An AldeHo Dishes: Lady Stetson, a Thumbnail Review

In my teens and twenties, I’d have told you that I didn’t like aldehydes. I may have been affected by my mother’s use of Chanel No. 5, and by my disavowal of anything that Smells Like My Mother. Aldehydes are very much out of fashion these days, with only the occasional niche fragrance firm making use of them, and then only rarely.

But now I love them. There’s just something about aldehydes that say “proper perfume” to me, and I enjoy that little clean fizzy sparkle they can give to a scent, as well as the powdery cast they leave behind. I call myself an AldeHo these days; I’m always interested in trying new ones.

Earlier in the life of this blog, I reviewed several other aldehydic fragrances, including THE QUEEN ALDEHYDE, Chanel No. 5, as well as some others in that fragrance category. Click for reviews of Chanel No. 5, No. 5 Eau Premiere, Mariella Burani, Serge Lutens La Myrrhe, Guerlain Vega, Lanvin Arpege, Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds, Ferre by Ferre, Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, Lancome Climat, and Coty L’Aimant (vintage). I’m proposing the occasional review of an aldehydic fragrance in this “AldeHo Dishes” series, on an irregular basis. Some of these reviews will be quick ones, and I’ll call them “thumbnail” reviews. Some will be more in-depth reviews. It will depend on how much time I’ve had with each fragrance, and how much I have to say about them.

Today’s quick fragrance review concerns the decidedly downmarket Coty Lady Stetson, praised by Tania Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide, particularly in comparison to the far-pricier Chanel No. 22:

Lady Stetson sets out on an airy, slightly powdery peach. As time goes on… The Lady seems simply to relax. It’s a well-balanced structure of just enough amber, just enough floral, just enough peach, just enough soapy citrus to pull up a smile each time it comes to your attention. This fragrance smells great without showing off, and truth to tell, I prefer it to the Chanel. Now, if only the bottle weren’t so hideous.

I’m not a huge fan of Chanel No. 22 either (more on No. 22 to come), but my take on Lady Stetson is a little different.  And the bottle doesn’t bother me, either.  Coty is not a company where you pay for the packaging.

LS does start off with those sweet, powdery aldehydes – not enough to burn your nose, but they’re definitely present – as well as a lactonic peach note. I can’t pick out the florals, but they seem both classical in structure and mostly-synthetic in nature to me: rose and jasmine, perhaps, but not the real expensive stuff. As LS develops and the aldehydes go away, I get more and more peach, amber, and musk. The musk is rather pleasant – the “skin” version rather than the “laundry” version – but I find the amber and peach far too sweet for my taste. I suspect that my skin often renders amber notes too sweet, and not everyone has that problem.

Overall, my complaint with Lady Stetson is that it smells nice, but cheap. I can’t pick out any natural floral notes, and I find it inoffensive but boring. It has a “PTA Volunteer Mom” sort of vibe to it. Although Lady Stetson was launched in 1986, the year I graduated from high school, it smells like the PTA Moms of my own youth: dull, safe, stodgy, but comforting and pleasant.   It smells nothing like the “declaration of independence” this ad touts:

Notes according to Fragrantica: aldehydes, peach, tangerine, rose, ylang-ylang, carnation, jasmine, sandalwood, amber, and oakmoss.  I don’t smell any citrus, and I definitely don’t get any oakmoss out of it at all.  Read Angela’s review at Now Smell This for yet another take on Lady Stetson. 

Rating: ***  Lady Stetson has a couple of undeniable assets: it smells decent, it’s easily available, and it’s pretty inexpensive. I sprayed from a tester at my local Wal-Mart. A 30ml bottle will run you $16.50 there, a huuuuge bargain… if you like it.

Images are from Fragrantica.

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9 thoughts on “An AldeHo Dishes: Lady Stetson, a Thumbnail Review”

  1. Figures. I saddle up to ride through bloggery again, and come to see Muse, and she is talking about aldehydes.

    Me being an aldephobe and all.

    But it’s easy to play when I don’t need to put my nose at risk of being stabbed by 3,273 little daggers (that’s right, it’s like I can feel each and every one), so I’m game. And Lady Stetson sounds like fun, for those who like these kinds of sandboxes. (You cracked me up, btw–uh, yeah, Coty is not something you purchase for the packaging, LOL!)

    As you probably recall, I *do* like Mariella Burani, go figure. So maybe I’ll have to brave a Lady Stetson tester. If Walgreens’ll let me at ’em.

    1. HA! Last week was Chypre week, and this week’ll turn out to be Aldehydes week…

      The Lady plays nicely in terms of her aldehydes, though. Fewer aldehydes than MB, I’d say.

      Now I’m wondering for what would one purchase Coty, exactly… I did resniff original Stetson while I was there, and it still says “Mike Saunders” to me (er. High school boyfriend.) – i.e., Not something I want to buy my son, but still not all that bad!

    1. It’s… very… something, isn’t it?

      You know, I think it brings the primetime soap Dallas to mind for me – the glitz of the American country.

      The fragrance smells nothing, absolutely NOTHING, like you’d expect from that ad. It’s not even big. 🙂

  2. …and has anyone else noticed the exact positioning of that bottle in the ad? (LOL).

    I’m an AldeHo too, a very recent development. I *hated* White Linen when I first smelled it back in the day – actually recoiled – but fell head-over-heels in love with it this year. Mariella Burani is a favorite too, as well as Yvresse/Champagne. Looking forward to your review series.

    1. HA! Subliminal stuff. Was it designed to make men buy it for their sweeties? Was it designed to make women think this would happen to their men if they wore it? Who knows?

      Glad to meet another AldeHo!!

      I still don’t like White Linen, but as I’ve mentioned before, I have trouble with all the Lauders… something in the base. WL always smells sour to me, as well as having that weird nauseating Lauder base (which I cannot even smell, but which makes me feel like tossing my cookies). Champagne nearly killed me too, but not because of the aldehydes. I think it’s the peach note… I found a new home for the vintage mini I found on ebay, thinking I’d love it.

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