Perfume Review: High Line (Bond No. 9). And the search for A Big Floral.


I am looking for A Big Floral. Well, ok, if you want to be picky: another big floral.

I don't want a rose. I don't want elegant white flowers. I want pretty. Colorful. Happy! I want to douse myself in floral joy (but not the floral, Joy.)

I have Paris (YSL, vintage), so rose + violet is covered. Amaranthine (Penhaligon's) is a huge favorite. Her ylang-ylang, orange blossom and jasmine with a kick of milky banana (better than it sounds) have my tropical needs covered. I adore Chinatown (Bond No. 9) which is a mixed floral over patchouli and sandalwood that, on me, is mostly patchouli. Still lovely, but not it's not hitting the spot I'm aiming for.

Also tried: Amouage Gold, regal, glorious, spendy!; Joy (Patou), vintage and modern so, so lovely but not The One; Chamade (Guerlain), I adore it, but it's not the happy colorful scent I'm craving; Daisy (Marc Jacobs), I like it, but it's not for me; Ralph Lauren Romance, used to be my "signature scent" long ago - too clean, too pretty, too been-there-done-that; Flowerbomb (Viktor & Rolf ), too foody to be my floral; Chanel No. 5, just isn't me.

There are others, but I won't bore you with the longer list. I love quite a few florals and wear them happily, but...


I want A Floral ! Bright, pretty, colorful, happy flowers. I want bottled cheer. White florals are great; I own a few. Tropicals are dreamy, but not what I'm talking about here. I want a riot of different flowers. Tumbling, smiling, happy flowers.

It's one of those "I'll know it when I find it" things.

Which brings us to Bond No. 9's High Line.

A floral. "A scent that conveys a whiff of urban wildflowers... An androgenous floral-marine bouquet..." (from the company's spiel). The bottle looks promising: the familiar Bond No. 9 star silkscreened with bright yellow-green grass and contrasting fuchsia tulips.

Quick background on the name of this perfume
The High Line is actually an elevated neighborhood in New York City. Elevated. As in not on the ground.

In the 1930's, a large area of train rail was lifted above Manhattan, a nifty 30 feet above the hustle and bustle of the industry and crowds below. The trains carried food and manufactured goods across the 13 miles of track through the city (sometimes with trains going directly into buildings!).

Trains stopped running on the High Line in the early 80's and the line was scheduled to be demolished in the 90's. A group of activists formed Friends of the High Line, which -to make a long story short- converted a portion of the tracks into an elevated park that is 1.45 miles long. The High Line Park is owned by the City of New York. It runs above the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen.


According to the Bond No. 9 blog, the High Line park "literally hums with over 210 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees."

210 species. That's a lot of plantlife!  During the 20-some years the tracks lay abandoned, grasses naturally developed along the strip. The High Line park has been planted with those grasses and some other species native to the area.

This scent could go anywhere! Wildflowers! Grasses! The scent of the meatpacking district of yore! Er...

So what did Bond No. 9 go with? What did they do to celebrate this clever concept and urban park?

They say it's bergamot, purple love grass, Indian rhubarb, red leaf rose, orange flower water, tulip, grape hyacinth, sea moss, teakwood, musk and bur oak. In reality...

They made a very synthetic grass and water perfume.

High Line is inexplicably sodden. Water-logged. And not in that fresh dew glistening on the flower petals kinda way. Nope. High Line is wet in a quite fake, synthetic way. I think the aromachemical used here (with a heavy hand) is called Calone. It's used to make a Fresh and Aquatic nuance. Here, it overlays a
comic book version of grass.

Mix the in-your-face fresh water with plastic grass and some unidentifiable flowers and Voila! High Line!

Or, as I like to imagine: Florist Barbie in a snowglobe.

Yes, it's a harsh critique, and I know High Line has its fans. Great! It's just that for $145 for 50ml, I expected more. Especially considering how fun the concept of the High Line park project is.

House: Bond No. 9
Perfume: High Line
Perfumer: Laurent Le Guernec
Notes: bergamot, purple love grass, Indian rhubarb, red leaf rose, orange flower water, tulip, grape hyacinth, sea moss, teakwood, musk and bur oak.
Released: 2010
Sample: press samlle provided by brand

Final Word: Barbie's Dream Scent!!

So, I'm still looking for that cheerful, in yer face floral.
Got any favorites?


  1. Chic Shaik No.30, take a look:

  2. I have one I adore and still haven't gotten around to buying a bottle.
    Juliet by Juliet Stewart. If you try it, let me know what you think of it.

  3. A floral I LOVE is Jour Ensoleillé by Sonoma Scent Studio.
    I'm not sure if it's really what you are looking for, but it has loads of tuberose, jasmine and orange blossom. I find it incredibly dreamy, as opposed to the happy floral/bottled cheer you want.

    Perhaps something from Parfums de Nicolai or Annick Goutal?

  4. Bosnishmuslima, you are amazing! I may have to check that out, it sounds stunning.

  5. Ines, Juliet sounds really beautiful. On the list it goes! Thanks. :)

  6. JoanElaine, great reccs! Thanks. I haven't tried anything from SSS or Parfums de Nicolai. I have a few Annick Goutal florals in the to-try queue - maybe I'll move them to the head of the line? :)


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