I don’t recall why Chinatown popped into my head recently. I don’t own it and my treasured sample is long gone. But it did. So, we’ll go down that rabbit hole today.
Bond No 9 as a perfume house had a very big moment more than a decade ago. I recall it launching a few things and then just exploding … so many perfumes. And the Swarovski crystal thing. Plus, there was a collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts regarding which the licensing agreement ended in 2013.
The house launched in 2003 with 16 “neighborhood” fragrances. The original shop is at number 9 Bond Street in the NoHo area (north of Houston Street) of New York City. Per Wiki, in 2013, Bond had 60 scents. Here, you can get the products at Harrods in London.
Bond is not a house I’m really familiar with or love. Some years ago, I did a sampling trip to Harrods with a friend and we did some Bonds but nothing stuck in my mind.
I don’t remember how I ended up with a sample of Chinatown – maybe from a fellow perfumista during the height of swapping on the Makeup Alley fragrance board. In any case I did.
I adore Chinatown and totally agree with Turin and Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide that it is a masterpiece. I guess it’s nice for a perfume house when they produce at least one thing that is truly brilliant.
Fragrantica calls Chinatown an Oriental Floral. It is just so much more than that and is among those fragrances regarding which the notes list is just that, a list, which doesn’t give a real sense of what happens when this hits the skin. (Notes: peach blossom, bergamot, tuberose, gardenia, peony, orange blossom, cardamon, vanilla, sandalwood, guaiac wood, patchouli and Virginia cedar. Launched in 2005, the nose was Aurelien Guichard.)
There’s a comment that stood out for me on trying this in The Guide from Luca Turin which said something to the effect of it having a weird aspect like the place in a French corner grocery where the floor wax meets the peaches. It was certainly a big, lush, fruity floral on me (among the very best of that genre), but to my joy I got that weird almost medicinal aspect of things. I can imagine getting something like that from the small groceries in NY’s Chinatown – maybe not the exact same thing but certainly fruit and idiosyncratic items wafting together.
I can’t imagine buying a bottle of Chinatown (Bond stuff is just way too expensive and I don’t want a full bottle) but I wish you could find the smaller sized ‘bonbons’ here (maybe you can on eBay, but I haven’t been near eBay in years). I would definitely love to be able to smell this again and wear it every once in a while.
What about you? Is Bond a house you love? Which fragrances are favourites?