By Raphaella Barkley
In this “Neighborhood of Bond No. 9” segment, we take you on a journey to the section of Harlem that features the cult favorite unisex scent of New Haarlem. Dutch settlers originally founded Harlem in 1658 and in 1765 Harlem was a still a small agricultural town. It was then annexed to New York City in 1873. Not many people may know the following tidbit, but Bond No. 9 kept the original spelling of “Haarlem” (with two a’s) which was named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands by Governor Peter Stuyvesant. He called the town “Nieuw (New) Haarlem” and British immigrants eventually renamed it Harlem.
Long before it became the diverse enclave it is today, Harlem was a haven for European immigrants and citizens of European descent. Harlem’s unique history merged with the pace of New York City and the blended backgrounds of the people who settled in Harlem found expression in literature, theater, fiction, and music. Central Harlem is the heart and soul of Harlem and historic buildings and landmarks still stand. Central Harlem is where you’ll find the famous Apollo Theater as well as blocks of turn-of-the-century townhomes along Astor’s Row and Strivers’ Row. Check out the rare footage below of the Duke Ellington Orchestra…Take the A Train.
Many of Harlem’s cultural venues developed in the 1920’s, ranging from the Cotton Club to the Savoy Ballroom. The world famous Cotton Club was located in Harlem and was originally named Club De Lux. It operated during the Prohibition and was owned by Owney Madden, a prominent bootlegger and gangster. He took over the Club in 1923 while imprisoned in Sing Sing and changed its name the Cotton Club, located on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue. What emerged from Harlem is what became known as legendary jazz history, with the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater providing a home base for artistic geniuses. The Cotton Club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway, The Nicholas Brothers, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Bill Robinson, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker. During its heyday, it served as a chic meeting spot in the heart of Harlem. The amount of talent coming out of Harlem was staggering. The Cotton Club was the first show business break for Dorothy Dandridge as well as Lena Horne, who began there as a chorus girl at the age of sixteen. Both performers went on to become legendary Hollywood actresses.
“Take the ‘A’ Train” (view the rare video above) was composed in 1938 and was a jazz standard that was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The title refers to the A subway service that runs through New York City, going at that time up into Harlem and northern Manhattan, using the express tracks in Manhattan. Because of the ‘A’ Train route, many were able to visit the speakeasies, nightclubs and dinner clubs of Harlem during the Roaring Twenties. Highlighting Harlem today, we have PBS Jazz, a Ken Burn’s documentary, Francis Ford Coppola’s movie “The Cotton Club” and the Broadway Hit “Sophisticated Ladies.” Harlem is also home to the world-renowned Dance Theater of Harlem. Another one of my favorite documentaries is the Lullaby of Broadway, a DVD featuring the Harlem jazz scene and featuring some of the biggest names in jazz music.
In the 1980’s, Harlem garnered political notice when David Dinkins was elected the first black mayor of New York City and in the 1990’s Harlem experienced an economic rebirth when entrepreneurs, investors and residents renovated buildings and started businesses. Today, high-price condominiums and the million-dollar refurbished brownstones now dominate the neighborhood, but Harlem still represents diversity at its best. Whether you come to Harlem for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience or to eat soul food, visit the historical churches to hear authentic gospel, or just walk the neighborhoods where history was made, Harlem is a unique neighborhood and an important part of our American culture. The impact of Harlem on the contemporary jazz scene can never be underestimated; the music of Harlem still pulsates through American popular culture. Through its vibrant and fascinating past and flourishing present, Harlem has made an indelible mark on American Culture.
Now, let’s get to the scent called New Haarlem…featuring our special Guest Reviewer Christine Lewandowski and a second review by me.
Conversation Over Coffee…Perfume
By Christine Lewandowski
The imagery for New Haarlem the scent is perfect for New Haarlem, the fragrance. A dark, intimate cafe, jazz playing under soft incandescent lights, and fresh brewed espresso, perfumes the air, mingling with the sweetness of fresh baked deserts. The room is cozy, comfortable, warm, inviting and best of all, relaxing. When you step outside, the aroma clings to your clothing, your skin. That’s New Haarlem, it clings to you.
Look at that face. I don’t know about you, but I can picture Maurice Roucel sitting in a cafe, sipping espresso, black, no cream, completely engrossed in a book. This is the daytime face of New Haarlem, the scent. With notes of lavender, bergamot and green leaves in the opening, coffee and cedarwood as the body and a full, rich base of amber, vanilla, tonka and patchouli, New Haarlem is a fragrance which people notice and appreciate. Countless times I have been asked, “What are you wearing?” “It’s New Haarlem by Bond No 9.” I tell them and sometimes offer a wrist for them to sniff. I just smile because I know what will come next. There it is! The eyes roll back in their head and they say, “WOW! That’s amazing!”
The discussion which follows usually sounds, in part, like this: “Yes, that’s a coffee note you smell, wonderful, isn’t it?” “A little sweet. No, it’s not sugar.” “This is vanilla and another note called Tonka, which smells very similar to vanilla. It’s what makes this fragrance a gourmand. Together they smell sweet and last a long time on the skin.” “No, you can’t drink it! You should never drink perfume but I agree it does smell good enough to drink.” “Oh, no it’s not ‘wood’ exactly. It’s the combination of cedarwood and patchouli. Yes, it does smell sexy.” “Patchouli has that effect. No. Not all patchouli smells like a head shop. There are many different kinds of patchouli; it’s one of my husband’s favorite notes”. “Oh, you must mean the lavender. It does make it smell more cozy. No, I agree, I was surprised to hear it had lavender in it too, I never would have guessed that.” “It must be the lavender in combination with the bergamot and the green notes.” “Bergamot? Oh, it is a type of citrus, looks a little like a lemon. It’s used in many fragrances to give it a bit of a lift, so the perfume isn’t too heavy.” “Yes, I love it. I get compliments whenever I wear it.” “Sure, not a problem. Of course, a man could wear this. I know many men who do.” “Wait, I think I may even have a little bit left in my sample.” “No, no, you have it.” “I enjoyed talking to you too.” “I need to get going, got to catch the train.”
New Haarlem Review by Raphaella
Bond No. 9′s “Cabaret and Jazz Club Scent du jour” androgynous scent is an intoxicating brew of Lavender, Bergamot, Green Leaves, Coffee, Cedarwood, Amber, Vanilla, Tonka and Patchouli. New Haarlem is a tribute to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, which shaped American Culture. This delicious cult favorite was created by Master Perfumer Maurice Roucel and Laurice Rahme, both of whom know how to create fragrances that deliver. Michael Edwards has this fragrance classified as a Woody Oriental in Fragrances of the World and Maurice Roucel describes this as a gourmand scent.
I asked numerous of my fragrance friends to tell me of their favorite Bond perfumes and the one fragrance that kept coming up was New Haarlem. The dark and lovely coffee note blended with a thin sliver of lavender, weaving in and out, works brilliantly in this scent. It’s modern, luscious, sexy, velvety and artistic all at the same time. This is a highly original and lyrical fragrance, one that is full of notes and accords and is so much more than a “coffee’ scent. The longevity is outstanding as are all Bond fragrances and New Haarlem manages to be rich, hip, luscious and swanky all at once and the dry down is creamy smooth with a warm blend of Amber, Vanilla, Tonka and Patchouli. This is stunning on my skin. The richly layered scent brims with flavor and aroma and I can see why this is a favorite among Bond No. 9 fans. New Haarlem is one of my top ten favorites from Bond No. 9.
Leave a comment in this post and enter to win a fabulous goody bag of Bond No. 9 candy samples! We will be holding a random drawing the second week of February. Leave a comment and you will be automatically entered in this random drawing. Thank you for stopping by the new Bond No.9 Blog. NEXT WEEK, we visit RIVERSIDE DRIVE IN UPTOWN.
Available at Bond No. 9 and all Bond No. 9 Boutiques; Bond No. 9 boutiques listed below
Bond No. 9 toll free number: 1.877.273.3369
Bond No. 9 New York Boutiques:
897 Madison Avenue (73rd Street) 212.794.4480
680 Madison Avenue (61st Street) 212.838.2780
399 Bleecker Street (11th Street) 212.633.1641
9 Bond Street (Broadway & Lafayette) 212.228.1732
Bond No. 9 website www.bondno9.com
Photos: Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway and The Cotton Club Orchestra, 1934 photo of His High-de-Highness of Ho-de-Ho and the band, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, and Ken Burns JAZZ DVD. New Haarlem available at all Bond No. 9 Boutiques and Bond No. 9 website