Shopping at Bond No.9 in New York: Stuck Up Clerks, Do Not Buy Bond Online & More

One of the great parts about living in New York, is the ability to visit Flagship stores or boutique locations of fine fragrance retailers. In my opinion if you truly want to understand the values and essence of a brand, there is no better option short of maybe meeting the founder in a private shopping experience followed by question and answer. In the case of Bond No. 9, I have had the luxury of both. Today’s post will focus on the shopping experience at Bond No.9 as a regular off the street customer and perhaps in a later post, I will detail the latter experience.  I did not disclose that I was a perfume blogger or whether or not I intended to buy a perfume that day.

Stuck-Up Store Clerks, Bond St. vs. Bleecker Street:  There are four Bond No. 9 stores in New York proper however, I have only been to two of them, the flag ship store on Bond street and the location on Bleecker Street. Most people seem to prefer to the flagship store due to it’s grandeur, size and of course iconic status as the place where it all started but I personally much prefer the Bleecker Street location despite it’s much much smaller size.


For starters, it’s located near several other fragrance stores (including Jo Malone and Annick Goutal which is right next door) so if you’re not committed to purchasing a fragrance from Bond or even if you are, it’s nice to be able to explore other options and compare shopping experiences.  Another reason, I love this location is the customer service experience. Unlike at the flagship store, which perhaps due to it’s status and visibility, where it seemed that the sales people only cared about closing the deal and were extremely stuck up in my opinion, both store clerks at Bleecker Street were laid-back but friendly. It felt like going over a close female friend’s house and looking through her perfume collection. I felt like a person not a customer. Having said that, if you do find yourself in New York, I highly recommend purchasing a scent from Laura, she is such a genuinely happy and calming spirit. She’s very knowledgeable about fragrances (Bond and otherwise) but never pushy or sale-sy.

Do Not Buy Online I know especially nowadays it can be tempting to smell perfumes in store than purchase online but with Bond I strongly suggest purchasing in store or at least off of the official Bond website if you must shop online. Why? Once you purchase a Bond perfume, you become a member of the highly coveted Bond Insider’s club. This means free samples, personalized invites to exclusive in-store events and even previews of scents not yet released. Another perk to shopping in store, is that there is a lot less oversight over samples and freebies if you catch my drift. For example, a few weeks back Bond had a promo for a free purse spray with the purchase of any full-size fragrance, and a little bird told me, that there may be some excess purse sprays lying around just waiting to be gifted (for free) to the right perfume enthusiast…you can thank me later hahaha!

Buy With Caution:  Be warned, items bought in store can only be exchanged or returned for store credit. Given the price tag on Bond No. 9 Perfumes this might seem a little scary, but the store clerk at the Bleecker street location was more than willing to give me several samples to ensure that I had adequate time to test the scents on my skin before purchasing. Having said that, this is definitely a drawback. Sephora in contrast, allows returns of anything no matter how much you have used. This type of return policy sounds costly to retailers but in the long run I actually think it’s to the benefit of the store because it encourages consumers to spend more impulsively and I read somewhere that this also has the dual benefit of bringing consumers back into your store (return one item buy four more).
Lotions: While in store, I had the opportunity to try the Bond No. 9 Queens Body Lotion/Cream and it is AMAZING. I can only attest for that particular formula but it is honestly one of the best lotions I’ve ever tried and definitely the best perfumed lotion hands down. It was fragrant, creamy and melted absolutely MELTED into my skin. The smell lasted ALL DAY like literally six plus hours of walking around New York and unlike other perfumed lotions I’ve tried it didn’t leave sticky residue on my skin. I bought a perfumed body cream from Jo Malone a few years ago and this blows that’s out of the water HANDS DOWN.


My first visit to Le Labo & Santal 33 (Justin Bieber’s Cologne) Review

I walked into Le Labo a bit frazzeled the Monday after attending my dear friends wedding where I was a bridesmaid. Initially, I had no intentions of perfume shopping (or really doing much of anything other than recover from the weekend and read Kinfolk before rushing to my bus (yes I take the bus, what can I say, I’m a grad student and I spend all of my train/flight money on perfume). Alas, as I sat on my boyfriend’s couch and passively watched television, I googled perfume shops near by (as I always do) and what to my wandering eyes did appear but a Le Labo store less than a mile away.

It was obviously fated.  I quickly made myself decent (which consisted of attempting to comb the remnants of my bridesmaid updo into a presentable top bun, adding a dab of mascara to combat the naked mole rat look I seem to always have in the morning) and rushed out the door.

There is shopping for perfume and then there is visiting Le Labo. To put the Le Labo shopping experience into anything but a cateogory all on its own would do a disservice to both the brand and its lovely employees. I walked in the store and loudly proclaimed “It’s my first time here!” unable to hide my excitement. The lovely perfumer running the store at the time (Olive) said “welcome! I’m so glad you’re here.” The period on her response is intentional. The period implies what I felt- that Olive was genuinely glad I was here and that this wasn’t a sentence recited from an HR guidebook (which we all know would have ended in an exclamation point and come across a lot less genuine).

Olive then asked me what type of scents I normally wear (in my head I was thinking “girl if you only knew! I wear like five scents a day, often different scents each day”) but I told her I was a lover of perfume and wanted to smell them all. She laughed good heartedly and explained to me how I could try all the perfumes I wanted and that she suggested I compare the different forms they offer (solid, candle, oil etc).

After several minutes of smelling and spraying and laughing with Olive, I decided I liked the Jasmin 17 the best. I also couldn’t resist the discovery kit which allowed me to sample several other scents as well.  As I told Olive I wanted the Jasmine, I casually mentioned that I was visiting DC from New York.

Olive incorrectly but sweetly assumed I was flying back to New York (see previous bus comments) and inquired if it would be better to opt for a smaller size (perfume oil) to serve the dual purpose of avoiding checking a bag and sampling the fragrance longer.  I really appreciated both thoughts and loved that she wasn’t trying to pressure me into buying a larger size or a fragrance I couldn’t love. Other perfume sales teams could take a few notes. That’s the kind of customer service that keeps customers going back!

Review: 

If you’re unsure which scent to buy I highly recommend the discovery kit, that’s what I did- you get to try five of their most popular scents and at $30 bucks it’s a significantly lower price point than the larger sized bottles.  You can also order samples of any of the scents in quantities of one off the website.

Santal 33: This is probably Le Labo’s most famous scent. I was told that Justin Beiber (rolls eyes) wears it. I’ll be honest, when I smelled Santal in store on the sample paper I did not like it at all. I thought the woody notes completely over powered the rest of the fragrance and thought to myself- who wants to smell like campfire wood. This is what the hype is about? However, in preparation for this post, I sprayed this on myself one morning and wore it throughout the day.  I could not stop smelling my skin. As is the case with most Le Labo scents (and to be quite frank any scent worth anything at all), you must must must test it on your skin before drawing any conclusions. Having said that, now I am completely enamored. The iris and violet blend seamlessly with the sandalwood, papyrus and cedar wood. The cardamon adds a nuttiness and depth to the dry down that is simply divine. This smells like the guy at the bar your mother warned you about but you smile at anyway. Better yet, this smells like what happens when said guy at said bar defies your mothers expectations, becomes your lover and takes you out for a smoky cocktail in the East Village.  It’s a bit too masculine for me but I will definitely be trying to convince my boyfriend to give this a go.

Notes: Cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox, Australian sandalwood, papyrus, cedarwood

The discovery kit also includes: Bergamote 22, Rose 31, The Noir 29 and Veltiver 46. Please let me know if you would like a review. 

In addition to the discovery kit, I also purchased Jasmin 17, which was my favorite of all the scents I tried. Please let me know if you would like a review. 

Have you tried Le Labo? Which one? What did you think? How was your shopping experience?

Review: Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede



Fragrance Type: Floral. Straight up Floral.

Fragrance Notes: 

“The essence of charm. Peonies in voluptuous bloom, exquisitely fragile. Flirtatious with the juicy bite of red apple and the opulence of jasmine, rose and gillyflower. Mingling with the sensuality of soft, blush suede. Luxurious and seductive.” (From Jomalone.com)

First Impression: yuuuuummmm!

Where to Wear:  This is one of my go to scents. I’ve worn it on dates, to class and to work. Jo Malone fragrances are meant to be combined and layered, which means you can dress this one up or down. For everyday usage, I typically wear it alone but to make it last a little longer and to smell a little sexier, I recommend layering with Jo Malone Grapefruit or another floral scent.

Who Loves This: Graduate students who want to smell nice without offending fellow students, a good perfume for women who don’t like loud perfumes

Lasting Power: Lasts for a good 3-4 hours, this is one you want to carry in your purse.

You Might Also Like: Grapefruit by Jo Malone

Overall Rating: 5/5 

What do you think? Do you agree with me do you love Peony & Blush Suede?

Top 5 Vanilla Fragrances

All vanillas are not the same. There are Mexican, Tahitian, Bourbon and French Vanilla beans just to name a few. With so many natural variations of vanilla why limit yourself to only one vanilla fragrance?

Top 5 Vanilla Scents

1. LaVanilla Pure Vanilla-a beautiful mix of vanilla, tonka bean and patchouli. Beware  many people complain about this scent being one dimensional, buuuut that’s kind of the point. It’s called pure vanilla *blank stare.* Anyway, this is one of my favorite scents of all time and it’s a great base to warm up other scents especially in the winter.

2. Vanilla Lace by Victoria’s Secret- Vanilla and musk in a bottle, straight up. They’ve changed the formula slightly in the past few years less musk more vanilla, much to the dismay of many perfume aficionados, but it still smells great to me. Extra points for being so affordable. Perfect for women of all ages.

3. Sugar Dipped Vanilla by Carol’s Daughter– smells just like Aqoulina Pink Sugar mixed with a Vanilla cupcake. Yuuuum.

4. Island Vanilla by Pacifica- A nice variation on a classic vanilla. Smells just like a vanilla coconut ice-cream cone.

5. L’Occitane Vanilla Eau de Toilette-a warm musky vanilla, more sophisticated than Vanilla Lace. Just imagine walking down the streets of Leon, France on a cool summer night, this is the scent you want trailing behind you as you snag your beau. The lasting power totally facilitates this possibility.

Honorable Mention: Warm Vanilla Sugar by Bath and Body Works 

 

What are you favorite vanillas? Have you tried any of my Top 5?

Forbidden Euphoria by Calvin Klein

“Possessing an innate confidence and sophistication, she is just starting to explore her sexuality. What she doesn’t yet know is that she already is every man’s fantasy.”- Sephora.com

Fragrance Type: Fruity Floriental

Fragrance Notes:

Top Notes: sparkling mandarin, passion fruit and iced raspberry
Middle Notes: tiger orchid and jasmine
Base notes: patchouli, musks, and wood

First Impression: This is meant to be a younger version of Euphoria by Calvin Klein, however this smells nothing like the original Euphoria. I loooooved this fragrance initially but the dry down smells too spicy. I hate feeling like a food dish instead of the sultry sudectress that I am. The top notes are beautiful but unfortunately they don’t last very long (think 15-20 minutes). This is standard but usually the mid/bottom notes are the part of the fragrance I most enjoy so it doesn’t bother me as much as it does with Forbidden Euphoria. I associate Calvin Klein with unique androgenous fragrances so I found Forbidden Euphoria to be very blase blase. It’s a decent enough fragrance but nothing special.

Where to Wear:
Light enough to wear during the day, but too heavy to wear around the office, not impressionable enough to wear at night

Who Loves This: 20 somethings, girl’s that want to smell “sexy” but are too afraid to wear a bolder fragrance like Shalimar by Guerlain or Angel by Thierry Mugler

Lasting Power: Lasts all day long (6-7 hours)

You Might Also Like: Betsey Johnson Too Too, Nanette by Nanette Lapore (smells very similar even though the notes are very different *kanye shrug*)

Overall Rating: 3/5 ( if I was just rating the top notes it would be a 5/5 *sad face* for the dry down)

Have you tried Forbidden Euphoria? What do you think? Would you buy this fragrance? Have you tried the original Euphoria? Which do you prefer?