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Monday, November 06, 2006

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, 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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got my sample over the weekend and was more than unimpressed. It is pleasant, don't get me wrong but as a true jazz music lover I can't associate this at all with that music. It's more like Renee Fleming at Carnagie Hall.. Great jazz music is all about improvization and this perfume is so stagnant and planned. For me the notes stay in line the whole time, never waiver they just all roll in together and roll out 5-6 hours later together. It's pretty but that bottle is fierce and for me I was expecting a lot more from Bond. They dissapoint me regularly, I believe they could be one of the great fragrance houses to come from America if the just tried a little harder. This one feels rushed and un-inspired.

6:36 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Hmm...cashmere? I'm in the mood for that sort of scent. Definitely will have to try this. But I hope the rose note will come out on my skin since I'm also on a serious rose kick these days.

7:51 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I take it those are your favorites too? :-)

7:58 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

The bottle is definitely FIERCE (everytime I say that word I am reminded of America's Next Top Model :-)) And the juice, although I like it a lot, is not nearly as fierce as that. Actually I think that the bottle and color are wrong for the scent.

7:59 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Maybe it will. I am surprised at how the scent developed on my skin, I expected something much more floral. Perhaps my skin chemistry is an anomaly and yours would make the scent develop in the more floral way :-)

8:01 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Huh. I'm a little short in the comfort scent dept., and, heck, I haven't been to Saks in several days... don't want the SAs to think I died ;-)

8:08 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You don't want to worry poor SAs. You must go. :-)

8:13 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

OK, I'm afraid to say anything about this, b/c everytime I do you make fun of me:) But I do like it--although I didn't think it was FBW. The rose comes more on me, and (to use Ina's word), it's very pretty.

8:15 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

It's kinda purty, but it just ain't me...
And that there bottle is loud,loud,loud !

Fun, but not for this petunia...

8:15 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not making fun of you! I'd never! :-) Besides, see, I like it myself. It's funny how different it was on a blotter. Very bright, very "pretty". On my skin it is lovely rather than pretty, if you know what I mean.

8:18 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That bottle is loud, the scent is quiet. Go figure :-)

8:18 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yes, from my experience at Bond, I would also say that this is one of those scents that smells quite different on different skins. At least one person who had just bought it for herself didn't even recognize it on me. Sorry about all the typos in my previous posts--need MORE coffee!

8:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am in no state to notice any typos, least of all my own. *drinks deeply from a second cup of coffee*
Did you get to try West Broadway?

8:49 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yes, I got some West Broadway in a swap. It's OK, but very soapy on me. *Offering wrist to Mr. L*; Mr. L: "Smells like Dial soap." He sees the disappointed look on my face and adds: "But I really LIKE Dial soap!" Sigh.

9:20 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Aw, sorry about that. I get no soap. :-(

9:39 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have thought that you would like this, M, just based on the notes and others' reviews. Maybe it worked out for you because the sandalwood, and not the rose, is more prominent on you. Do you think I would like it, M? I was thinking if it's another rose and vanilla, I don't even need to test it...

10:11 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You are so right, if there were more rose, I wouldn't have liked it nearly as much. I think you might like it. I don't know if you'd love it; this, to me, is not a kind fo scent to arouse strong emotions. I can't imagine anyone hating ir or having a mad crush on it :-) It's sort of understated.

10:14 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Marina -- okay, I forgot how much Judith liked this, she's my official tester now! (does Judith like this?) so I do have to try it ... although definitely a decant, that bottle is sooooo hideous. I can see Kayliana's point about Jazz.

I wish the SAs at the Bond counter weren't quite so aggressive. I have to prep myself every time I go in there. On my lucky days there's this one guy who just lets me play (and make samples! ssshhhhhh!)

10:31 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I kind of like the bottle. Granted, put next to my Chanels it might look a little...bright :-) But if I had several other Bonds, which I don't, they would ahve looked ever so cheerful together :-)

10:40 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well lets see what March says...till then proceed with caution, just in case. :-)

11:12 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! Fire Island didn't work too well for me, although I liked it theoretically, but this one is a pleasure to wear.

11:43 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Was surprised that anyone who loved the Lancome 1000 et une preferred West Side, but apparently some do. Will have to try the 2 next to each other.

I like the bottle though -- although it is very bright & loud.

11:53 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't get the similarity between 1001 Roses and West Side, but then the rose is very subdued on me in this scent, so I am no judge.

11:55 AM EST  
Blogger Erin said...

Similar to Tocade? Oh dear, I thought I could ignore this one. The problem/blessing is that I like Tocade because to me it is soft *without* being understated. Hmmm...

3:09 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Same here. Tocade is soft but not shy, so to say. This one I find to be soft and understated.

3:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see the Tocade-Organza Indecence similarity. I don't get much sandalwood, though. Bummer.

4:59 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Is it more floral on you?

5:00 PM EST  
Blogger Sexy Sadie said...

Why is not Bond here in Norway? :sad:

8:59 AM EST  
Blogger Barbara said...

Totally agree that the bottle does not match the fact, the West Side bottle would have been a better match with the New Haarlem fragrance. At any rate, I got this as a gift and enjoy it very much...a soft skin scent appropriate for any occasion. Quite lovely.

1:21 PM EDT  

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