3/28/13

Chez Bond (Bond no.9)



Reviewing a fragrance that is a near-exact replica of another fragrance is itself a superfluous exercise, which means I write this begrudgingly. Chez Bond is an excellent fresh-green fougère that smells extremely similar to Green Irish Tweed, and I'm not going to go nuts comparing the two because that's already been done to death elsewhere. The one thing I would stress is that Chez Bond's note pyramid is a bit of a sham. Because Bond uses blatantly synthetic chemicals and virtually no natural ingredients (none detectable, anyway), I'm reticent to concede the presence of raw materials like tea absolute, sandalwood oil, etc. And I can't be bothered to visit Givaudan's web site to pinpoint which expensive chemicals were used to simulate those materials, so take my word for it - Chez Bond has roughly three distinct notes, only two of which are obvious to the nose, and none smell very realistic. Yet the fragrance as a whole smells lovely, ever so unoriginally lovely.

The curious thing about Chez Bond is that it attempts to fill shoes than cannot be filled. Like Cool Water, Green Irish Tweed can never be improved upon or precisely duplicated. It is an inherently perfect structure of green apple, lemon verbena, iris, violet, violet leaf, octin esters, sandalwood, and ambergris. What Bond shows me is how well Creed uses naturals. Compared to Bond, GIT smells rich, three-dimensional, deep. It really moves, it radiates from skin, and it never smells tired. The use of esters enhances the violet effect, with that little smudge of woody Granny Smith acidity on top illuminating the lemon verbena, and lingering long enough to accent a smooth Ambroxan base. Synthetics are used, but they're harmoniously balanced with a few well-placed naturals, and the result is something of astonishing beauty. But Chez Bond doesn't attempt that harmony, striking off in the more single-minded direction of total reliance on synthetics, and therefore lacks the depth and complexity of its predecessor.

Chez Bond's sweet violet opening is paired with a minty dihydromyrcenol accord that recalls Quintessence's Aspen, and lingers for about ninety minutes on skin before slipping into a creamy sandalwood-tea base. The sandalwood is permanently tinged with sweet violet, and the milky tea note blends in so well that it seems to disappear. This creamy-sweet (and not-so-green) base is pretty much the last stop for Chez Bond, as the fragrance simply carries on with that accord for several hours before fading out. You can expect around nine hours of longevity during moderately-cool days with low humidity, and likely a bit less in balmier conditions. This is Bond at its simplest, a compact olfactory design that deigns to replicate the expansive breeziness of more popular fare without ever straying from the laboratory. It succeeds because Chez Bond smells really good, but still falls short of its template, and remains superfluous. It's fine if you want to save some money and still get the Creed effect, but that's what Cool Water is for. Just wear Green Irish Tweed or Cool Water (or Aspen) and move on.







2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the reference in your piece, Bryan. Common knowledge that Laurice Rahmé worked for Creed before starting Bond No 9, and Chez Bond was among her first offerings. Feel free to draw whatever conclusions you see fit.

    You hit this spot-on and eloquently.

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    Replies
    1. thanks Andrew, even after reading your piece on this one I was hoping it would be in some manner starkly different from GIT, but alas, the two are simply too close for comfort.

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