Bond no. 9 Chinatown perfume review

Bond no 9 Chinatown fragrance

Chinatown is the latest fragrance release from Bond no. 9. It was created by nose Aurelien Guichard, and has notes of peach blossom, bergamot, peony, gardenia, tuberose, orange blossom, patchouli, cardamom, vanilla, cedar, guaiac wood, sandalwood.

Chinatown starts out as a sweet floriental, but the sweetness calms considerably as the top notes fade. The floral notes are prominent for the next 20 minutes or so. I cannot make out the orange blossom at all, and the peony is very faint. The gardenia & tuberose are more in evidence, but they are very much tempered by the base notes: this does not smell like a heady white floral.

The dry down is smooth, deep woods, with a generous dusting of cardamom and a touch of sweetness from the patchouli and vanilla. It is very feminine, and the lasting power is excellent.

It is a lovely composition, perhaps the nicest from Bond no. 9 so far, although I have only tried about half of the 20+ fragrances they have released in the last couple years. But as a confirmed patchouli hater, I am probably not going to need a bottle. The patchouli is not at all overdone, mind you, but it is still more than I care for. My favorite from the line is still Eau de New York, which I will review another day.

The (gorgeous!) bottle for Bond no. 9 Chinatown was inspired by a Ming Dynasty ginger jar. A 50 ml bottle is $110, 100 ml is $178. You can also buy the Bond no. 9 fragrances by the ounce: the juice is $45 an ounce and there are a variety of bottle choices, starting with a basic 2 ounce spray flacon for $25. For buying information, see the listing for Bond no. 9 under Perfume Houses.

Bonus: listen to a 2004 interview with Laurice Rahme on NPR, and take a look at the limited edition "Chinatown, Crystallized" bottle.

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think I may actually have to get some of this one. But I have to try it again, since what smells great on Patti/cavewoman may not smell great on me. (Everything usually smells great on Patti.) I loved Eau de New York too — and I've developed a major fondness fo Madison Soiree, to my surprise. My husband recently revealed that he likes the Bonds the best out of any one fragrance house. Yes, he seriously has a favorite fragrance house now. Poor man.

  2. Anonymous says:

    R – you did it again – now after reading this fantastique review I cannot wait to sample this (have been resisting for a while) :(

    The bottle is so pretty! I officially blame this lemming on NST!

    Hope all is well


  3. Anonymous says:

    Great review, R! I was really impressed with this fragrance when I first smelled it in the Bond store on Madison Avenue, particularly on Kathy and Patti. Most of the Bond florals don't work on me at all, but I think the cardamom and woods in this one are divine. I find it curious, though, that Laurice described this as “for the young woman” and “not a classic fragrance.” I find it very sophisticated…in fact, I caught a whiff of it from a very handsomely dressed older woman at Barney's the other day, and it suited her well.

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a former denizen of Chinatown, I have to try this based on the name alone! Plus the notes sound like they would suit me. I can't wait until my local Saks stocks this fragrance.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi there!

    Like you, so far I only like one fragrance from the Bond No. 9 line, and that's So New York. And, come to think of it, I have not worn it for quite some time.

    That said, I am dying to test Chinatown. My local boutique should be getting it in shortly. I'll test it and give you my verdict.

    I love your reviews, Robin! They are informative and well-balanced.

    Hugs, rsj

  6. Anonymous says:

    R, I love how you always manage to get a picture of the scent onto your review page! And I think the Chinatown bottle looks simply ravishing! I'd buy it just for the bottle. Do all the Bond No. 9's have such lovely glassware? (I've never even seen them – although I've heard that Harvey Nicks in London will be stocking them soon.) Nina P.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I'm just dying to try Chinatown! Teen Vogue has it featured in next month's issue as a must buy products.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great review, as usual, R!

    I just got my sample of Chinatown in yesterday's mail and I tried it later that night. I loved the opening notes, it smelled almost like an orange creamsicle on me. I knew I wanted to buy this! Then the patchouli and cardamom kicked in and I that is when I had doubts; I guess I'm not really a patchouli girl!

    I will revisit this fragrance in a week to see if I feel any different about it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I no like. What an idjit I was to buy it unsniffed. Bought the smaller bottle and am hoping to sell it to someone who wants it. It is very nice but just not me. Neela, don't read this.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Laurice should know that not only women are wearing this scent. I love it and have been wearing it very often lately.



  11. Anonymous says:

    It is true that everything smells good on Patti! Madison Soiree is one of the Bonds I haven't tried yet, will have to look for it.

    My husband would be happy to never hear a fragrance brand name again :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Isn't it a pretty bottle? I like the Eau de New York bottle too — it is decorated with subway tokens.

    Can you blame a lemming on me if I said I wouldn't buy it, LOL?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree, I don't think of it as for a young woman, or at least, it doesn't smell like the fruity-sweet fragrances that are usually marketed towards the young. The wood notes really are nicely done and I love cardamom. Darn the patchouli — but then I also think I have extra patchouli receptors. I know most people don't notice it in Chinatown.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well, it smells better than the neighborhood, that is for sure! But I love the smell of dim sum :-)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey R! I will be curious to know if you like it. We like many of the same things but I am still figuring out where our tastes diverge.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi Nina, All of them come in star bottles, but some are just clear glass. Wall Street, Little Italy, and Eau de New York (and possibly others) are in decorated opaque bottles. I think this one and Eau de New York are the nicest. I wonder if Harvey Nichols will also decant into different bottles as they will in the Bond Stores — they have some pretty ones there!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hi S, see the comment above…I wouldn't think this would suit a teen, but what do I know?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hi V, My extra patchouli receptors kicked right away, so I smelled it right from the start. Long into the dry down it finally faded to the point where it didn't bother me. The cardamom, though, I adore!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hi L — Oh no! I am glad it was the smaller bottle then. I shouldn't think you would have much trouble finding a buyer, it is awfully popular on MakeupAlley.

  20. Anonymous says:

    How can I find a buyer, since I don't go on MUA??*wails* I would be so happy to sell it for just the $110 and I'd pay the shipping costs myself. That was sneaky, but it just came out.


  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi Steve, Thanks so much for commenting. I think most of the Bonds can be worn by either sex, but then quite a few of my favorite fragrances come from the men's counter so I suppose I think the same of just about any fragrance.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If you want me to post something on the board, just say the word L! I'm not sure what else to do. You could also post it on basenotes, and they allow selling.

  23. Anonymous says:

    LOL! Yes I blame you for putting the image of the bottle and the notes….


  24. Anonymous says:

    Well, if that is all it takes…but yes, the bottle is gorgeous. I wish someone would send me their empty, and I would take it into the Bond store and have it filled with another scent. I'd still like to get my hands on that Annick Goutal Mandragore bottle too :-)

  25. Anonymous says:

    I really didn't get much floral from this one at all, just incense, light smoke, a bit of citrus and patchouli weaving in and out. I haven't liked many of the Bonds, like yourself, I'm not a big patchouli fan and it seems to be a common thread amoung the Bonds. But I do like a little patchouli if it behaves and it seems to in this one. I am crazy over the bottle, so maybe I'm talking myself into this one. I really want that bottle. The only other Bond that I liked enough to own is Little Italy.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Will remember that. :D

  27. Anonymous says:

    Ms RSJ! How is your email system working at the moment?


  28. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, I don't get incense or smoke, and I didn't smell the bergamot at all. We have different noses!

    I was wondering if patchouli was a common thread, or only in the ones I've tried. I have a few more in my “to test” pile (I think Great Jones, West Broadway & Wall Street) so perhaps I'll find out.

    It is sad but true that a beautiful bottle is very tempting!

  29. Anonymous says:

    I don't think that I can help you with that, my friend.

    Lately, my tastes have been all over the place! I used to be a floral/fresh sort of person. Not any more! I've gone crazy over almond-scents this spring. Even patchouli that “behaves” as Victoria put it, does not bother me anymore. I've gone nuts over Burberry Brit Red and Tubereuse Criminelle in the past couple of weeks, and am dying to test La Chasse Extreme. Maybe linden will become my new favorite note?! LOL!

  30. Anonymous says:

    R, my tastes are really expanding too…it is hard for me to imagine now that I used to only wear light florals & citrus. But I still hit a wall at patchouli & amber! Burberry Brit Red is a nice scent, and Tubereuse Criminelle is one of my very favorites.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Lovely review, as usual, Robin. I can't wait to try this one. I'm expecting a sample any day now from a wonderful MUAer. Don't like to buy “unsniffed”, though I just did a few weeks ago after reading your tempting review of Musc Blanc (which I like, but not love, and I'm using as a post-shower spritz and layer other scents over it.) The Chinatown bottle is a beauty, and would look great on my scent shelf.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I am so sorry you don't love the Musc Blanc! But never buy unsniffed!! I fall for it too, usually with disastrous results.

    And you can't call my MB review tempting, can you — I said it was my least favorite of the 4 scents, LOL!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic review, Robin! I can say this this is my only lemming for today. And that bottle is a lovely, work of art. It appears to be delicate glass, or is it just delicate in design.

    I'll have to wait until I can get over to Saks to have a whiff. We will be in Philadelphia this weekend, for our son's graduation from college, so the Chinatown will have to wait.

    Thanks again for the great review!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Barbara, If I remember correctly, the bottles are not as delicate as they look.

    Congrats to you and your son, you must be very proud! I hope you have a wonderful weekend :-)

  35. Anonymous says:

    thank you again for a lovely review! have been wondering about this one, just b/c the bottle is so beautiful! =)

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hi M, nice to see you! Looks like everyone wants this bottle!!!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Your reviews are always tempting, R! Even if they're for scents I don't usually go for.

    I am really loving all things musk these days, and the addition of rose seemed like a good combination. Musc Blanc ended up reminding me of Arrid or some other deodorant. A pleasant, but generic scent. Don't worry, I will use it anyway – the skin oil consistency is rather unique and a good body lotion alternative for the summer.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Arrid — oh dear! Next time please let me send you a sample first. And I wonder if you would like the Extrait de Songe (see yesterday), although that one is pretty clean too. And have you tried Delrae Debut? Long musky-woods dry down, although lots of people say they can't smell it after the top notes fade. I can still smell it the next day.

  39. Anonymous says:

    patchouli is ok with me (-that is, in the tiniest and well blended measures), so i can't wait to try this. your review is appetizing! anyone here love wall street? it's divine otherwordly and i think the bottle's stunning. i nicked a dram or two from my friend who said “hey this is for men!” (is it?). if true, nice to know i am in good company here since many of you also love men's scents. wall street anyone?

  40. Anonymous says:

    Did you see the interview with Lisa Slavik of Beauty Cafe? If not, click on interviews under Archives by Topic. She mentions Wall Street as one of her favorites. I haven't tried it yet though! The bottle is wonderful.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I bought this one, as well as Eau de New York and New Haarlem. Those are the only 3 I really like – well maybe New York Fling too. :-) I wish they made the decorative bottles in the 1.7oz size. Had to spend the big bucks to get the fancy bottles, even though I have so much perfume I will never use up a 3.4oz bottle in my lifetime. I smelled the patchouli, incense and smoke quite prominently but then I like patchouli, incense and smoke. :-)

  42. Anonymous says:

    I thought Chinatown did come in the 50 ml decorative bottle, am I wrong? 100 ml is an awful lot unless you only own a few perfumes or swap actively.

    New Haarlem did not suit me at all, but I need to try New York Fling.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Yes, the Chinatown 1.7 and the 3.3 are the same bottle, the lovely bottle, the yin-yang bottle! I know because I bought them both, the smaller one for my Mom and the larger one for me. And DH is now the proud owner of Wall Street which makes him officially a Bond man now! I'm so glad to see Steve here, enjoying Chinatown as well. So many of the Bonds are just perfect for both men and women. I think that DH and I may share a bottle of Eau De New York soon.

    Okay, and for the London girls, Laurice wrote to me last week to say she was going to London to launch the Bonds at Harvey N. So they may be there right now, I would imagine.

    I'm so happy that you reviewed Chinatown! I thought that So New York was my favorite, and now Chinatown has taken its place in my Bond Loves List. As a matter of fact, it is now second only to Deneuve on my all time great fragrance loves list.

    And for those of you who complimented how Chinatown (and so many others!) smell so good on me, I give all credit to my genetic heritage.

    By the way, the bottles are made by Bormioli of Italy and are very sturdy!

  44. Anonymous says:

    does the Creed store still at 9 Bond Street or is it only “Bond no. 9” now?

  45. Anonymous says:

    P, I did not know that Deneuve was your favorite of all! I will have to look for it. And it is true that everything smells good on you!

  46. Anonymous says:

    It is a Bond no. 9 store now, but they do have some Creeds left in stock.

  47. Anonymous says:

    on sale?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Yes, but they've been 50% off for over a year now so I don't know what is left.

  49. Anonymous says:

    thanks! found it. what an interesting woman (lisa slavik) she must be. very nice interview. good to know wall street can be themed “sex in a bottle”- – i had not been quite that ambitious, but here's hoping.

  50. Anonymous says:

    LOL at “not been quite that ambitious”! I am going to have to try the Wall Street :-)

  51. Anonymous says:

    I fell in love with Chinatown in the bottle but it just didn't meld well with my skin. It acquired an incense note that was overwhelming and had me jumping in the shower! Too bad…thus far, I only like Chelsea Flowers. But good for my wallet!

  52. Anonymous says:

    I would have liked more incense and less patchouli, but as you say, good for both of our wallets ;-)

  53. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely adore Chinatown and I am only 20 years old. I understand what you mean though – most girls my age are wearing very fruity, tropical scents like Escada. This is part of the reason why I love Chinatown so much; it's so unique. Not many 20 year old girls are sophisticated enough for it. ;) Not to mention, the bottle is gorgeous and it lasts for 3 days straight! I am a bit of a perfume addict, and let me tell you, all Bond No. 9 perfumes are GREAT QUALITY. The line is really great. Hard to come by perfumes this fantastic anywhere.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Most Bond No. 9 bottles are AMAZING :)

  55. Anonymous says:

    I really need to be more open minded. However, I have refused to try any of the Bond scents becuase of the quantity they put out. For some reason, I feel that if one fragrance company can be so prolific, then the intent behind each fragrance can't be sincere.

  56. Anonymous says:

    They have slowed down considerably since the first year, but I do sympathize with your sentiment. Do try Chinatown at least, I think Aurelien Guichard did a lovely job on this one.

  57. Anonymous says:

    This is not a good fragrance. It is really more for older women – like those who may use Opium. I am disappointed with all the hype. My husband hates it too.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Sorry it didn't work for you! Can't agree on the “older women” (although I am an older woman, LOL) but to each his own…

  59. Anonymous says:

    I realize my post is late, but I just got a chance to sample Chinatown, and was struck by how similar this is to Opium Fleur de Shanghai – almost a dead ringer! They're both beautiful.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, I'll have to try them together, thanks!

  61. Anonymous says:

    I do! That's one of the strongest notes I smell in Chinatown! But then again, I really like patchouli. Try as I might to prevent myself from wanting this (oh, the price!), I cannot. I fear I'll own a bottle by sometime next week.

  62. Anonymous says:

    You know, I like it much better now than I did when I wrote this. Probably best I not try Chinatown again, LOL…

  63. Anonymous says:

    I find Chinatown to be a very sexy scent. If I could wear something slightly gourmand and sultry on a night out, I think this would probably be it! Perhaps that's strange, but the scent has many hidden depths, I find.

  64. Anonymous says:

    It would work for that, I think!

  65. Anonymous says:

    Yea, I'm 21, and I love this!

  66. Anonymous says:

    Another note: Chinatown works much better for me in a splash bottle form… if I ever get a bottle (and I've been toying with the idea for a long time now), I'll have to decant it into a splash. The top notes are a little too much, but the drydown is simply gorgeous… putting it into a splash bottle would temper the top notes. I'm currently dabbing it from a sample vial.

  67. Anonymous says:

    You know, I think I'd agree — but I'm a wimp when it comes to strong fragrances!

  68. Anonymous says:

    Also works really well to just spray it extremely close to the skin (like a centimeter away). As long as the juice doesn't get misted everywhere, it's almost like dabbing anyway. This is, by the way, my HG fragrance. The hunt is officially over.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on finding your HG!

  70. Anonymous says:

    This is so nice, I haven't smelled it in a while and when I received my new sample just today, I was able to test it again. I loved it! I am very happy because You know what it reminds me of? The beautiful but discontinued Sticky Cake by CdG! It is a totally different scent, but that soft sweetness is making my heart skip a beat. They are both similar but Chinatown has a deeper drydown, more woody. Sticky Cake though has tons of iris, and I love iris flower! I am just happy to find something at least a bit similar to sticky cake.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Wish I could remember Sticky Cake better! Wouldn't have thought of them together…

  72. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! I foresee a long and fulfilling marriage between Nam and Chinatown. :)

  73. Anonymous says:

    Huh… I sometimes think I'm pushing the age barrier by wearing it at 21. Teen Vogue, eh?

  74. Anonymous says:

    … but maybe that's hypocritical of me. I guess Chinatown is just one of those frags with attitude, and if you can pull it off (at any age), more power to you!

  75. Anonymous says:

    I should have known that I have to keep away from that bottles, for the sake of my pretty low budget. I had no chance, I fell, and the strength of the scent makes me wonder! It is nearly oily, and it lasts really long and it is so familiar, so sexy, so comforting. I just wonder how someone spends 140 Euro on that (ca. 180USD) – I can't. Not yet. Hmmm… There will be soon x-mas! :-)

  76. Anonymous says:

    It's really expensive! It's a much better deal to buy at the Bond boutiques since you can buy by the ounce.

  77. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Robin!
    I will be orderin some samples(9 samples) now and chinatown is definitely on my list….However I am in a huge doubt deciding the other samples that I will grab…Can you give me a little help?Those are my options:( I already cut a lot of then out of the list…
    Mandragore,neroli,eau d 'hadrien, la violette, le jasmin, songes – (annick goutal), all of the other bond nº9 fragrances, BLACK ORCHID VOILE DE FLEUR, missoni, missoni acqua, midnight rain, silver rain, 24 FAUBOURG, un jardin sur le nil, kelly caleche, elixir de merveilles
    I'm very open to new perfumes possibilities and excited to get to know scents taht are hard to find in brazil……
    there are a few things that i avoid: aquatic/ozonic notes, iris (too dry for me),gourmand that smell obviously edible, very sweet and happy fruity florals(escadas and incantos)!
    I know that you are very busy but I am really struggling to find new perfumes for me(perfume crisis I think), I'm 21 and it looks like I'm “growing up” when it comes to fragrance…
    I'l stop the drama now and hope u can point me new possibilities.
    many thanks!!!!

  78. Anonymous says:

    Ok, if it were me, I'd cut out the Missoni scents, the Midnight & Silver Rain, and I really don't think you need ALL the Bond scents. Can you tell me anything more about what you DO like? Do you like heavy florals?

  79. Anonymous says:

    Oh, thank you so much for answering me… I already cut those scents of the list!

    There's a few notes that I know I like :Figs, Mint, Liicorice, Neroli…I think I like Tea too… I probably like tons of other things but Iam not very good at identifying

    That will depend on what you call a heavy floral…Anais anais it's too heavy and white for me, and I dislike nº5…..but I like amarige, flowerbomb, allure and stella(McCartney) a lot

    other fragrances that I like are un jardin en mediterranee and narciso rodriguez for her(you are anosmic to this one If I am not mistaken)

    That's all…. I think!!

    Many, many thanks again…your help is very much appreciated

  80. Anonymous says:

    Then I think your list is good expect the La Prairies & the Missonis, none of which I think will suit you. The 24 Faubourg might turn out to be too much, but it's worth a shot. Let us know what you think of your samples when you get them!

  81. Anonymous says:

    I'm a little concerned. I think the Bond No9 fragrances contain something that doesn't mix with my chemistry. I love both Chinatown and New Haarlem from the tester strips – and the first hit when they are on my skin is gorgeous. Chinatown in particular was so flagrantly sexy I vowed to buy it asap. But about 5 hours later i was stirpping it of fmy skin like napalm it smelt so vile. And New Haarlem made me smell like i'd spilled syrupy coffee over my self. Such a shame. I have yet to try Silver Factory and Eau de NYC on my skin, so fingers crossed as they are my two other faves….

  82. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, I wouldn't be concerned — I'd be happy! Plenty of other brands, and it isn't like the Bond scents are cheap.

  83. Anonymous says:

    I could get some of the scent from a freind in an uglay bottel, but who cares… It has a very good lasting power and if I use more then one drop I will get an headache because it is everywhere. It is gorgious, and I compared it today to LOV by kilian, which is also same expensive, but not that sophisticated.

    I would love to have the bottle, but I definitely can live only with the scent.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Oh, sorry for the typos -I mean LOVE by Kilian of course and “ugly bottle”.

  85. Anonymous says:

    I would agree — better to get a decant!

    • APassionateJourney says:

      I sprayed some of this on me yesterday and I started smiling. Can’t wait to get this :)

  86. APassionateJourney says:

    Got my Swarovski bottle yesterday, July 1, 2009. I’m going to sleep next to it tonight! :)

    • Robin says:

      Hope it doesn’t keep you up ;-)

  87. Lavandula says:

    I don’t know why I love Chinatown soooo much. It’s my favorite sweet-craving perfume, one of my all-time-favorites! When I asked many people what perfume is me? They all said: Chinatown! I adore it’s peach blossom note… agh I am running low on it. Hey Santa, I need a new bottle pls!

    • Robin says:

      Hey, then you’ve got a signature scent! Hope Santa will be good to you :-)

Leave a reply