OK. I’ll grant you that Bond No. 9’s fragrances are ridiculously expensive. Madison Square Park ($118 at Fragrancenet; at Nordstrom the same bottle runs $200, and that’s the smaller bottle!) is no exception. The thing about niche fragrances, though, is that they’re not producing at the same price point or in as big a batch, so they can afford to experiment a little more outside of the mainstream market.
Anybody can do a fresh, green floral with a little fruit in the opening, and that’s what MSP is, but it’s done in a surprising way. It opens up with a burst of fresh-cut grass, sweetened with blueberry and grape hyacinth. The heart is rose and tulip, but the lingering grassy notes and the use of the rose leaves as well as the flower keeps that clean freshness going rather than turning hyper-floral. The green notes, once they mix with the flowers, actually come out with a slight buttery character, which is interesting and a bit unexpected. The base is teak wood and vetiver, which ground the fragrance and hold it in place without losing the bright, cheerful character.
I really love this scent, if it stuck around better. I haven’t really found a scent in the “green floral” category that lasts all day, and I’d really like to. This one runs in the middle of the pack, longevity wise–about 5 hours or so–but honestly, if I’m going to pay over $100 a bottle when Jo Malone’s Nectarine Blossom and Honey smells so similar for half the price, it would really need to do better than average. Other Bond No. 9 scents certainly do (I can get 8 hours or more out of Chinatown), but as beautiful as the scent is, the performance of Madison Square Park is pretty mediocre. I’d give it 7/10.