Friday, July 27, 2007

Park Avenue by Bond No. 9 : Perfume Review

There is a garden that no longer exists anywhere but in my own heart, but its colors are still as vivid as they were when I could freely run and play in it as a child. It was my grandmother’s garden, where I spent a great deal of my childhood. The smells and colors throughout the year were truly a sight to behold... From the spectacular extravaganza of flowers to the generous fruit-bearing trees, I consider myself to have been a very lucky child indeed, to have been given the opportunity to make this magical place my playground. I’d tirelessly watch the snails feasting on clovers under the fig tree in summer, I’d see the pomegranate tree flower its gorgeous, fiery colored blooms in summer and autumn, until finally it would bear its huge, ultra sweet fruit in winter. I’d marvel at the wonders of the sun, for the apples would blush on the side that the light hit them, while their other half would remain pale. I’d gorge myself on freshly picked apricots while running through the rose bushes. In the morning I’d naughtily steal a sip of grandma’s coffee under the honeysuckle, while at night I’d be lulled to sleep with the narcotic smell of jasmine that would waft through the open window. But what I remember most fondly, was the chamomile lawn on the western side of the garden. Come spring, a dense carpet of intense yellow and blinding white would cover that patch of earth and every day I’d roll around in it, giggling, imagining god knows what anymore. By the end of the day, I’d be covered with its fruity, slightly sour scent. Sometimes grandma would make a chamomile circlet and she would fasten it in my at the time still naturally golden locks and I’d laugh and laugh, pretending to be the spirit of May. But the best part always came in the summer. We’d bring large metal oven dishes in the garden and would fill them with the fragrant heads of the flowers. Then we’d let them dry in the sun for days so we’d have enough chamomile to last us throughout winter for my favorite, fragrant soothing drink: chamomile tea.

With such lively memories, it is no wonder that I have long been looking for a scent that makes good use of chamomile. When I came across a sample of Park Avenue by Bond No. 9 I was naturally, very excited. This humble, yet noble plant is so close to my heart that my expectations were certainly high. I am glad to say, I was not disappointed. Chamomile deserves a composition that is uncluttered enough to allow its beauty to shine through, and indeed, Park Avenue’s refined floral melange seems to be the perfect context for this cheerful flower. This time, it grows among roses, irises and paperwhite narcissi. Unlike true chamomile growing in nature though, this one is well mannered and behaved, never wildly overwhelming the rest of its more cultivated companions. Each one gets to showcase its wondrous beauty in the best manner. Even the rose refuses to be a diva, admitting that the rest of the flowers in this beautiful bouquet will allow it to shine best. In Park Avenue, it is a feminine mist of early spring, chic and demure, dressed in pastel pink. The paperwhite narcissus in turn, makes everything joyfully vibrant with that juicy, fresh smell only bulb flowers can have, effortlessly imparting that essence of morning dew. The coolness of the iris on the other hand, ensures that both the sweet femininity of the rose and the cheerfulness of the paperwhite are kept in check, lending the fragrance an air of aloofness. But for me, if there was ever any question about it, the star of the fragrance is my beloved chamomile. It manifests itself not with the crisp, herbaceous scent of the blossoms, but instead, with the unmistakable, sweeter, earthier smell of the tea. It is constantly there, exuding a sense of tranquility, ease and comfort and it actually seems to caress the rest of the floral notes, enhancing their beauty. In a way, I feel like it is the chamomile in the blend, which makes them truly sparkle. Perhaps it will sound silly, but I am thankful for getting to see this oft looked over charming flower given place in such a beautiful creation, like a semi-precious stone finally gaining status in the hands of an expert jeweler. And perhaps my reminiscing of blossom picking was quaint... Perhaps chamomile itself is humble. But one would be fooled to think Park Avenue is either. This soft floral bouquet is both sophisticated and elegant, the perfect scent for the worldly woman whose multifaceted charm encompasses all the qualities the notes so eloquently describe.

Images courtesy of: www.caryn.com, www.anjelicasboudoir.com and www.scillyflowers.co.uk


8 comments:

TMH256 said...

Oh, what a beatiful description of floral notes and your grandmother's garden! I just wrote a review dedicated to my grandmother as well. We are in sync. Thank you dear D. for giving me a reason to try Park Avenue.

xo,
T

helg said...

The garden must have been in Chalkidiki, right? ;-)
Good on you to honour your grandmother in such a way.

Divina said...

Hi T. dear! You did? :) I think we have been in sync a couple of times before, how cool is that? I only now get the chance to chill behind my computer a little bit today, so I am gonna head over to yours and read!

Divina said...

E., believe it or not, the garden was in Thessaloniki! I am a city girl through and through!

chayaruchama said...

A grandmother like yours is a gift !
[I share your love of chamomile, BTW. I love all those tiny blossoms- like clover, pansies, violets, buttercups]

Although the sheer volume of output in this line overloads me, I'll have to sniff this one out.
You make it sound enchanting...

Arhianrad said...

Divina, I'm so sorry, I've been away. But what a review. I'm going to dig out my sample, ASAP. Thank you for sharing the memories.

Divina said...

Chaya...indeed she is a gift. I always miss her. The fragrance itself I found delicious, I wish I had a full bottle with me here on vacation. It is sheer enough to do very well in this heat.

Divina said...

Arhianrad my dearest, I've missed you! But I knew you have been really busy lately. I am so happy for you! :) Such an exciting time, I can't wait to hear more about it. *big hugs*