Bond no. 9 West Side & Bryant Park ~ fragrance reviews

Bond no. 9 Bryant Park fragranceWest Side and Bryant Park are the latest two fragrances from Bond no. 9, the perfume house that is mapping New York City's neighborhoods in scent. Both were created by perfumer Michel Almairac of Robertet, and while neither is a soliflore, both feature prominent rose notes.

West Side launched last year, and was intended as an homage to the musical heritage of the West Side (you can see a picture of the bottle here). In addition to rose, the notes include ylang ylang, peony, sandalwood, amber, musk and vanilla.

Early reports that West Side had some affinity to Lancome Mille et Une Roses were intriguing, but on skin, their differences are perhaps more notable than their similarities. West Side opens rather sweet, and there is some sort of fresh water or fresh air accord, I am not sure which, that gives West Side a decidedly more modern feel than the Lancome. The peony is sheer, and the rose, while prominent, is tempered by the other notes; it does not, like the Lancome, strike me as primarily a rose fragrance.

After an hour, at any rate, the florals are a mere whisper. The dry down is a very soft blend of sandalwood, vanilla and musk, lightly sweet, with a velvety finish and just a touch of ambery warmth. It is a pretty fragrance, and probably more of a crowd-pleaser than Mille et Une Roses, but in the end, I prefer the quiet elegance of the Mille et Une Roses.

Bryant Park (bottle shown above*) was inspired by the scene in midtown's Bryant Park, long the home to New York City's twice-yearly Fashion Week. It is due to launch in March, and has notes of rose, patchouli, pink pepper, lily of the valley, rhubarb, raspberry and amber.

I did not expect to like Bryant Park — patchouli rarely pleases me, and I am about done with berries in perfume — but in the event, I find I like it more than West Side. The rhubarb adds a nice tartness to the top notes, and while the patchouli is not heavy (this is not L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses), it adds an earthy buzz that along with the pink pepper, counteracts the sweetness of the raspberry and florals. As Marina put it in Perfume Smellin' Things, it keeps things from "going all girly-swirly, cutesy and Barbie-esque". As with West Side, in character it is not quite a rose fragrance; you will notice the rose, but it isn't the center of attention.

The ambery musky base is similar to that of West Side, but where West Side's sandalwood and vanilla lend an almost comfort-scent vibe to the dry down, Bryant Park retains a more vibrant, energetic edge. Traces of the rhubarb and raspberry last well into the dry down, where (happily) they remain quite dry; you will not, as you will with so many fruity florals, be reminded of lollipops. To my mind, Bond has yet to best 2005's Chinatown, but I am betting that Bryant Park will find lots of fans, and hey, that bottle won't hurt.

For buying information, see the listing for Bond no. 9 under Perfume Houses.

*Update 5/07: the bottle for Bryant Park has been redesigned; you can see the new one on the Bond website.

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28 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What to do? What to do? Haven't cared much for any of the Bonds, so I sprayed West Side without much hope when passing through Harrods. And I really liked it! For days afterwards, I kept sneaking sniffs of my coat cuff, until it all disappeared. So I'm thinking I might just splurge on the exorbitant cost of even a small Bond… But, if Bryant Park is similar but also has rhubarb (yum), would it be better to wait….oh, dear…'vibrant, energetic'…quandary…

    Thanks, R, I think.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, nothing from Bond is yet to come close to Chinatown. That was such a striking fragrance.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It's an honor to be quoted on NST! :-) I didn't expect to like either West Side or Bryant Park, and I did like both. I'd even say that with West Side it is almost “love”, whereas with Bryant a “firm like” :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes, although not entirely to my own taste…I think it is easily the best, but not the one I'd be most likely to wear.

  5. Anonymous says:

    They are not really so similar…you could easily love West Side and not like Bryant Park (or vice versa) I should think. It is a shame you can't buy them by the ounce in the UK (so far as I know?) because that way they are not at all exorbitant. Although then again, you don't get the pretty bottles that way…

  6. Anonymous says:

    We are (comfortingly enough) opposites — I liked Bryant Park much better, although both are very pretty & wearable scents. Not sure either quite gets all the way to “love” for me, but West Side seems to have a devoted following and I'll be interested to see if Bryant Park accomplishes the same.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Chinatown and the Nohos are the ones I really like. But these sound sort of interesting … I find it kind of funny that I couldn't match most of them up with their names, even though I've smelled many of them several times.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Chinatown and Nuits de Noho are the best of this bunch. I'm so incredibly bored with this house. Why 2 rose perfumes are launched back to back I'll never know. For me, a total yawn. I had such high hopes for Bond and their deflating. And you know the French and other coutries are getting to smell these now and the're going “Meh” too :-(

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think it is almost impossible not to use the word “pretty” in talking about West Side. I quite like it, but I have been told by one friend that is TOO “pretty” for me, and by another (explaining the first) that it is too “pink.” Still, decant-worthy, I think–but I'm not rushing to get one. Bryant Park sounds interesting–I will definitely try it, but I doubt I will buy it. The only ones I love from this line are Chinatown and New Haarlem (the latter is also terrific in candle form).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the in depth review, Robin! “Bryant Park” reads like an interesting contradiction—now I'll have to sniff, out of curiosity.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Robin, for your insightful reviews. I'm new to this blog and have been reading it for a few weeks now. Great help in expanding my perfume horizon!

    The Bond No. 9 perfumes sound intriguing, but not sure if I can get them in Europe. Yesterday, I stumbled upon another rose-based perfume, which has just been launched my side of the Atlantic by The People of the Labyrinths and it's called A.MAZE. Thought you might like to know that one of your perfume wishes for 2007 has been granted! I look forward to reading your review of it. Checked out the POTL website, but there's only a picture of the bottle (same as Luctor et Emergo), but no further explanation on the notes.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Funny, I don't think of West Side as pink…if you find it so, you're going to find Bryant Park more so, I should think. Need to try their candles one of these days, I've heard good things.

  13. Anonymous says:

    And many thanks to you…so excited to see A.MAZE, and they must have added the description since yesterday, because it was there this morning & I just posted it.

    There is a limited selection of Bond no. 9 at Sephora in France, and also at first-in-fragrance in Germany, and in the UK at Harrods or Harvey Nicks. Do try Chinatown, at least.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I cannot keep the early ones apart…they all came out at once. Everyone seems to love Nuits de Noho, but it isn't my style at all.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Never hurts to try :-)

  16. Anonymous says:

    The 2 are different enough that it doesn't feel to me like they repeat each other, but hope that for Brooklyn (rumored to be next, although I have no idea) especially they'll do something very different & unusual. Whatever it is, I wish they'd have Aurelien Guichard do it!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the wonderful review on these two superb Bonds, Robin! I love them both and can't wait to add a full bottle of Bryant Park to my collection. It's breezy and feminine without being too light or fleeting, and I'm so glad there's no citrus. I love the way Almairac just kept the patch as low as possible.

  18. Anonymous says:

    P, your Bond collection must be stunning…would love to see all those bottles lined up :-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    The amber-musk base seems to be how many of the Bonds end on my skin, no matter what other notes they are supposed to have. Until now, the only one that was decidedly different for me was New Haarlem. I have yet to try Chinatown, though.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Do try Chinatown — it isn't “me” at all but I do think it is their best.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Check my MUA photos or blogdorfgoodman for some photos of my Bonds!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Thanks P!

  23. Anonymous says:

    You know, I started out hating West Side. It smelled like ' ceder-chip hell' . I sniffed and re-sniffed my poor little sample but it got no love from me. Revenge was had when it broke in my luggage (somewhere over the Greenland I think) and throughly saturated my beloved silk jewelry box. Fortunately this turned out to be a blessing in disguise and now I love it. I suppose it needed a bit of air to bring the rose though and tame the sharp ceder-ness but I've just bought a bottle!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I love cedar, so it's hard to produce “cedar chip hell” for me, LOL — but glad your breakage turned out not to be a total disaster!

  25. Kankuro says:

    Today I have tested the West Side and it smells exactly like By Night Jette from Jette Joop, the only difference is, that the West Side is a little bit more sophisticated. The two fragrances are both from Michel Almairac. Has he did that on purpose?

    • Robin says:

      I’ve never tested the Jette Joop, but certainly lots of perfumers have favorite notes or themes, so quite possibly!

  26. APassionateJourney says:

    Bryant Park was OK, but I really loved West Side!

    • Robin says:

      We’re opposites then :-)

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