New Orleans News:
What is the scent of New Orleans?
Night-blooming jasmine? Boiling crawfish? The too-many-beers-too-few-bathrooms bouquet of the French Quarter?
Laurice Rahme, creator of Bond No. 9, the premium fragrance label that's all about New York, recently focused her attention on New Orleans. And in her hands (her nose?), the Crescent City is a seriously rich and spicy lady.
The fragrance is noteworthy because Bond's scents are primarily based on Big Apple neighborhoods -- Park Avenue, Bleecker Street, Little Italy, you get the idea.
This is only the second time Rahmé has ventured beyond the subway lines for inspiration. She designed a scent for Boca Raton, Fla., last year, but jokes "it's New York with a beach. We just followed New Yorkers where they go, "
Rahme designed the Bond No. 9 New Orleans fragrance for Saks Fifth Avenue at The Shops at Canal Place. She will unveil the scent there on Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
So why New Orleans? Well, before we can answer that question, you first need to hear how Bond came into being.
A native of Paris, Rahme moved to Manhattan in the 1970s while working for Lancome, and fell in love with the Big Apple. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she couldn't stand the acrid smell that lingered in the streets of New York, and she felt passionate about the city's rebirth. "I needed something to make New York smell good again, " she said last year when she visited Saks New Orleans.
A veteran of the beauty industry, Rahme had the unusual idea of crafting a line of perfumes as an homage to her adopted hometown. To make it happen, she pulled on the heartstrings of colleagues in the scent-making world.
"After 9/11, I called all the big fragrance makers in France and said 'You have to do this for New York. It's New York, ' " Rahme said last week by phone from her headquarters in Gotham. "It worked. Who could say no?"
The folks at Saks New Orleans, unwittingly, did the same thing to Rahme, who has a soft spot for the Crescent City post-Katrina.
"I was there last year, and we had such a great event, and the Saks store manager said, 'You really should create a fragrance for New Orleans.' I thought, no, it's much too much work, " Rahme said. "But they said, 'You should do this for us, ' So I said OK.
"Then of course, there's the French connection. I'm French, and they wanted the fleur de lis on the bottle, and I couldn't resist."
So what does Bond No. 9 New Orleans smell like? Well, it isn't for the shy person.
The fragrance is a bold, gutsy, evening scent that brings to mind black velvet cocktail dresses, rich Reveillon meals and crepuscule rendezvouses. The base notes are cinnamon and sandalwood, while the top notes are tuberose, violet leaf, cassis and vanilla.
"I like to develop fragrances for people who like strong flavors, and New Orleans loves strong flavors, strong food, strong music, " Rahme said. "I developed something that I think is a very powerful fragrance, a little bit over the top, just like New Orleans."
Susan Langenhennig, The Times-Picayune