Bond No. 9 Chinatown

...perfect for a My Little Pony playgroup -- or a day at the ballpark.

Fume connoisseurs are generally enthusiastic about Bond No. 9 Chinatown. C-townies enjoy its playfulness, its quirkiness, its sophisticated vamp on the teen-honored drugstore fruity floral. Detractors, however, find it hard to make a distinction between Chinatown and the Juicy Couture-style juicebox frags that precede it on the family tree. The grumblers have a point. If genetically-engineered fruit and bionic candy are specifically what you're trying to avoid by shopping niche, you're not going to be pleased to see it popping up in your $200 bottle of perfume, no matter how groovily underscored with an odd lacquered wood accord. But even if “flirty” (Sephora code for “fruity floral”) isn't your favorite flavor of funk, you've still gotta admit that Chinatown is pretty effectively insouciant. Jaunty, even, as it guffs forth from the wearer in a magenta cloud of “wheee!”. C-town devotee carlyannemckay had this to say on MakeUpAlley:
I found my signature scent. Chinatown, I am yours and you are mine forever. It drives me absolutely mad. This one is all me. The scent itself is a yin-yang: sweet yet brazen, delicious yet dangerous, warm yet isolating, moody yet cheerful. I love it, it is addictive. I want everything I own to smell like it. I crave it all day. I spray with total abandon. It makes me feel reckless, yet so comforted and safe. I am in love and lust and most of all wonder at this ever-evolving, changing scent. Pure artistry in a bottle. I am ecstatic! P.S. It's never good when your husband tells you he can't wait for that bottle to be empty...
Talk about yin-yang! Can't the husband just delight in her delight? Look at her -- she's ecstatic, buddy! Fumies, which "you-in-a-bottle" scents drive your dear ones to near tears?
Chinatown is available from, starting at $150 for 50ml


  1. Well I'm not sure I've ever liked anything that much, although flourless chocolate cake does come close. But I do love my Amouge Lyric Woman and, lately, Agent Provacateur.

    p.s. Some husbands are threatened by rampant perfume mania, or so I've heard.

  2. Oh, Katie. I came close to retrying Chinatown. You made me consider it. Actually, Dan wearing it to a ballgame brought me to the brink.

    But I just can't.

    I still remember how much it hurt...a nose torture analogous to a sensitive tooth being assaulted by sweets. Of course, I wasn't prepared that time...I was going in "blind," and had no idea what sweet sap awaited...but still...the memory... .

    But that's just me. A hearty hear, hear to guys wearing what they want. Whether to eat bratwurst at the ballgame or brave Puccini at the opera. And gals. And whoever. Not a fan of gender limits. Serves marketing and paranoia more than anything.

    LOL @ "insouciant." Love that word. But I'd swear that devil Chinatown was totally out to get air of studied insouciance, perhaps, a feigned indifference, maybe...but really, a laser intent to gouge my brain. ;)

  3. My husband just hated Coromandel, but that wasn't a real conflict since I didn't adore it either. I think he is just amused at my fondness for Virgin Island Water, not understanding why sometimes I want to smell like a daquiri. But sometimes I do! Most of the time he humours my constant requests to "smell my wrist."

  4. I think I'll traipse a wide detour around this one although there are several by Bond No.9 that I like...New Haarlem, for example. "Flirty" is just not me. Sephora code--love that? Got any more of those?

    My husband, who is quite a sensitive nose as it turns out, doesn't always appreciate my favorites (AG Heure Exquise, Kenzo Flower Oriental, L'AP Timbuktu) but prefers Sung by Sung and RL Safari.

  5. Funny you should post this now because I bravely walked into Saks a week ago and tried a teensy little spritz of Chinatown and....I still can't wear it! Candied peachblossom, tuberose, patchouli, vanilla overload. I love the bottle but the scent hurts my nose. I guess I'm staying in the detractor camp this time around.

    As for which scents drive my loved ones to tears, well, I guess I'm pretty lucky. My son wears fragrance every day. My husband thinks that everything I wear smells good. The only one who complains is my father, but that's because he thinks all perfume stinks. Or because he thinks it's frivolous. Or because complaining is fun, which it kinda is, the way he does it.

  6. queen cupcake, it took me ages to figure out what the hell "flirty" meant when applied to perfume. Especially since it's usually applied to scents I find face-squinchingly painful. When I realized "fruity floral" was the common denominator, the air was cleared. Or not, unfortunately.

    kjanicki, I do that "smell me now!" command to my husband, too, which is an exercise in disappointment for both of us. He gives me "so what?" face just about every time.

    Olfacta, those are 2 gorgeous roses, for sure!

    ScentScelf, sorry to hear of your Chinatown-induced PTS.

  7. Haha, m61: "complaining is fun". The people who think that are the kind of people I find it fun to complain about.

    Your son is a very enlightened, evolved being for a young'un. Good job!

  8. Oh, but you gotta hear the way my father complains. At 79 years old, with the forbidding facial expressions, the growly voice and his 5'4" stature, he mostly provokes smiles. You wouldn't complain.

  9. m61, you could be describing my dad!

  10. In the hopes of getting my sister hitched to the perfume bandwagon I've shoved a multitude of samples to her nose. This was the only one that lit her fire. So much so, she had a to get a bottle asap. She did for her birthday which was just a couple of weeks away from the initial smell- luckily my mom and I went in together for the bottle. Like carleyannemckay, my sister has used the word "craves" when talking about this perfume. I've never seen her so excited about a perfume (her one and only has been Chanel Coco for years). However, I'm glad she enjoys it so much because it makes gift giving that much easier.

  11. my man is very interested in perfumes (yay!) but he generally knows what notes he likes, as do i, and sadly they rarely coincide.

    at least "rarely" isn't "never". =) he always offers to buy me FB of things i love and i'm like, "NO! we must stalk this cautiously for weeks on end, compare unit prices with online decants, blah blah."

    all in all we manage to get along scent-wise.

    but, along the lines of carlyannemckay's husband's thinking, i'll be HAPPY the day he finishes his clinique HAPPY aftershave.

  12. aestheticcoo, sounds like you were the playground pusher in this instance. It's very rewarding when the perfume lightbulb finally goes off.

    xaryax, I'm like you: a cautious stalker.

  13. None of the Bonds and I get along - there are a few that are just "okay" for me and Chinatown is one of those. But I'm not paying $200 for "okay" - at least it didn't want to make me saw my arm off to get away like Little Italy (hot tar and cat pee) or Saks for Her (magnolias covered in fecal matter). I do like the Chinatown bottle though and covet it. I so wanted to like Chinatown, but it's just not all that on me.

    I wonder if Bond has their own equivalent of Guerlainade - some underlying base that just doesn't do anything for me. Not that Guerlainade does nothing for me - because it so does.

    As for things that my husband hates - he's not real fond of anything overtly masculine, so he hates my Dirty English - but it's not a true favorite of mine either so that doesn't really count. When I first got into perfume, I really liked Pink Sugar (I had to give my last half bottle away after my tastes changed) and he detested that one.

    Mostly, my perfume gets divided into two categories for him - it's okay and he doesn't remark on it (most stuff) or Rawr! What's that? I love that! (Epic Woman, Citizen Queen, Alien Liqueur - pretty much all my stuff with hints of smuttiness).

  14. Katie you look GORGEOUS in this vid! :)

    Chinatown seems to me like a magical fairytale that captivated me as a child. Nothing specific comes to mind but it definitely has this innocence with underlying mystery/darkness about it. Fascinating.

    Oh please try Herve Leger by Herve Leger. It's a gem of a perfume and not many people know it but it is feminity in a bottle in my opinion. Not related to Chinatown in any way.. just a random suggestion.

    Love your review as always! :)

  15. Cynthia, now I want to revisit Saks for Her. You sure can sell a scent! My stars, you've gone from Pink Sugar to Citizen Queen - talk about a stretch. You husb sounds like he has great taste.

    Lily, thanks for your capital compliment! I will seek out HL.

  16. Okay, I have to chime in here. Saks for Her smells like coconut & snuffed out candles to me; there's nothing fecal about it. I don't really like it, but it's an inoffensive suntan lotion kind of fragrance. Then again, I don't get anything skanky from Amaranthine or Manoumalia, either, so what do I know?

  17. occhineri, we are certainly building up a complicated olfactory profile for Saks for Her. The intrigue builds.

  18. @Cynthia I agree with Katie, Saks for Her sounds awesomely interesting from your description!

    @occhineri hm... noe it sounds less interesting though more socially acceptable. snuffed-out candles is an evocative image.

  19. Just the word "fruity" turns me off, but luckily I didn't read the reviews before getting a Bon Bon. I normally wear ambery, woodsy fragrances, but this one knocks me out, in a very lovingly way. Now I find myself wearing it for all occasions - work working out, nights out, bedtime, and even before a recent surgery.

    But I would be so so sad if Bond made a rollerball for teenagers. If I smelled Chinatown on my babysitter (who has a deep penchant for all the Benefit fragrances), I'd stop wearing it immediately. I'm snobby like that...

  20. Steffee - s'funny how context is all part of perfume appreciation. "If the babysitter likes it, how good can it be?" I guess my rollerball wish is a general expression of my yearning for teens to venture forth from the Benefit/Juicy/Daisy cul-de-sac...or at least for them to have the curiosity about perfume to do so.

  21. I was a teenager in the 90s, and my friends and I all thought that those dumb "bohemian" shops that sell synthetic cheap synthetic oils and cheap synthetic stick incense were the very epitome of cool. Yeah, that's right "Dragon Blood," AWESOME.

    I finally got to try this one, and it reminds me of that kind of store, only grown up and beautiful. It's as though you took a moon pie and somehow turned it into a pastry you'd buy on a street in Paris.

    How beautiful. And what a mistake for my wallet.

    Also, my husband is pretty open-minded with his fragrances, and surprisingly enough, we tend to agree on what we like and don't like. He'll go for something that's in-your-face like Angel, he just doesn't want to be bored. I'm lucky!

  22. Oh Nora, that's so it: a Parisian moon pie.