Bond no 9 Chinatown, 2008

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Perfumer Aurélien Guichard

Chinatown is a floral, fruity chypre of the new school. It could easily fall into other categories (gourmand, fruity-floral, floriental) but this all-things-to-all-noses bit is a tribute to the creative wealth of the chypre genre. The opening of Chinatown gives it all to you. Flower (indoles from orange blossom,) fruit (peachy plum) bitterness (oakmoss) resin (incense.) In the heartnotes, the florals peel away as the dried fruit becomes dominant. The fruit holds on even as the incense becomes the key drydown note. A very simple, tidy progression.

Chinatown compares well with the biggies in the dark fruity chypres genre (Guerlain Mitsouko, Dior Diorella, YSL Y) but stays cool and detached where the others melt into the skin. The quality of the smokiness, not leathery, not bitter, tell me that incense is used to replace the IFRA-verbotten oakmoss. Does this mean that Chinatown isn’t a True Chypre? Categorically, I suppose not, but it sits alongside Rochas Femme and Amouage Jubilation 25 and I can think of worse perfume turf. Chinatown might be seen as an exercise in the reinvention of the chypre, but it is also a perfectly pitched woody floral. It doesn’t smell like an attempt at anything. It smells like a successful invention.

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2 Comments

  1. Johannes Kruitwagen says:

    Today I had some time to read a few of your Bond No. 9. reviews. At first I was a little annoyed about the negativity in your Bond reviews but I came to realize that the way you are criticizing this brand has nothing to do with their fragrances. No over all of your Bond comments hangs this odor (yes we are talking about fragrances) of rejection and therefore the outcome of your Bond reviews is so predictable. But what the hack: your politically correctnes as a creative reviewer from perfume reviews may never be point of discussion. After all we cannot deny that Bond No. 9 is a highly succesfull but also commercial company. This conclusion made me me feel sad for you.
    Therefore please take my advice and stop torturing yourself by returning time after time to this company. There are many niche fragrance brands in the artistic/eccentric field where you will feel much more comfortable with. So do yourself (and others) a favour to concentrate on those. Because expecting you ever to write a sincere and unprejudiced Bond no 9 review I think would be to much to ask for.

    1. jtd says:

      It’s true that I dislike most of the perfumes I’ve tried in the Bond no 9 line. I don’t attempt to hide my point of views on the brand. I recognize that many of them are a style of perfume that doesn’t appeal to me. But beyond style and preference I think the brand can be criticized for the similarity of so many of the perfumes and their price point.

      There are a few in the line that I find exceptional and I’ve made a point of writing about the Bond perfumes I view positively (Chinatown, Fire Island, Andy Warhol Silver Factory, HOT Always).

      Thank you for reading my blog and for your input. I appreciate the time and consideration that you’ve taken to give your thoughts and I’ll think very closely about your criticism. jtd

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