The Guest Nose: Bond No. 9 New York Amber


By Stefush

Okay, so Bond No. 9 has this new EDP called New York Amber. I know this because on a recent visit to NYC, I was at their shop during a ridiculous rainstorm that had me trying to huff strips while my clothing dripped all over the countertops.

New York Amber is not what I’d call an amber. It’s what I’d call a soup. Specifically, hot and sour soup from your favorite Chinese take-out place, complete with the added comfort whiff of the jasmine note standing in for the little plastic ladle they serve it with. Somehow this amber, with its predominant notes of oud, saffron and rose, comes out smelling exactly like the first course at the Szechuan Dragon.

Waiter, there's an oud in my soup!

Now, mind, I like this. It’s kinda cool to wear sprayable soup. Maybe I’m just remembering the “eat it or wear it” rule from my childhood. And my inner child has no problem with smelling like Szechuan take-out appetizers all damn day if he wants. And he will, because New York Amber has absolutely no intention of leaving the skin at all. Not even by the next morning, when, admittedly, no one wants to rock that sexy soup style.

The other odd thing about this new Bond is that it’s pretty linear -- that soupiness doesn’t really go anywhere, at least on me. There are some sandalwood and myrrh notes that arrive a little more on the drydown, but not by much. So I guess what you get at the end is the woody tang of the chopsticks you’ve been playing with while waiting for the broccoli beef platter to arrive...?

New York Amber is a fun spin on the usual gourmand trip: I don’t know many other fragrances that immediately bring soup to mind, but maybe that’s just an untapped marketing angle waiting to happen. (Tom Ford Tom Kah Gai, anyone?) But as a perfume, it’s a stretch. It doesn't seem like a scent that’s worth paying the near 300 dollars for a bottle -- it’s just not that complex. I’d say grab a sample like I did, enjoy the ride, then use that cash on a real meal so you can splurge on drinks and dessert.

New York Amber is available from Amazon.com and BondNo9.com starting at $264 for 1.7 oz

Looking for a fragrance recommendation? Visit Fume Finder: the Katie Puckrik Smells fragrance app.

Hot and sour soup via

33 comments:

  1. All your talk of soup has me hungry, Stefush, and not for New York Amber. The comparison puts me in mind of Tania Sanchez saying that Diorella smells like "Vietnamese beef salad."

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  2. Great review, Stefush! I don't know if I would pay that kind of money to smell like soup, though:) But the notes list is tempting.

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  3. New York Amber smells like soup. Diorella like vietnamese beef salad. However, have you noticed how Samsara smells like parsnips?

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  4. So that's what it reminded me of!! I tried it and didn't exactly hate it, though I knew that I wouldn't wear it. But I swear that in addition to the listed notes and the overall effect, I also smelled that little plastic ladle. Deal-breaker.

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  5. I got sprayed with this stuff a couple of months ago at Sak's. It was so heavy, dense and inescapable that it felt like I was dragging around amber drenched cannonballs all day. It should've been named 'Amber Anchor'.

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    1. Your image of your invisible yet real cannonballs tickles me.

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  6. Is this different from Harrod's Amber? Harrod's Amber is also not an amber -- it smells like the inside of a new shoe. Or maybe rose plus refrigerated air.

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    1. Maybe they were just trying to make Harrods Amber smell like the inside of Harrods.

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    2. Exactly what I was thinking.

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  7. Yikes, Stefush. The idea of a savory gourmand had me interested. Granted, more as a notion than an actual smells-like-food sort of thing. Kind of CdG Sherbet or Etat Libre Tilda Swinton. But your morning-after description shook me out of my little fantasy. Sillage and dry-down take on new meanings when the allusion is spilled or dribbled food.

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  8. Harrods Amber and NY Amber are the same!

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    1. Oh! Thanks for the clarification. We need to reconcile Stefush's hot & sour soup with Elisa's refrigerated rose shoe air.

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    2. Oh wow -- I was just doing a little (unrelated) research and just ran into this tidbit (from Perfume Shrine):

      "To a lesser degree the safraleine aromachemical can add a leathery tinge to perfumes. Evident in isolate of saffron, safraleine has an interesting smell ~ a combination of shoe polish/black cherry/air conditioning refrigerating fluid."

      Shoe polish, air conditioning and saffron?! Methinks Harrods/NY Amber must contain a hefty dose of safraleine...

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    3. Good olfactory forensics work!

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  9. I went to the prom with Safraleine, and this was back in the 80's okay, when everyone was like a Safreleine or a Wingspan or a Chantal. She was a good half a foot taller than I was, and I dealt with the shame of having my date standing imperiously over me during the slow dance, looking over my shoulder at the jocks all night.

    I'm not bitter.

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  10. Loved this review - it would seem that Christopher Brosius missed a trick here...

    Glad to get that clarfication about its being the same scent as Harrods Amber, which I had occasion to smell the other day - big thumbs down from me and my friend Tara, on card certainly.

    In fact that is the best thing about the Bond No 9 line in my experience - the perfume blotters double up quite nicely as emergency coasters.

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  11. I no longer have any desire to smell this but I am, indeed, starving.

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  12. Elisa--Wow! Good work. I now have a new word in my vocabulary.

    Stefush--It's okay, I'm 5'2" and I'll dance with you.

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    1. Got you beat, Nora - I'm 5' and maybe 1/4".

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  13. Vanessa--are there any Bond fragrances that you like? I recently tried "Chinatown" and loved it. And by recently, I mean in September.

    If nothing else, the bottle is very pretty!

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    1. Nora, not a one. I tolerate Chelsea Flowers, Bryant Park and Broadway Nite, but Chinatown is a Juicy Couture smell-a-likey no-no.

      The tulip one wasn't too bad, and I haven't explored the whole line, but by the law of averages you'd think I'd have lit upon a stunner by now.

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    2. It's a big smelly world out there, anyway. I hope you find awesome treasures soon!

      I went to my local farmers' market recently and a very sweet lady who sells tiny perfume bottles had something that I purchased called "Ecusson." Wasn't familiar with it, but it smelled great. I love finding unexpected awesomeness.

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    3. Chinatown is my idea of successful excess.

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    4. Nora, my next door neighbour wore Ecusson on her Wedding Day! Never heard anyone else mention it...

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  14. I am shocked to hear all these comments and could not disagree more!

    I have been searching for the perfect amber perfume and finally found it while browsing at my local Bond Saks counter here in Ohio.

    I became familiar with the line and was informed by the rep that NY Amber as well as the entire Bond No 9 line is the #1 selling fragrance in Saks;

    New York Amber has the perfect combo of amber , oud and a hint of saffron; it works beautifully on the skin, and warms me up like a warm cashmere sweater!

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  15. To anyone intrigued by this scent who is not a Bond No. 9 rep, I recommend trying Youth Dew Amber Nude, a much cheaper and, I think, more successful version of the same kind of idea (sheer sort-of-amber with floral, fruity, and leathery facets, almost an osmanthus).

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    1. I have it on good authority that the Number 1 selling fragrance in Harrods is Roja Dove's new Oud scent. Whether by volume or value I don't know, but I just toss this titbit of news out there as it also has an oud angle!

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  16. "Number 1 selling," doesn't go far with me. Britney Spears has sold a ton of albums, her music must be great, right?

    I'm not a big amber fan, and actually, Stefush's comments about smelling like a pot of soup sounded more interesting to me.

    I guess I do like gourmands as long as they don't make me smell like a big, fat gingerbread or a Yankee candle.

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  17. This Bond NO.9 amber is a bit crude,Vintage Versilia ambra mediterranea by Profumi Del Forte is an awesome amber.

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  18. I'm with Nora on this also - "Number One Selling" in Perfumeland sadly equals the MOST SAFE AND BORING AND CLEAN AND FRESH AND SAFE AND BORING scent you can wear in the men's fragrance department.

    Somewhere in the Afterlife, God Himself will anoint me with oil as a reward from the damage that the House of Armani trots out as wearable scent.

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  19. Hmmm No.1 selling in the Roja Dove boutique in Harrods. I recently went in to another shop in that area and went up to a really, high-priced niche concession, which also had a strong Oudh perfume. The assistant, in her introduction, basically said it was a scent to worn in middle-east climates and designed to be sold to the super-rich, middle-eastern clientele of Knightsbridge. I would expect Harrods, in its perfume boutique and not its standard dept, to be similarly looking to exploit what I presume are the tastes of its richest clients, and I would contextualise any such status given to any perfume sold in the store, in terms of sales, in terms of that, and I mean that with no disrespect to anyone's perfumery tastes. To give further context to the price that the boutique can have as standard, it is the only place in London where I have seen MDCI parfums stocked.

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