my very first bell jar today. muscs koublai khan. it’s true love. eternal commitment. the works. included was a sample of miel de bois so i’ll finally see what the fuss is about. i thought the posse would appreciate what a big occasion this is for me :d

    • March says:

      Hey, congratulations! <:-p Your first bell jar is a big, big deal. And that's certainly an excellent fragrance to start with! Miel de Bois is a riot (hasn't it been discontinued?) Don't feel the need to overapply. I think I did a review of it and other honey scents on here called Satan's Beehive, if you search for it.

      • Gretchen says:

        Satan’s Beehive! Somebody needs to create a perfume with THAT name.

        • March says:

          Lutens did … wait, isn’t that what Miel de Bois means in English? 8-|

          • mi-cuit says:

            Miel de bois has been discontinued from all accounts i’ve heard, which is why i’m so pleasantly surprised with the sample (haven’t tried it yet, concentrating on MKK, which is a light, clean skin scent on me… where’s the camel??). I wish they’d at least keep it in the paris line instead of discontinuing it altogether.

          • mi-cuit says:

            oh, and Satan’s beehive… HILARIOUS march!

  • Melissa says:

    I’m hoping that the juice smells great on my son, because I NEED that bottle in my house. He brings out the best in a number of Bonds, including Bleecker Street, New Haarlem and Silver Factor. The only one that I consistently wear is Silver Factory, although I do like New Haarlem on occasion.

    As for iris? I’m waiting to grow tired of it, but so far, not yet. Well, I guess it depends on the iris. Boring, doughy, unilinear iris? No thanks. But hide it along side a group of other interesting and/or unlikely notes and I’m still game.

    • March says:

      New Haarlem is great. Then again, I love coffee scents. I’m a total coffee slut. You could put Kahlua in an atomizer and i’d probably wear it. :”>

      So I hope this one works out for your son!

  • Olfacta says:

    …well I meant to say “so last year” but I guess I used the wrong tag or something; one of these days I’m going to have to figure that out.:)

  • Olfacta says:

    Well, I love the bottle. Reminds me of a subway train. Graffiti art is controversial anywhere — some would smack me silly for calling it “art,” but it can be, IMHO (duck & cover).

    I hear you on the iris. Over the weekend I sampled an iris-based fragrance and caught myself thinking “Gawd, that’s Heh.

    • March says:

      I can see both sides of it. On the one hand, it IS cool looking. OTOH if it’s attached to a crime wave, or on your property, it’s a drag.

  • Louise says:

    Ach, I’ve about given up on the Bonds. New Haarlem is nice on others, and my son can totally rock Silver Factory, but on me…nononono…none 🙁 I do want to find an empty bottle, they’re so cool!

    • March says:

      You know what’s surprised me? All the love Lexington Avenue is getting. That was on a lot of commenters’ lists of 2008 favorites. I wonder how the sales are doing? I liked it a lot as well.

    • Divalano says:

      I can’t wear any of them either. At all. For a fleeting moment I thought perhaps Chinatown but then no … not that either. And since I’m on a paring down clutter mission lately, no pretty bottles either 😉

  • The guy next to you smelling of “Hummer”… was that a reference to the Hummer fragrance, or you know… the “act”?? 😉

    • March says:

      I’d prefer the latter but was thinking of the former. I’m pleased to see it’s disappeared from our local Sephora. Fewer potential victims.

      • Musette says:

        I haven’t smelled ‘Hummer’, at least not knowingly, but the ‘next to you for 19 hrs’ reference forcibly reminded me of the old Pierre Cardin days – remember that one? It always smelled like Raid to me and a good pal wore way too much of it. Driving to St. Louis with him one time, in summer, with him awash in PC. Betcha there wasn’t a cockroach left alive for miles! I always imagined them dropping like flies as we passed through inhabited parts of IL.

        Brooklyn sounds like a blessing compared to that!


  • ~katie says:

    Thanks for the review! I, too, love the bottle and find the juice nice enough. Wish it was worthy of the splurge, but if I’m saving my pennies for Nasamotto’s Duro. No mistaking the leather in that juice!

  • the_nose says:

    Another monumentally yawn-worthy fragrance from Bond no.9. LR, thanks for honoring such a great borough with a terribly generic juice !

    • March says:

      Well, they really tried to make up for it in the press release, but most people aren’t going to see those two full pages, are they? I admit I was a little surprised they did a masculine for their foray, although I can’t offer a good reason why I feel that way. They could always do another add-on for the area. My vote goes for DUMBO. I’m dying for a fragrance called DUMBO.

      • Francesca says:

        LOL on DUMBO.

        Brooklyn has some of the most gorgeous areas in all of NYC (and I’m a hardcore Manhattanite), but people objecting the the graffiti bottle (which I think is great!)should get a leetle sense of humor.

        My only experience with Bond was going into their shop and almost immediately running out again from frag overload/incipient headache. But I’d chance it again to see what this one’s like. Grapefruit? Check. Cardamom? Check.

        • March says:

          I would put this on the lighter side for Bond, and I think you might quite like it.

          Happy New Year, by the way, hon! >:d<

  • Robin says:


    So, will I like it? It sounds like something I’d like.

    • March says:

      Gazing in my crystal ball… yes, but not as much as Hinoki. How much did you like Mandragore? I can’t remember. This wears light enough that I’d almost shove it in the citrus/woody cologne direction.