Bond no 9 Bleecker St, 2005

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(image, Frank Zappa from Life Magazine)

Perfumer David Apel

For the life of me, I never understood that song about the cake being left out in the rain. I get it now.

Pairings. Combinations. Fusion. Synthesis. There are plenty of words to describe how two ideas, objects or properties can be put together. Broad strokes, there are three outcomes. Blend, eg. citrus fruit and leaf in an eau de cologne. Complement, as in the rose/patchouli pairing of 1970s-1980s chypres. And synergy, the classic example being the new quality that arises from the pairing of lavender and coumarin in the fougère.

Three positive outcomes, that is. Outcome number four is dissonance. We have lots of words for this one, too. Discord, strife, cacophony, incongruity. There isn’t the comparable olfactory term for disharmony? Bleecker St. isn’t just bad for the final tinkering that might have gone on in the editing bay. Someone had to have been given a long leash not to have been stopped early on in the making of this perfume.

The flaw in Bleecker St. isn’t one of measure or imbalance, it’s conceptual.


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