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Friday, October 14, 2005

Chinatown by Bond No. 9

You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.

Li Bai

Described as an “intoxicating cross-cultural bouquet” (description remarkable for its mixture of habitual perfume-related vocabulary and sociological lingo), Chinatown has the notes of peach blossom, bergamot, gardenia, tuberose, peony, orange blossom, patchouli, cedar, vanilla, sandalwood, cardamom and Guaiac wood. In reality, it is neither particularly “intoxicating” nor a “bouquet”, to my nose (I am not paying much attention the “cross-cultural”, simply because all perfumes can be labeled with this term, if only for the fact that their ingredients usually originate from rather diverse places). Chinatown is a soft gourmand scent, smooth and comforting. It reminds me of Laura Tonatto’s Plaisir in a sense that both these perfumes have the same creamy, gentle feel to them, with the notes merging in perfect harmony, without a single note being particularly identifiable at any given stage of the fragrance development.

I like to think that I am able to smell peach blossom in the beginning, but perhaps I am just imagining it. Gardenia and tuberose are very discrete, if not non-existent, to my nose, as are peony and patchouli. Cardamom is just about discernible, vanilla is very low-key and only bergamot is easy to pin point when it shows up here and there adding some liveliness and sparkle to the composition. Chinatown is a comfortably linear scent in a sense that all the notes appear simultaneously and stay together till the very drydown.

The description on Hampton Court site notes the way the drydown of Chinatown smells of Chinese lacquered boxes and I find that to be absolutely true. I only ever owned one lacquered trinket box and it was Russian, not Chinese, but it did smell exactly like the combination of sandalwood, cedar and cardamom in the drydown of Chinatown. If this sounds rather “chemical” and artificial to you, it really is not. The blend is very smooth here, the whole composition and each its note is muted, softened and rounded. Chinatown is, as of right now, the only Bond No 9 scent that I like enough to want a full bottle (and what a bottle!), and it is going to be one of my “comfort scents” this fall and winter.

Available in Bond No 9 stores or online from, among other places, Lusciouscargo, $110.00 for 1,7oz.



Blogger Marina said...

I love the fact that it is such a "smooth" scent, so well blended. I haven;t had much luck with Bond scents, but Chinatown made me want to try more and re-try the ones I have tried.

10:40 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, Perfect review, and love the Li Bai poem. I do think this is the best from Bond no. 9 so far.

12:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you R! I now have high hopes for the new one, can't wait to try it.

12:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Kristen said...

OMG. I will buy this just for the bottle!

10:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Grogeous, isn't it. There is also a limited edition one, with crystals...

9:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree about the non-intoxicating part. This perfume is thee most intoxicating I own. (and like you colombina, my dresser may not be able to hold them all soon!) I crave the dizzying effect in the initial blast of this fragrance at least twice daily.I find I wear it almost everyday because of this. I find it intoxicating until the smooth woods help bring me to the end of this magical perfume ride. I'm in love, can you tell. And I guess I'm going on and on about it because I find all the Bond's to be fairily ho-hum, not this one. A diamond in the rough or shall I say a crystal?!

2:50 PM EDT  
Blogger browneyedgirl said...

Chinatown is a truly unique fragrance that stands out amoung all the rest. It's clean and irresistable blend captivates everyone that takes a whiff. Although for me it is tied with the Scent of Peace, which is what I wear to work everyday.

2:57 PM EST  

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