Bond No. 9 Lexington Avenue

First: a word about art and money. Mediocre works with outrageous price tags are going to get (deservingly) harsher criticism. (Looking at you, Soup Can Man!) Arrogantly priced houses should be held to a higher standard. One as expensive as Bond No. 9 ($205 for 100mL) had better be bottled transcendence. I’ve tried a dozen or so of theirs, most of which weren’t anything special, and precious few could justify their price tag. That being said, I’d fork over the cash for this masterpiece in a New York minute.

It’s been compared to Serge Luten’s aggressively spiced Feminite du Bois, but Lexington Avenue strikes a balance between invigorating and comforting. Resinous blue cypress paired with fennel, similar to anise or licorice, for a bracing foundation. They balanced it with cozy gourmand notes of toasted almond and “crème brulée” over creamy sandalwood. Neither side of this spectrum would work alone, but together the result is incredible! A little olfactive alchemy and you’ve got creamy spiced woods woven with traces of peony. Perfectly wearable with a fascinating something that surprises you, catches your interest, and keeps you coming back.

Notes fluctuate but none of them take over or fade away completely. Generally the more resinous elements stand out in the opening, and softer gourmand side sets the tone hours later. Bond No.9’s eau de parfum formulations are even richer than the average edp, so the longevity’s wonderful, lasts 8 to 10 hours easily. Sillage is moderate on cooler days, but in warm weather that spice can fill the whole room. It’s hard to test due to Bond No.9’s limited distribution, but if you find Lexington Avenue, just close your eyes, pretend you didn’t see the hideously kitsch shoes all over the bottle, spritz, and experience … transcendence.

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