Perfume Review: Bond No. 9 West Broadway
West Broadway, nominated for a FiFi (Fragrance Foundation) award for Best Men's Fragrance Introduction, is described as a “lime gimlet*, laced with crisp greens, mate, and sheer musk. “ As far as I am concerned, there is nothing masculine, citrusy, boozy or green about this scent. West Broadway is a unisex-leaning-towards-feminine, woody fragrance with an incense accord in the top notes and a sweet, musky drydown.
Google search for the notes in West Broadway resulted in the following astonishing combination: mate, lime, lily of the valley, musk. Either the creators of this fragrance do not reveal a big chunk of the ingredients or every retailer has got hold of the wrong list of notes. It is of course also entirely possible that my skin chemistry is to blame (or rather to thank) for such a discrepancy between what West Broadway is supposed to smell like according to the description and what it does smell like to my surprised nose. The only two accords from the official list of notes that are actually present on my skin are mate and musk.
Mate**, a beverage native to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil, is brewed from the dry leaves and stemlets of Yerba Mate tree. If I remember correctly, the wonderful mate tea I tasted in the past smelled gently smoky, tobacco-y, green-ish; all these descriptions can be applied to West Broadway. Still, the mate note alone cannot account for a very distinct cedarwood note, not unlike that in Serge Lutens’s Bois Oriental and Bois et Musc, nor does it explain the presence of a peppery, incense-like accord in the beginning of West Broadway. There is absolutely no hint of lime or lily of the valley, on my skin. As I mentioned above, the drydown, which is still manifestly woody, acquires certain sweetness and a pleasantly musky quality.
I really like West Broadway, this is the second Bond No. 9 scent (first being Chinatown) that is definitely full bottle worthy for me. Whatever the reason it smells the way it does on my skin, I hope that the olfactory anomaly is here to stay, and that after I do acquire a bottle, the scent would not suddenly turn into a green lime gimlet of the official description.
West Broadway can be found in Bond No. 9 boutiques, Saks, and, among other places, beauticafe.com. It retails for $178 for 3,3oz.
*Lime Gimlet - 2 oz Gin; 1/2 oz Lime juice cordial; 1 Lime wedge.
**Other fragrances with mate note are Annick Goutal Duel, Calypso The, Comme des Garcons Tea, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Ecume de The, Kenzo Jungle Homme, L'Artisan Jacinthe de Bois, and Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate.
***The photo shows a gourd and a bombilla, traditionally used to drink mate; it is from www.patagoniasgifts.com