You don’t have to live in New York City to appreciate Bond No. 9, the fragrance brand that names its scents for iconic Big Apple locales (the supergreen High Line, the sparkly citrus Little Italy, and my personal favorite, the coffee-patchouli New Haarlem blend, to name just a few). If you love the perfumes but can’t quite narrow your preference—and feel, say, a little bit Washington Square, a little bit Park Avenue—you’re in good hands, because Bond No. 9 offers a custom-blending service.
Here’s how it works: At participating Bond No. 9 boutiques and Saks Fifth Avenue counters, you can meet with a Bond No. 9 fragrance consultant to create your dream blend. You sit and smell as many scents as you like (or as many as your nose can handle) and combine them until you end up with, well, eau de vous. For me, Bond No. 9 founder Laurice Rahme created a carnal, boozy, crème brulee-ish concoction made from five fragrances: New Haarlem, Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue, Andy Warhol, New York Amber, and Manhattan.
Make no mistake, it is eau de moi all the way, and not a scent you’ll find on any fragrance pyramid (or Google map)—which is exactly the point, according to Rahme. “It’s unfortunate that we put fragrance families—green, citrus, floral—on fragrances, because it’s misleading,” she says. “That’s why we name ours for neighborhoods. Because people will immediately say, ‘Oh, I don’t like green, or citrus, or floral.’ And you can’t expect an untrained nose to know the difference between those categories. It’s about what you like. You love it or you don’t. Then you have to live with it.”
You also have to be able to afford it: a three-year supply of your custom blend starts at $10,000. But Bond No. 9 also offers somewhat more affordable mix-it-yourself blends (they will steer you toward some good combos if you get overwhelmed) starting at $350.
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