New York Musk

Finally: An alpha perfume for New York: Bond No. 9 New York Musk. It’s part of our Notes series for serious connoisseurs—but that’s not stopping it from having carnal smarts.

Bond No. 9 New York Musk

Launch date: November 2012


With a repertory of 60 scents and counting, Bond No. 9 is taking fragrance into a whole new direction and building a New York-centric empire of eaux de parfum with a distinct urban edge—sophisticated, elegant, up-to-date, ahead of the curve. After all, our scents are designed right here in NoHo, and every one of them is imbued with city smarts. Most Bond No. 9 perfumes capture the spirit of, and are named for, specific locales, from Riverside Drive to Coney Island. But we’ve also embarked on a New York Notes series, created for the many fragrance connoisseurs who are our customers. In this collection, we name each scent for its key ingredient, in order to explore and expand the blending possibilities. First came New York Oud, followed by New York Amber.

And now for Fall 2012: New York Musk, a shared male-female scent. Of course musk comes with a longstanding reputation for being animalic, perhaps even an aphrodisiac or pheromone. Indeed, this costly ingredient was originally derived from the nocturnal male musk deer that dwells in the upper reaches of the Himalayas and produces this powerful, pungent aroma to mark its territory during mating season. Highly diluted, musk can be quite versatile, sometimes evoking the honeyed aroma of freshly bathed skin, or a garden being tended in springtime, or chocolate, spicy curry, or intense passion. That chameleon quality is one of several reasons it is universally used in perfumes. Another is the balance, warmth, and sensuality it brings to the mix. In fact, musk is a uniquely able fixative, relied on to hold a scent together—particularly the volatile top-notes—and keep it from fleeing. For that reason, it typically operates as a base note.

But designing a perfume with musk as the key ingredient posed a challenge: How to foreground this ancient staple, propel it into the 21st century, and give it exquisite metro-bona fides—so that even the most seasoned scent aficionados will be struck by its beauty and largesse?

We succeeded. In a virtuoso performance, New York Musk displays its versatility when surrounded by contemporary fruit and spice accents. It opens with lightness and buoyancy: a blend of sparkling grapefruit flower, tart and tangy blackcurrant, and galbanum—a pine-like aromatic gum resin from Persia. Then come the midnotes, reinforcing that theme: Asian osmanthus flower, recalling peaches and apricots, combined with lemony-green lilies—yes, flowers that smell like fruits—while spiking this mix is spicy nutmeg. Musk comes into play in the base notes, as it usually does, surrounded by its lingering cohorts, those willing conspirators in seduction, patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver.

Displayed on the bottle are the signature New York Note optics: The words Bond No. 9 New York Musk, repeated in looping cursive script, rendered in a simulacrum of gold ink and on a slant—suggesting old-fashioned, pre-digital handwriting. This is both a reminder of musk’s historic importance and an allover decorative graphic design element—uniting the eaux de parfum in the Notes series. Each bottle, however, has its own translucent gemstone color, in this case emerald green—for vitality and hope; and more importantly, this, appropriately, is the sacred stone of the goddess Venus.