Bond No. 9 Hamptons: Breezy, bright and light.
Those who know me know that I have a large collection of very deep, resiny, full-bodied fragrances that are perfect for the Fall and Winter months, but are far too heavy for Spring and Summer wearing. As a result, I sample far and wide to find that elusive holy grail of lighter scents that are perfect for warm-weather wearing but don’t smell non-descript or become that year’s passing fad. This is where the search becomes exasperating.
Just as the weather in New York was turning more Spirng-like, this brought me to the doorstep of Bond No. 9′s flagship boutique in NoHo on a brisk and windy Saturday morning. As background, Bond has produced four scents that use New York beaches as their naming and inspiration: Coney Island, Andy Warhol Montauk, Fire Island, and Hamptons, each with a slightly different take on the beachside experience if you accept the premise. While my goal wasn’t necessarily to purchase a beach-named fragrance, it was to find something lighter, fresh, and suitable for the months between Easter and Labor Day. I left with two options, the first being Coney Island and the other is the one I’ll review today.
Bond No. 9 Hamptons (2003): Though not a new fragrance in Bond’s collection, it is among the original issues and the first “beach” fragrance named for the Eastern Long Island summer playground of New York’s famous and well-to-do. The composition does capture the essence of what a summer-scent or beach perfume should encompass, as the notes are chosen and composed very well.
Hamptons begins with an opening that blends citrus, sage, linden blossom and cedar in a very light and fresh combination. It’s zesty, slightly sharp, but very light in opening with the citrus and cedar notes mixing well. As it transitions to the heart, jasmine, magnolia and Turkish rose take over leaving a more substantial yet not overpowering floral footprint that remains in the background until the base has fully emerged. The notes here are light enough for heat while not fleeting in nature. The base picks up the rose notes along with musk, amber and sandalwood in the dry-down.
The result is subtle, close to the skin as time progresses, yet strikes a good balance between a bright and light scent and the substantial properties of the rose and amber/musk dry-down. It all somehow works rather well. It’s not a fragrance that challenges the wearer, but simply takes its place as a calm and subtle statement that — unlike the more famous residents of its hamlets — isn’t ostentatious or showy. On it’s own, it’s a good backdrop. Sillage is very low, projection mild, longevity overall is good. Hamptons is difficult to over-apply, but it has another nice property when layered against other fragrances.
Hamptons, when set as a top-layer to other scents, has an obvious lightening effect. When combined with heavier scents — Bleecker, New York Oud, Cooper Square — lightens the overwise very heavy and warming impact of those scents against heat. While still a formidable fragrance, Hamptons becomes the “great party mixer” when added as an element to the perfumed wardrobe. I’ve paired it with other Bonds such as West Broadway, Brooklyn, Bleecker, New Haarlem and Great Jones, and it creates an interesting and appealing outcome each time, providing a great summer complement.
There is a down-side, however. If you’re seeking a rugged, very masculine, testosterone-laden frag, Hamptons is not it. At all. This is a light, floral with some element of aquatic thrown in. Wearing it won’t advertise machismo, and detractors will likely qualify the scent as more feminine in composition. While that isn’t true, it is definitely universal in nature, and a more luxurious version of an aquatic that would appeal to even those not heart-set on that genre.
Rating: 4/5. Recommended.
Overall, I was impressed with Hamptons. It’s a solid fragrance, carries the right level of elegance, feels very comfortable and not overstated, and remains a terrific aquatic-alternative for wearers like me who complain about nearly all aquatics. It’s wearable on a summer day or evening, and complementary to most other Bond scents. There’s little with which to find fault, especially if the goal is finding something that is as suited to a casual stroll on the beach as it is a walk into the boardroom.
Images courtesy Bond No. 9. All rights reserved.