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.
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.