Perfume Review: Bond No 9 West Side
West Side, a new fragrance by Bond No 9, pays homage to the musical side of New York. Created by Michel Almairac (Fire Island, Scent of Peace, Bois d'Encens, Cuir Amethyste), it is described as “an ultra-melodious eau de parfum that finds the scent equivalent for the sounds of music in its full-bodied, mellow composition, its undulating rhythms, its harmonies, its pitch - and yes, its notes”. I must say that the rich colors of the bottle, the list of notes (rose, ylang ylang, peony, sandalwood, amber, vanilla), and the inspiration behind the scent lead me to expect a fragrance more vivid, more forceful, more loud. In fact, when I tested West Side on a scent strip, it was indeed bright, pink-red in feel, pretty and girly; it was disco, it was salsa, it was reggae. On my skin, however, the scent turned out to be soft and subtle, a soulful jazz melody played very quietly … and that is how I prefer it.
On me, West Side is all about sandalwood and vanilla, with the flowers being just ornaments, colorful specks on the light-brown, cashmere fabric of the composition. The rose is the most prominent floral note here; combined with peony, in the top notes, it smells fresh and dewy. As the scent develops and the wood and vanilla come into play, the rose grows simultaneously warmer and less apparent. The sandalwood note is beautiful, velvety-soft, vanilla is at its best behavior, which means that it adds softness and warmth but isn’t too sweet. The drydown is mostly musk, which, mixed with vanilla, appears to be clean and cuddly at the same time, a skin scent in the best possible way. If I had to find examples of similar scent, I would have said that West Side smells to me like an offspring of a union between Tocade (roses and vanilla) and Organza Indecence (wood and vanilla), although this lovely offspring is much, much more delicate, gentle and introspective than its rather robust "parents".
West Side is easy to wear; it’s comfortable, comforting and very versatile. It can be “taken” anywhere, to Carnegie Hall, to a small jazz café, and to one’s comfortable sofa, to cuddle under a warm blanket. I would love to have a bottle for the upcoming holiday parties and miserably cold days ahead.
West Side is available at Bondno9.com, Bond No 9 boutiques, Saks, Beautycafe and wherever Bond No 9 fragrances are sold, $125.00 for 1.7oz or $185.00 for 3.4oz.