There are many reasons to love Henri Bendel, and in my opinion, the fragrance section is chief among them. In fact, when I found L’Artisan Perfumeur in a nook on the second floor, I disavowed my allegiance Jo Malone in favor of L’Artisan’s Thé pour un Eté. Well, prepare yourselves for more changes on the fragrance front, as Bendel has recently added Vive le Parfum est Mort to its already impressive repertoire of obscure fragrances. Mort, however, isn’t your typical line of artesian scents – at least, not on the surface. Each blend has its own name that is avant-garde, if not completely raunchy. Similarly, each scent is accompanied by an extremely creative and often erotic description and represented by a picture, many of which feature genitalia in one way or another. My favorite titles are “Magnificent Secretions,” “Hotel Slut,” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong Baby, I Don’t Swallow.” One has to wonder about the line that in this case separates avant-garde and West Village raunch – it’s obviously fine, but is it more the high quality of the blends or simply a bad case of francophilia?
I’ll leave it to you to decide. You many be wondering how they smell, and I could tell you that they smell fresh, as artesian blends are wont to do, and that my favorite is “Jasmine and Cigarette.” But I think it’s worth a trip to Bendel to smell for yourself (because really, what isn’t worth a trip to Bendel?).