For a long time, I considered Chinatown (***) by Bond n°9 a sort of “olfactory experiment”, one of those interesting to smell but absolutely unwearable things, that niche houses make to get a few posts on fragrance blogs.
Yesterday, out of curiosity, I tried it again and I suddently fell in love with it. I smell a lot of wonderful notes, all at a time: amber, something fresh and citrusy, maybe bergamot, cardamom (a huge dose), honey, sandal and peach, most of which are not listed in the olfactory pyramid.

The official notes are: peach blossom (the flower, not the fruit) gardenia, patchouli and cardamom.

I smell a lot of cardamom and some whiffs of tuberose. And that’s all. If there is some patchouli, how did they manage to soften it to the point it smells like sandal !? A secret of the art of Aurelien Guichard, and of the logic that guides marketing experts when they write olfactory pyramids, which are never the actual formula of the fragrance, but what they hope customers will smell in it.  Most formulas would not be very poetic, actually, and totally unreadable without a degree in chemisty: urantiol, aldeide C16, ambroxan, norlimbanol metabetuilWTFionone…

Bond n°9 has chosen to name their fragrances after New York neighborhoods. As they did all of them, I expect their new ones to be named after blocks. For this reason, such an exotic marvel is called Chinatown. As I’ve never been to Manatthan, I’m basing my opinion on London’s and Milan’s Chinatowns: they smell of dusty asphalt, like all central neighborhoods in big cites plus fried oil from restaurants and a very tiny bit of spice. I don’t think Chinatown has anything to do with real chinese neighborhoods in western cities.

It’s a wonderful, entincing and imaginary Far East, seen only in the most spectacular representations of Puccini’s Turandot, like the ones one sees in Verona’s Arena. It’s an expecially delicate and opulent area of the Realm of Dreams.

And the bottle is irresistible.