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