A Walk in The Park – Bond No. 9 Central Park West Perfume Review

Central Park West

“A grand perfume for a grand neighbourhood.”

Bond No. 9 is the Octomom of the niche fragrance world – they just keep popping ’em out. This spring they will be releasing a total of six, that’s right SIX new fragrances, two of which are inspired by New York City as per the norm and four of which will be joining their I Love New York Collection.

I have been pretty vocal on my thoughts of Bond No. 9 and I stand by the fact that they have more misses than hits, perhaps due to the fact that they have released a whopping 64 fragrances since their inception in 2003, and that a lot of perfumes in the line are derivative, not to mention that they are the worst offenders when it comes to vomiting Swarovski crystals on to perfume bottles… They remind me of the line in the poem about the little girl with the little curl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; “And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.”

But that’s not to say that there aren’t any good Bond’s. There are in fact a good few that I would deem bottle worthy; Silver Factory is a remarkably cold and metallic incense, Chinatown is a work of genius (why don’t I own a bottle?) and I will always regret swapping away my beloved bottle of Fire Island, who knew I would miss it so much? So yes, it is true, when Bond No. 9 are good they can be very good.

In time for Spring Bond, No. 9 have released Central Park West, the sixth fragrance to be inspired by a New York park. Central Park West is inspired by “the magnificent greenery” of New York’s “greatest urban grassland” and is a spring-like green and white floral “designed to have the grandeur and largesse of the street itself”. A grand perfume for a grand neighbourhood.

A Walk in the Park

The Notes

Top: Narcissus, Ylang Ylang and Black Pepper
Heart: Gardenia, Jasmine, Citrus-Like Linden and Orris
Base: Vetiver, Musk, White Oak and Treemoss

How Does it Smell?

Despite being more than slightly sceptical (OK I was very sceptical!) of Central Park West, mainly due to the fact that Bond No. 9 do have their fare share of dull shampoo-like white florals, I am going to say right from the start that I do like it, much more than I thought I would anyway. I just can’t help myself when it comes to florals.

Central Park West opens heady and sweet with rich pollen-like narcissus. There is a distinctly sugary tropical facet, courtesy of the ylang ylang and maybe some tuberose, that seems to be harmonious with the drier green notes, which I have described as smelling like ‘dense vegetation’ in my notes. The pepper, which is thankfully of the black variety as opposed to the dreaded pink variety, just adds a touch of spice and sparkle that fires off from the flowers in a suitably nice (you’ll be seeing a lot of that word in this review) and subtle way.

Bond No. 9 describes the flowers in the heart as a “white-petal mélange” and that pretty much sums up my impressions too. The general impression is of a white floral blend rather than a number of distinct floral notes layered together. I find it to be a rather pleasing creamy/green blend that mainly showcases the jasmine with occasional flashes of sweet violet and pale, vegetal iris.

The notes list promises a mossy base and Central Park West only just about half-delivers. It would be fair to say that there is an acceptable amount of the earthy mossy stuff, but the majority of the base relies on a clean musk with a touch of vetiver and something fuzzy and wood like. As pleasant as it is I can’t help but want a bit more of the dark moss to liven things up, but perhaps that would be asking too much and wouldn’t fit the grandiose, urban look that Bond No. 9 is aiming for with this fragrance.

Central Park West is a floral that is very easy to get on with, wearing it is like a walk in the park, easy breezy and perfectly pleasant. It is not a floral that challenges or pushes the boundaries so if that is your thing (as it is mine) then perhaps you should look elsewhere. That said, there is always room for ‘pleasant’ & ‘nice’ in the fragrance world and I would happily recommend it to someone who was looking for a perfectly nice green floral. Is it $180 worth of nice? Hmmm… that depends on how much you are willing to pay for your piece of ‘perfectly nice’.

The Bottle

My mama always said: “If you ain’t got not nothing nice to say then don’t say nothing at all” (this is a lie, my mother would never use the word ‘aint’ nor such an appalling double-negative as “don’t say nothing at all”, but I digress) so I am keeping firmly schtum on all matters relating to that bottle.


Central Park West is available in 50ml (£125) and 100ml (£215) Eau de Parfum. A candle (£75), Body Silk (£79) and Shower Gel (£70) are also available.

You won’t be surprised to learn that there is also a Swarovski Edition of Central Park West which available for £350 and, for the more frugal perfume-buyers, there is also a 7ml silver pocket spray for £80.*


This review is based on a sample of Central Park West provided by Bond No. 9

Image 1 and all quotes via press release.
Image 2 http://www.zagoren.com

* updated 04 April 2012


38 thoughts on “A Walk in The Park – Bond No. 9 Central Park West Perfume Review

  1. My son loves that Wordsworth poem! He always screams the word horrid in the end and then cackles madly! 😉
    I must say whenever I hear Bond N°9 my eyes glaze over and my brain goes into instant hibernation. I just can’t be alert and receptive when it comes to that line. I don’t know why, it is probably a medical issue.
    But I love what you said about the bottle. 😉

    • Bless him, he has good taste!

      That sounds like a rather unusual medical condition you have there B, could it be the quite contagious ‘Overexposedbondno9itis’ that’s doing the rounds?

      I am keeping firmly schtum about the bottle (you HAVE to see the Swarovski edition….)

  2. LOL at Octomom. 64 perfumes since 2003 and 6 this spring? Oh dear.

    I was quite hopeful at the mention of “rich pollen-like narcissus” (need a narcissus perfume!) but it went downhill from there. I guess you’re not going to get challenging and dark in such an upscale neighbourhood. Shame!

    Silver Factory and Fire Island are the only Bonds I still want to try, so good to know you think well of them. Too bad about the Fire Island swap though.

    Oh and great photo!

    • Tis quite a lot isn’t it? Oh dear indeed. Still, they do have some good ones in there. You just have to look for them!

      You’re definitely not going to get challenging in that neighbourhood, I agree.

      I can make you up a decant of Silver Factory, | have a massive bottle that rarely gets used, I shall bring it with me when I see you in May 😀

  3. I just can’t get excited about Bond anymore, the sheer volume of new releases just implies a lack of quality control to me. I have some fondness for the original line – Gramercy Park, despite its screechiness, still make me feel special and the ivy note is just lovely, New Haarlem is still brilliant, and I can’t help loving the gigglefest that is Coney Island. After the endless fragrances designed for Harrods & Saks, and the Swarofski overload, I thought they’d got back on track with Brooklyn, High Line, Cooper & Washington Square, but none of which were actually any good.

    Laurice Rahme just needs to stop releasing anything for a year, and come back with something actually worth the pricetag.

    • Somebody needs to step in and do some serious quality control! A good 20 perfumes or so need to be cut from that line. And although I love New Haarlem too, it’s not even original- it’s so close to Rochas Man! I swear that Chinatown is the only original perfume Bond has. (At least it’s a good one!)

    • I couldn’t agree more Matt! They have failed to live up to the high expectations that the initial fragrances set, it’s such a shame.

      Oh, and as for the price tag, just think of what else you could buy for £215!

  4. I agree on all fronts: Central Park West is the nicest of the new Bonds, the bottle is horrific, Bond is Octomom. I will say that I found CPW a little too reminiscent of Fire Island- who needs two such perfumes in one line??

    • Hmmm, I didn’t get the Fire Island reference but you have me intrigued. I shall test it again this evening to see if I can find it.

      Most of the line is derivative of other lines and itself though isn’t it? So I guess it makes sense.

  5. “And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.”
    About Bond No9, not a truer statement was made! lol

    I agree that Silver Factory and Chinatown are perhaps the only winners in the batch. Actually, I enjoy New Haarlem, too. Their existence gives me a glimmer of hope that Ms Rahme can create a winner every now and again.

    What I find amusing is that she’s now stealing scents from herself. First there are “the ambers” (which are oud-centric) and smell very similar, then these Spring scents, many of which share a common thread. Like Birgit, I go into a kind of sleep mode with Bond, so I can’t really remember so many of their scents, but it’s my theory that she concocts a base formula and tweaks it four or five times and VOILA! A half-year’s batch of releases. Borrowing from your own ideas – talk about derivative!

    • That poem sums them up perfectly for me!

      It’s a shame that a lot of the scents have become so derivative because the concept of the brand is very strong and I do love a lot of the older ones. That said, Central Park West is nice and if the 50ml were about £40 I’d probably pick up a bottle.

  6. I’ve never felt much of a need to try the brand – except maybe Silver Factory since I am an incense girl – partly because of what I consider to be some reprehensible behavior on the part of the company. That kind of thing really turns me off, and with so much out there to try, I’ve just never made the effort. And for $180, I expect mind-blowing instead of nice. (Wow, that sounded grumpy. I’m more “meh” than anything else.)

  7. I like the bottle!
    The Bond No.9 bottles are all pretty much horrendous shapes so why not jazz it up with a horrendous pattern too. I’d rather have a Bond which was comically ghastly all around rather than them attempted to look good.
    Even the Swarovski Oud looks dreadful in that starfish shape.

  8. “…so I am keeping firmly schtum on all matters relating to that bottle.” – okay, I’ll say it for you – I’d rather drink my own urine that look at that bottle again!!! (alright maybe that was a little harsh, but pleeeease….)

    I own a few Bonds (Silver Factory and I Love New York in the black bottle) and they hit the spot when I’m in the mood for coldish/floral incense or if I want to smell like a hot cup of Hazelnut coffee – other then that – I haven’t been too impressed. But I’m always hopeful…..

  9. I don’t like this at all, but I will stick up for the bottle. It would be sort of cute if I was 16 and it cost $50 instead of probably close to $200.

    Oh, Bond.

  10. I loved the “Octomom” image too, also the one about vomiting crystals – inspired!

    And my mum used to read that poem to me though I must say that I personally haven’t found any that are that good yet.

    I wouldn’t mind giving this a whirl and I also quite like the bottle – it reminds me of the Valentina one. And colour and pattern blocking are in at the moment… ; – )

  11. I’d not gotten a chance to get back to go through your review since I’d had previously a chance to test this on myself and the Mrs. I can understand your views on things like the Swarovski crystal bling (I dislike) and some of the derivation, though I think we might have different takes on which scents we like from the line. That said, my wife and I were thoroughly unimpressed with CPW (disclaimer: wife likes Madison Sq. Park and Astor Place, I range from Cooper Square to West Broadway with Bleecker, New Haarlem, Great Jones, Brooklyn and a couple others between). For both of us, the Gardenia was exceptionally heavy — a “Ladies that Lunch” type of heavy — and cloying to the point of sucking the air from a room. It’s exceptionally floral, but perhaps in an over-the-top way that actually detracts from the objective versus persuading us into believing in the sense of place.

    All that said, great review and a very enjoyable read despite any difference of opinion! Cheers!

      • No worries. Some like chocolate, some prefer strawberry, it all makes life interesting. I just had a day of olfactory overload at Bond’s Boutique this morning, and my wife had an interesting take on their Signature Perfume. End of the story is that I got Hamptons — it ends up being the great “cocktail mix” of the Bond line for summer wearing. Harrods may have it.

      • Yes, it’s been called that, but I’ve not compared the two directly. Hard to say.

        I have to admit having been at Bond’s boutique yesterday, I enjoyed the Octomom comment – there’s definitely a LOT of fragrances, many can be derivative. I’m almost waiting (jokingly of course) for new releases of “Eau de Staten Island” or “So Bronx”. 🙂

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  14. Just got a generous sample of this in the mail today. All I can say is, “Holy gardenia!” right now. I like me some big white florals, but this one is a wee bit loud & sweet for me. I’m going to give it a chance when it’s not competing with the lovely Un Lys I put on earlier. I totally agree with you on the quanity/frequency of Bonds. The only two I’ve really loved are Fire Island and Silver Factory and even Silver Factory gives me a headache once in a while, which is sad because that one is really gorgeous.

  15. I would love to read your thoughts on “Wall Street”. It dates back to 2004. Any chance that you pick some bottles (not just Bond No 9) which have been around for a while?
    I am searching for a “New West” by aramis subsitute. New West was my favourite cucumber scent in the 1990s. Wall Street seems promising.

    • I used to have a bottle, funnily enough. It’s OK. It has a dry, green quality to it that is interesting and it’s from that early crop of Bonds that were actually good. No way would I ever drop the money on it though…

  16. Pingback: Central Park West by Bond No. 9 Perfumes | huzunra // perfumery blog

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