Saks Fifth Avenue For Her by Bond No. 9 {Perfume Short (Review)} {New Fragrance/Advance Review}

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It all starts with an explosion of deleterious flowers and indoles both glamorous and surrealistic like the image of a Vogue model from the 1950s sitting on a skaï couch in a fashion atelier painting her nails, her head having been replaced by a gigantic bouquet of feathery gardenias, tuberoses, and jasmines. You are dazzled by the olfactory intensity and cannot distinguish her features any more. You are intoxicated by the tuberose and feel like you are drinking tuberose vodka on the rocks. A faint whiff of pure gasoline mounts from the street 13 floors below. On top of that the model is wearing mink around her neck and it is the middle of summer. You are wondering what she is doing exactly and if you have not landed in a time warp.

Saks Fifth Avenue for Her by Bond No.9, which will come out this fall, is both perfectly tailored and exuberant, then enigmatic. It starts full throttle and keeps amazing you with its originality and beauty. The tropical blooms have a hypnotic, psychedelic quality to them before they take you by the hand and lead you into a soft-smelling green jungle that is full of obscure parts and punctuated with pools of oniric light........


Photo "Hat & 5 Roses" by William Klein, 1956.
When we first heard about the upcoming release by Bond no 9 of a duo of scents for Saks Fifth Avenue, we expected classic, well-done, and risk-free scents to grace their counters. What a surprise! Saks Fifth Avenue For Her (Saks Fifth Avenue for Him review is to follow tomorrow) is replete with creativity, unusual accords and atmosphere. Interestingly, Bond No. 9 who is usually very detailed in their note descriptions offered a succinct olfactory pyramid this time and refrained from giving out any psychological hints as they usually do by calling a note “mischievous” or “wild”, say. The cut-and-dried description is deceptive: top notes of jasmine and tuberose; heart note of gardenia; notes of vetiver and vanilla. It is just the sketch of a scent that is much more complex in reality. The familiar notes have been rendered with unusual facets being chiseled out of them. The press release says “Saks Fifth Avenue For Her signals the return of the classic gardenia eau de parfum, given a chic contemporary twist with the addition of sparkling jasmine and vetiver, along with smooth vanilla. This all-white bouquet captures the fashion-forward essence of 21st century Saks, while at the same time expressing the eclectic downtown spirit of  NoHo-based Bond No.9” The fragrance does offer a classic feel, but only for a brief moment or we would have to redefine the notion of “classic”. If this is a new conception of classicism, we are all for it.

Saks for Her is a beautiful and mysterious perfume. From the initial floral fireworks that slowly fades into a very original and subtle jasmine and root-y, iris accord to our nose, colored butter yellow and violet and mauve to the dry-down that is indefinably secret, vegetal, and smells superlatively good, one finds oneself uttering a “Wow!” towards the end of the development as our admiration for the scent goes crescendo. Both Saks perfumes were created by perfumer Michel Almairac.

If we did not have a scent description, we would have thought that the perfume was built on a central and unusual accord of jasmine and iris, the vibrant, yellow, solar quality of the jasmine being contrasted with the muted pastel silk-like quality of orris. Bond no. 9 does mention another root, vetiver, but not iris. Our impulse however was to think that we should alert iris lovers to this scent. We do pick on vetiver but it smells iris-like at the same time. As the perfume progresses the mysterious tropical atmosphere of the scent suggestive of an emerald-green primeval jungle is reinforced by a very original impression, once more, of a refined sensual banana scent with both green and yellow facets. If you thought that anything with banana in it could ever be subtle, complex, and sophisticated, you would be proven wrong in this case. The banana facet is both creamy and fresh and delectable.

The dry-down is even more mysterious, evolving with facets of soft banana, bread, fresh coconut jam, an indefinable vegetal accord with a subdued sappy quality, with some of the leathery nuances of tuberose and gardenia peaking through. Tonka bean with its, also, leathery and smoky facets later lingers on the skin. There is a tinge of pepperiness and woodiness. It is difficult to analyze and if only for this reason, is fascinating. The vanilla smells more like the natural leathery, caramel-y, and slightly watery bean than powdery vanillin, reinforcing once more the evocation of a sophisticated tropical environment. It is not a sillage scent by the end, but a skin scent with medium range. It is very well constructed because however much we apply of the scent, it keeps its finely attuned balance.

Saks Fifth Avenue for Her is a fragrance that appears free of stereotypes, a rare feat at any point in time, but especially these days. It smells moreover wonderful. Somehow it feels both tropical and very New York. Maybe because New York is a little bit like a jungle, an asphalt jungle. A perfume so beautiful, you could call it torture.

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I ADORE this perfume. Forget the rest of the white flower scents. This one is IT!

  2. I bet it would smell great in New York. But not in the real asphalt jungle in the third world country like mine. It just felt wrong. ^_^


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