Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The Bond No. 9 concept of celebrating New York has always appealed to me, as did a number of fragrances from this house — fragrances that beautifully explored the spirit of the city’s many distinctive neighborhoods through their olfactory profiles. The peaches and incense of Chinatown, the dramatic musky roses of Broadway Nite and the bitter patchouli coffee of New Haarlem remain among my favorite fragrances to this day. Madison Square Park, a tribute to one of Manhattan’s most vibrant and trendy locales, is the most recent addition to the Bond No. 9 collection.
The composition opens up on an exhilarating green note of crushed leaves and grass. The sheer rose unfolds underneath the verdant mélange, with the accents of jasmine and hyacinth giving it a fresh, crystalline character. The red berry sweetness lends a delicious richness, which makes the rose accord warmer. The rose-peony is the main impression of the fragrance, which remains radiant and petally even into the late drydown. Even as Madison Square Park enters its woods and musks territory, I keep imagining pink rose petals drizzled with raspberry syrup. While the composition has a strong sweet component, the crisp green notes give it a nice fresh sensation.
The best aspect of this fragrance is that the scent matches perfectly with the packaging, which makes for a very coherent presentation. Housed in a vibrant pink bottle adorned with a neon-green necklace, Madison Square Park is uplifting, cheerful and easy to enjoy. On the other hand, it does not offer anything new or different. To be sure, it is a high-quality fragrance and is very well-made, but I can find the same green rose idea in many brands, from Estée Lauder Pure White Linen to Cartier de Lune. If it were to come out as a launch in one of the larger prestige lines, I would have found it more compelling, yet for a niche release, Madison Square Park strikes me as too commercial and safe. Moreover, I find that it competes with Bond No. 9’s High Line (fresh green floral,) and to a lesser extent, with Saks-En-Rose (crisp rose-tuberose.)
Bond No. 9 Madison Square Park includes notes of grape hyacinth, huckleberry, prairie dropseed grass, red leaf rose, Red Hunter tulip, teakwood and vetiver. Available at Bond No 9 New York stores, Saks Fifth Avenue and directly from the Bond no 9 website (3.4 ounces, $240; 1.7 ounces, $170; silver pocket spray, $90.)
Sample source: my own acquisition