Thursday, March 19, 2009

Astor Place by Bond no.9: new fragrance

Bond no.9, the brand that is synonymous with New York toponymia translated into fragrances is launching a new fragrance this April, called Astor Place, inspired by New York’s most vibrant arts-and-style intersection. The history of the place is quite interesting:

Back in the day, when Downtown was Uptown, nowhere in New York was grander than Astor Place—the enclave stretching between Broadway and Third Avenue, and floating between 14th and Houston Streets. Here, where much of the land was owned by the early 19th century fur-trading philanthropist John Jacob Astor, were situated the city’s greatest theaters, a row of colonnaded Greek Revival townhouses to rival Regent Park’s in London, the hallowed neo-Romanesque Great Hall of Cooper Union, the Renaissance-Revival Astor Library (now the Public Theater), and the neo-Renaissance shopping emporium John Wanamaker. Even the intersecting traffic thoroughfares added to the swirl of energy. Every street that enters the Astor Place energy field disappears and morphs into another street when it exits. (Eighth Street becomes St. Marks Place …Lafayette Street becomes Fourth Avenue … the Bowery becomes Third Avenue.) Astor Place kept a low profile through much of the 20th century. But then in 1967, Tony Rosenthal’s multi-ton gravity-defying geometric black metal sculpture, informally known as “the Cube,” was installed on its vertical axis right in the center of the plaza where Lafayette meets the Bowery. A bit to the south, that spacious promenade, Lafayette Street, is home not only to the acclaimed Public Theatre, where its see-and-be-seen Joe’s Pub now beckons to a stylish late-night crowd, but also to the Astor Place Theater. Ensconced in Colonnade Row, it was there that Sam Shepard’s plays were once performed, while Blue Man Group has held the subterranean stage since 1991. Berthed in the ground-level spaces, meanwhile, are a series of ultra-elegant mid-century home furnishings shops.
This fascinating glimpse of a historical place is meant to be embottled in the new fragrance and it remains to be seen whether it succeeded.
According to Bond, "the Astor Place flacon echoes the angles and cubes of the Rosenthal sculpture, the famous marker of the neighborhood – and renders them in the richest array of colors ever seen. All this is placed again a golden background, paying homage to the Astor fortune and philanthropy". The scent aims at merging downtown with uptown. A seductive fresh floral – flanking freesia with poppy and violet leaf and flanked by the smooth, deeper notes of teakwood and musk. The description of the official pyramid is playfully over the top as per usual, so I will spare you the novelette and will get down to hard, specific notes for Bond no.9 Astor Place: violet leaf, mandarin zest, red poppy buds, orris, teakwood, musk, amber.
For Mother’s Day Bond no.9 is offering Astor Place in a limited-edition Swarovski bottle – delicately decorated with topaz crystals.

Available at Bond No. 9’s four New York City boutiques, www.bondno9.com, 877.273.3369, and at Saks Fifth Avenue nationwide at $145 for 50ml and $220 for 100ml of Eau de Parfum. Astor Place Swarovski Limited-Edition for Mother’s Day will be $300 for 100ml.


  1. Oh, so manny NY places to pay tribute to...pretty soon we shall have "Trump Tower" (if Mr. Trump wants another fragrance) with a new money accord (the new one will probably smell richer) ;-)

    BTW I just got a rather interesting news 5 mintes ago. According to the latest Chanel newsletter Chanel Beige is "DEBUTING SOON ON CHANEL.COM". Les Exclusifs featured on the official website? Never would have thought of it.

    PS: Never would have thought that Natasha Richardson would have died to the day on Minghella's first anniversary. Very shocking and extremely sad.

  2. Dear A,

    the idea did seem fresh at the beginning, now there is perhaps an embarassement of riches. Let's hope TT isn't in the cards.

    Re: Beige, thanks for the news, haven't heard just yet. I believe Beige would be an exception, being the most approachable of the lot, like I had said all along (pretty but unchallenging). And I guess everyone needs to sell at these times and offering more outlets or downsizing those flacons would certainly help.

    I was very saddened by Natasha's death; she was part of a great clan, an accomplished actress herself and most importantly a mother of two underage boys...Life is so very fragile...

  3. I keep waiting for a floral Bond that I can wear. My son and I share bottles of Silver Factory, Bleecker Street and a decant of New Haarlem. Brooklyn smells nice on him, although I haven't tried it yet. But I haven't found a single floral for either of us. The notes in Astor Place sound at best, promising, and at worst, innocuous. So, maybe this will be worthy of one of the 7 ml bon bons, or even a bottle.

  4. Bond No 9 have possibly the most gorgeous bottle designs I have ever seen - finding it hard to get samples though. The ever-fabulous Luca Turin recommends "Chinatown" as one worth trying so I may see if they have it on perfumedcourt. Note to self : STOP FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE DESIGN OVER THE CCONTENT! REMEMBER THE UGLY BOTTLE THAT IS THE SUBLIME SACREBLEU!

  5. Lucy, I have the bottle problem too. I've been lucky that it somehow worked for me - I hunted for Asja because I couldn't live without a bottle striped in gold and black, the only disappointment was that it's not enamelled glass but plastic.
    This bottle... well, get me the pattern on something rectangular and I'll purr.

  6. M,

    I am not sure I can help with that. I have been undewhelmed by the Bond florals I tried, while I very much enjoyed their patchouli (Nuit de Noho), their coffee (New Haarlem), their citrus boozy one(Coney Island)...
    The bon bons are actually a good idea (practical too, for the purse)!

  7. Hi L!!
    I hea the weather is treating you well.

    I agree that the bottles are quite fetching and enough to tempt one (assuming they have the dough!). Chinatown has a bit of a cult status, that's true, and not only because of LT. It's recommended by several "taste arbiters". Not that we need any nudging, huh?
    But the perpetual dilemma "appearence vs. content" and which is more impotant is at the basis of the whole Western civilization from classical antiquity (which united the two into one or excluded one in the abscence of the other) to Chistianity (who liked to seperate them and being more of a case for the underdog), so I can't imagine we could solve it in a single blog post, LOL. As you say, trying with nose and eyes, is important!

  8. L,

    I can feel the pain. I have wanted a few things because of aesthetic reasons that had to do with my eyes. But if I love the contents, it doesn't really matter if it's a milk carton I am getting (well, it does, but in technical terms only, ie.storage, keeping etc.)

  9. I was at Saks Fifth Avenue last week, I saw this bottle or maybe it was Brooklyn, which is a joke because what is "Brooklyn"? Washington Heights, Bushwick, Bensonhurst, Park Slope or East New York?.
    All I got was some insipid generic fruity floral, the kind you find at Sephora but three times cheaper!

  10. Ah, I was hoping you'd say something different. :-(
    But...anyway, thanks for the heads up!

  11. Perfumeshrine, perhaps the NYC neigborhoods concept is a fun and beautiful souvenir for tourists but for true New Yorkers it 's cheesy.
    Bond No. 9 fragrances are expensive and mediocre, their boutiques, specially the one on Madison Avenue, are under-designed and ugly.
    Like I said above, it 's one thing to release a Brooklyn theme-fragrance but what part of that borough are they talking about? They 're completely missing the complexity and diversity standpoint and just turned Brooklyn into a touristic fruity floral.

    Astor Place, vibrant energy etc ok but not as artsy as it used to be because K-Mart seems jarringly out of place at this location, partially because the K-Mart at Astor Place is a horrific retail giant store in and of itself. I 'm not even sure the new Astor Place is even worth a mediocre $200 fruity floral.

  12. Surprisingly enough I haven't been to the boutique, so I can't pass judgement. I trust yours on it.
    I definitely agree with you that Brooklyn is a very complex place with all sorts of cultural backgrounds (just think of the history of the place) and if it were in my hands I'd make use of some of the cinematic standpoints too, like Leone's etc. (but that's just me!!)
    As to K-mart and AP: c'est un autre temps! :-(

  13. perfumeshrine, maybe I should take a picture for you of the hideous Bond No9 boutique on Madison ave. It looks like one of those places you buy cemetery headstones, except that instead of headstones and wreaths they got perfume bottles!

  14. perfumeshrine, maybe I should take a picture for you of the hideous Bond No9 boutique on Madison ave. It looks like one of those places you buy cemetery headstones, except that instead of headstones and wreaths they got perfume bottles!

  15. By all means, do so! :-)
    I am curious to see.

  16. Wow, I do not agree re. the Bond boutiques. Have you been to the flagship on Bond St.? Or the little jewel box next to Magnolia Bakery? It honestly is like stepping into fragrance heaven.

    Apparently the Brooklyn bottle has been so controversial, that now Bond is holding a bottle design competition for a NEW (or, additional?) Brooklyn bottle that they will actually put into production. Seems too good to be true. But if it is true...how cool. !


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