Bond no 9 Coney Island, 2007

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(image, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest)

Perfumer Michel Almairac.

You can recognize a classic Guerlain when you come across it. Same goes for Caron, Estée Lauder, Montale, Amouage. It might be a similarity of style, it might be recognizeable notes. It’s a sort of calling card. Recognition is the first step in branding, and most up-and-coming houses seek brand identifiability.

Christ, did Bond no. 9 choose the wrong signature note.

Coney comes two years after it’s direct predecessor, Bleecker Street, and in the same year as it’s soul sibling in the Creed line, Virgin Island Water. Bleecker Street was a spectacular failure, attempting to merge the aquatic and gourmand trends in the same perfume.  Not looking for nuanced composition, it simply thought it could get 200% fragrance in one bottle.

The common thread to Bleecker, Coney and Virgin Island is the intensity of the concentration of artificial flavors and qualities. Synthetic aromachemicals have made contemporary perfumery possible. But if quality is ignored, the synthetic/’natural’ dichotomy isn’t even worth discussing. In more careful hands, the aquatic/gourmand proposition might work. For a successful joining of disparate elements, more is required than pouring them into the same bottle, which appears to be what was done in Coney Island.

As if attempting to create a hyper-flavored, calorie free superfood, Bond squeeze the rancid quality of fat replacements, such as pure ‘butter flavor’, and the musk-buoyed motion sickness of fake piña colada mix into one lingering sick feel. You know story of the drunk vomiting person saying it was the last martini that did it, implying that puking had nothing to do with the eight that preceded it? Coney Island is the legendary ninth Martini.

I don’t understand these perfumes, and facetiousness aside, they present me with a question to consider. I’ve read reviews at Basenotes and Fragrantica, and apparently there are people who like Coney Island. Is there any scent that is universally revolting? I don’t find Secretions Magnifiques completely unappealing, but most find it repulsive.

Coney Island does inadvertently bring up an important point in perfumery and criticism. I don’t like the smell of Virgin Bleecker Island, but preferences and opinions aren’t the whole point. I started this website in order to separate myself from public sites that tend to make the consideration of perfumes just a weighing in of opinion. In all subjective matters, opinions will be formed. Should opinion be the last stop in the discussion?

Bleecker St, Coney Island and Virgin Island Water are similarly flawed compositionally and unsuccessful in their aims. My conclusion isn’t simply a loud way of saying that I don’t like them. It’s a commentary of an commercial, aesthetic product.

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