Almairac has done five fragrances for Bond No. 9, several of which I like very much. Fire Island has its detractors, but I'm a fan. It smells like suntan lotion, but it's a fantasy version, conjuring the beach and summer memories and a laid back state of mind. It starts out strong with gardenia and seques eventually into white musk and soft patchouli, a progession which mimics the real sense of a day in the sand, where you start out fresh and clean and end up salty, slightly grungy, and warm. Bryant Park is pleasant enough. West Side, too. Recently, I smelled Saks Fifth Avenue for Her, a fairly straightforward tuberose, and I think I like it most of all.
Sold exclusively at Saks, it has an unusual quality for a tuberose. It has that buttery, rubbery quality many of them do, but something else too. This might be the vetiver at its base. It might be all kinds of things. What it smells like is somewhat smoky. Almairac delivers this unexpected trick in a few other places. The incense singe of Gucci Pour Homme comes most readily to mind. Along with vetiver and tuberose, the notes include vanilla, jasmine and gardenia. Pretty simple. The effect is deceptively simple, too. What I like about Saks is how quietly strange it is. It reminds me of Fracas with an ever so slight gourmand edge to it. I think that's what makes it for me. It's as if someone figured out a way to grill Tuberose and serve it up as an appetizing dish, making tuberose seem as edible as artichoke or coconut. Coconut is a good analogy, as many people swear there's some in Saks. They find Saks somewhat tropical. I guess I really don't. Then again, it makes perfect sense to me that the man behind Saks and Rush is the man behind Fire Island, because all do interesting things with tuberose and/or gardenia. Like many tuberose fragrances, Saks last well, but it doesn't seem as "take no prisoners" as some can, and I'm someone who likes the assaultive quality of Michael by Michael Kors. Whether or not you find its qualities worth the price tag is another question, and always or often an issue with the Bond line.