Launched as a homage to the Big Apple, Bond No. 9 is creating fragrances that capture and celebrate the unique neighborhoods of New York City. Contributor LESLIE SCOCCA CROFT checks in at the Bond Street location, takes a spin around the city in the famous Bond Mobile, and chats with founder Laurice Rahmé about why ‘Private Blendings’ and personal service are the next conversation in luxury perfumery.
Photograph: via Bella NYC
Of all the changes to New York City since 9-11, perhaps none is more haunting than the little boutique at No. 9 Bond Street. Described as “homage to a great city,” the Perfumery popped up in the wake of the September 11 attacks and portends to “mark every New York neighborhood with a scent of its own.” Names like “Wall Street” and “Coney Island” are bejeweled into a panacea of fragrances where Oud or Agarwood, Ylang-Ylang and Amber have immigrated into the popular culture and psyche of Americana.
A makeshift Bibliothéque of books on New York City neighborhoods (there’s even one on the history of fragrance) are surrounded by signature flacons and perfume stations at No. 9 Bond Street. Indeed, one is encouraged to peruse the treasure whilst positioned in the atmospheric of silks, exotic fragrances and academia. I query the challenges inherent in launching a business in the post 9-11 era, and Bond No. 9 Founder Laurice Rahmé explains “In the wake of September 11, my love affair with fragrance became a true passion. This tragic event became the catalyst for me to make New York smell good again. We created fragrances to celebrate the city’s unbreakable spirit, energy and dynamism.”
“The main concept at Bond No. 9,” Rahmé continues, “is to restore artistry to perfumery. While each fragrance is unique, all share something in common with this city. They have an edge. They have a kick-savvy assurance that says: Yes. This is the place to be. The scent to wear.” And we agree. Not just because her collection of 50+ fragrances share a gritty, mettlesome quality that challenges conventional notions about luxury fragrances, but moreover because Rahmé has created a venue in which to custom-blend your very own fragrance! This exclusive, made-from-scratch technique captures the essence of an individual, a particular New York address, or even a memorable, personal experience. Alternatively, the “Do-It-Yourself” Custom Blending combines two or more of the extant scents into a unique pairing (Try “Oud” + “Little Italy” for the Wow-Factor). Dispensed from the Pour-It-Yourself vitrines in each store, you can then put the fragrance into a ready-to-use pump spray bottle, or select a spectacular vintage flacon of your very own. Private Bond—the world’s first Mix-At-Home Fragrance System—enables the consumer to concoct, experiment with and create their very own fragrance right at home.
Bond No. 9 fragrance experts always begin by asking about your favorite scents (Musk, Floral, Woods, Citrus, et. al.) to determine which existing fragrances will mix together best to create your signature scent. Rahmé explains “You need to fall in love with a fragrance, and then fall deeper in love with it as I wear it. Fragrance is the psyche’s calling card. Its your ultimate signature.”
Once an exclusive tradition of the French aristocracy, Laurice Rahmé’s love affair with fragrance began when she met legendary fragrance designer Annick Goutal. Her mentor to this day, Rahmé was smart enough to align herself with a distinct leader in the fragrance industry in 2003 as she confronted the online, mass merchandising conundrum facing the luxury fragrance business. “What I learned from Goutal remains my strongest inspiration. Creating a superb fragrance is like a love story: It’s a process of dialogue. A shared vision. Trust. And the desire to create something unique and spectacular.” If we’ve learned anything since 9-11, it is the importance that point-of-view has and continues to play in the human story. Bond’s Private Blending for me—spicy, green and stunning—helped me to find my own.
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