Bond No.9's Laurice Rahmé tells us why the American parfumerie is a love letter to New York
As Bond No.9 comes to Harrod's Salon de Parfums, its founder takes Tempus through its bespoke scents and her favourite districts
When Laurice Rahmé founded Bond No.9, she was determined to bring the attitude of New York to her perfumes – quite a feat considering the distinct and diverse pockets of the sprawling U.S. city. A tourist favourite with a vibrant history, ever-changing thanks to its influx of wealth and international citizens, New York is the source of French-born Rahmé's inspiration and – as she opens her first boutique in London's Harrods – it would seem her success as well.
"We founded the parfumerie after 9/11, when the smells of New York were not pleasant. For those of us who lived there, it was hard to separate the trauma of the attack from the vibrant, wonderful New York that we knew, and the scent was a big part of that. You couldn't get away from it," she said. "When I founded Bond No.9, part of me wanted to fill New York with beautiful scents again. I wanted to take inspiration from the New York I knew."
With that inspiration, Rahmé set about representing each district of the city – from Wall Street to Chinatown, Harlem to Liberty Island, with their unisex Scent of Peace winning an award from the UN for its fundraising efforts. "Every area of New York has its own vibe – not just the look of the buildings, but the history of the area and the fashions and lifestyle of the people who live there. And it's changing all the time with gentrification, renovation, rebuilding," Rahmé said.
"Our fragrances are the same. Each has a distinct scent and attitude. The two most contrasting scents are probably Wall Street and Harlem. Wall Street is by the sea, and the area has that fresh, energetic scent of the ocean, so we tried to embody that in the scent. It's light, young and fresh." >>
"Harlem, on the other hand, is full of history. Those old jazz clubs, smoky whisky and coffee scents. It's a heavy, spiced scent, perfect for an evening out dancing, that reflects the hot vibrant feel of Harlem. Then you've got something like Chinatown, which is a floral tuberose scent. Again, full of history, but very much a bustling, daytime scent."
From here, the Harrod's Bond No.9 boutique has become an immediate favourite thanks to the brand's bespoke scent consultations, where Rahmé's expert perfumers create unique perfumes for their clients. Not content with an original scent? You can also create a bespoke bottle, thanks to the brand's partnership with Swarovski.
"We take at least an hour to begin creating a bespoke scent – we want to know whether our client enjoys a floral base or a sandalwood scent, how their chosen fragrances interact with their skin and natural scent. For bespoke bottles, once the diamonds are chosen it takes two weeks to make. They've been so popular – I'm so happy our clients have responded so well to the bespoke services. It makes things so interesting, to create something new each time."
Bond No.9 has also created a nine-scent Dubai collection, but Rahmé says her project to represent New York will never end. "There's always something new – there are new people, new areas, new renovations, all the time. So we will always have something new to create."