Bond No 9 Fire Island

Chinatown is widely acknowledged to be the most creative (and the most attractively packaged) fragrance in the Bond No 9 line-up. I believe that Fire Island is the runner-up in both categories. Fire Island, which contains notes of cardamom, neroli, white musk, tuberose, and patchouli, has a rather clever shtick: it smells exactly like Ambre Solaire , the famous French sunscreen. “But Ari,” I hear you asking, “Why would anyone want to smell like sunscreen?” I’m so glad you asked, darling readers. It turns out that sunscreen can smell pretty dang good! Also, I have a Cullen-esque fear of sun damage, so the smell of sunscreen makes me feel safe and protected.

Just putting this out there: real vampires do not “sparkle”. They have blonde hair and incredible bone structure and are named Spike and oh my God Buffy the Vampire Slayer why did you leave my life.

The most prominent note in Fire Island is tuberose, traditionally a ball-buster of a scent. Fire Island feels far more mellow, more casual, and more sensual than its tuberose peers. Imagine how Fracas, an ultra-glamorous but slightly imperious tuberose, would smell after laying out on a private beach in the Hamptons for a few hours. Fire Island perfectly embodies those Michael Kors ads, which generally feature unbearably chic women disembarking from private planes or hanging off the side of a yacht.

Disclaimer: I got my sample of Fire Island from the fantastic Chevy Chase Saks. Fire Island is available in 50 and 100 ml bottles at select Saks Fifth Avenues and Bond No 9 boutiques.

Cheap Thrills: Bath and Body Works Velvet Tuberose

If the scent of tuberose (which is commonly mistaken for that of the gardenia flower) were a person, I imagine that she would be a blonde beauty queen from Texas. She would be gorgeous, with the warmest smile you’ve ever seen, and, more likely than not, a completely over-the-top personality. Think Robert Piguet Fracas, which Madonna wore in her cone-bra heyday. Tuberose generally dominates any perfume in which it appears, so while in capable hands tuberose can be done beautifully, it is more often unbalanced and a little scary (think the Texas beauty queen after she places 3rd).

Bath and Body Works Velvet Tuberose is tuberose done right, especially for the price point. It is sweet enough for mainstream noses but elegant enough for the perfumistas. Velvet Tuberose is slightly heady and has a glamorous, old-Hollywood vibe. It is one of the few perfumes that I can think of that would be suitable for a blonde bombshell (most “bombshell” scents work better on brunettes). VT is lush in a way that recalls both the sensational curves and the dreamy smile that made Marilyn Monroe a star.

My middle school hallways were perpetually filled with a wretched mixture of Axe and the shockingly unpleasant Bath and Body Works Sweet Pea. If more of the girls had worn Velvet Tuberose instead, I really think that it would have somehow improved my middle school experience.

Disclaimer: I have a bottle of Velvet Tuberose that I purchased at Bath and Body Works.