Wednesday, March 3, 2010

SOTD: Stetson Lady Stetson

I can't decide. I just can't decide.

Lady Stetson is an extremely inexpensive drugstore perfume, but one that Luca Turin decorated with four stars. So I didn't know what to expect. And I still can't decide what I think.

Now, I have no doubts about the top notes - I fervantly disliked them. Sneezy aldehydes combined with a touch of artificial sweetener. Blurgh.

But as it dried and developed --

I'm going to pause here to note that it did develop. Lady Stetson is definitely not linear. There are at least three distinct phases.

-- as it dried and developed, I liked it better. There was a growing warmth and depth, a sort of glow behind the sneezy aldehyde prickles. And also a large dose of soapy white musk, but a musk thoroughly pureed with something woody, something sweet-gourmand and perhaps something the faintest bit animalic. The blend works - this is the rare perfume containing white musk that doesn't give me any basement washing machine vibe at all. That, alone, is a significant accomplishment.

But I'm puzzled as to what it actually smells like. It's officially an aldehydic floral. People smell peach in this, and rose. To me, it's not at all floral - at first I get aldehydes and Nutrasweet, then it turns to wood and soap with a little bit of sweet gourmand. The final drydown is much more gourmand than floral to my nose - the Basenotes reviewer who mentions eggnog is closest in my view.  Angela from Now Smell This mentions amber and ylang ylang, and I sense them as well, but they both blend into the gourmand mood.

I like the drydown very much. I hate the top notes with a fiery passion. I'm not quite sure about the middle. This is going to make it difficult to wear, because the drydown is very subtle - to have as much of it as I'd like at the end, I'll have to marinate myself in aldehydes and Aspartame at the beginning.

But I will be wearing it again.

Review Roundup: Basenotes and Now Smell This.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.


  1. I LIKE aldehydes (yeah, so sue me), but I most definitely do not care for Lady Stetson. Sweet, peachy, musky mess, I call it. For the record, No. 22 is all sugary on me as well, and I don't like it either.

    But bring on most of the rest of the aldehydic florals. I can take 'em.

  2. Oh Muse, I thought I was the only one who hates No 22. That is a humdinging teeth rotter for sure!

    I have tried Coty L'Aimant but not this. Does it start out like L'Aimant and go a bit in a Jovan Musk direction? Not that I care for either, but just as points of reference? Do you know I haven't even tried Charlie, though the multiple colourways confuse me.

  3. I feel like there's a dim junior high/high school connection in this scent for me-- possibly sitting on the counter of my then-best friend's bathroom? Dunno. Would need to smell it to be sure (Boy-- "Sand & Sable" sure bopped me on the head from, say, 25+ years ago, and I think LS might be another one from that time-and-place for me.)

    Why, oh why, is there no drug-store perfume counter open bar where one could go to experiences these "classics"?

  4. That's interesting, Mals - that you like aldehydes and don't like this, and especially interesting that you don't like No. 22, for which I assumed that aldehydes would be the only challenge. (No. 22 is one of the things floating in and out of my sampling cart right now.)

    Oh, flittersniffer, you too? More interesting. I must try 22 now, just to expand my aldehydes understanding. Even if I go "eew."

    LCN, yes! About the counter. Except maybe if there were, we'd get our curiosity out of the way and buy nothing? As it is, they're cheap enough that I was willing to essentially buy a full-bottle sample.

  5. Oh my goodness this is the first time you've reviewed a perfume that I've heard of! It's too bad that you don't drink coffee, because so much of either a coffee cupping or coffee tasting is the experience that you're already an expert at: Describe the aroma and find the words for the flavor.

    But when all is said and done, based on your review, I'm not convinced that I want to wear any perfume that has an "eggnog" smell in it. Thanks for the Lady Stetson review.

  6. Thanks, Melody. :) Well, you still _might_ like Lady Stetson; it's not a terribly literal eggnog, just sort of a faintly edible vanilla-creamy vibe, along with some wood. Unfortunately, you generally can't try it without buying it, but fortunately, in the small bottle it's mighty cheap to buy.

    (I realize that I probably shouldn't be urging you to buy perfume until I drink some coffee. But I do anyway. :) Does coffee ice cream count? (Or, ooh, those little coffee candies. Kopiko coffee candies. Yes. Yum.))