One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Unnecessary: Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Union Square

An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have.--Andy Warhol

I am generally a fan of Bond No. 9 line; I've enjoyed the great majority of the Bond scents I've tried, and even the ones I didn't care for struck me as interesting and novel. But every line has to have a few missteps.

The company has created a series of Andy Warhol scents; they're up to five now with their latest scent, Montauk (which I haven't tried). But I've worn the other four. Three of them were tremendous: my first exposure to a Bond scent was Lexington Avenue, a giddy gourmand which I flat-out adored, I loved Success is a Job in New York, a joyous homage to the eighties, and I wore the sixties-inspired Silver Factory so much I got sick of it.

But Union Square feels like a colossal misfire: a fruity floral that's so exaggerated, it's almost a parody of the category, which has dominated popular perfumery for so long now that it almost feels like a parody of itself. (The second of the Bond Warhols, it was released in 2008, which is kind of late to be jumping on a bandwagon that's been on the road for well over a decade.) The top of Union Square is a huge cartoon splat of wet fruit, appleish, melony, smelling for all the world like cheap candy dipped in toilet cleaner. Then the flowers, god help us; fake lily of the valley, artificial freesia, buckets of them, enormously synthetic--braggingly, peacockishly so.

There's presumably an end point to this, but I didn't stick around for it; the three times I put this on, I washed it off because I couldn't stand to have it poking at my olfactory cavities.

They have to have done this on purpose. They have to have created a big department-store fruity floral because everyone else had one. But why did they have to make it so dreadful?

The bottles are pure Warhol, and charming. But I cannot convince myself that he would have had anything to do with the contents.

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