Bond No.9 Chinatown
Notes: Peach blossoms, gardenia, tuberose, patchouli, cardamom (from Bond No.9)
On first application (from a dabber sample), I smell cherries, sugar, almond and powder. A sharp but clean patchouli lurks below the surface, and the composition as a whole is incredibly sweet. Very quickly, the juicyness of the cherry note fades as does the sugar, leaving behind faint tart cherry and sharp almond with sweet powder. The powder is extremely strong and at times smells like baby products. The patchouli is either synthetic or processed--it doesn't have any of the typical head shop "funk" that natural patchouli essential oil has. However, it does add a bit of grunge to the super-sweet top notes, so I think overall it helps balance the composition. This is clearly an oriental, but as to whether it is gourmand, it is difficult to say at this point. Certainly the cherry almond opening is slightly edible, but right now, Chinatown seems more like a floral oriental with a dose of cherry Lifesaver candy.
I was hoping that Chinatown would morph a little as the top notes burn off, but so far the middle part of the development is linearly following what was present earlier. However, it is far more subdued. The powder has reduced in strength, but is still the most prominent note, and the sweetness is tempered by the astringent patchouli base note. The cherry and almond seem to be hanging in somewhat. I think that the supporting notes are the only things that make the powder seem more grown-up.
The drydown is still rather powdery, and has no traces of cherry or almond. An artificial floral has emerged...the notes say tuberose, but to me it smells more like Ylang Ylang as it has qualities of rubbery bubblegum and a vague furniture polish vibe. The patchouli is soft and fuzzy in the background, and is really not bad at this point. Although development has been fairly linear, it has also gone rather quickly--to complete drydown in only a couple hours. The fragrance is very faint now, much more subdued but not quite a skin scent.
I am disappointed in the ultra-linear development and the lack of complexity in this Chinatown. It seems to have very high quality ingredients, however, nothing so far has made me feel the urge to wear it more, let alone buy a bottle for an exorbitant amount of money.