Monday, October 19, 2009

Diddling around Dallas: Digging Aldehyde 44

So I'm moving from Princeton, New Jersey to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The last 2 weeks I've been making my way slowly across the country - taking a leisurely tour of the southeastern states and now I find myself in Dallas, Texas. So far, I've found most of the main streets and back roads of America to be fragrance free with virtually zero shops selling interesting perfumes, especially not any of the niche gems. Even in New Orleans I didn't find much perfume. New Orleans was much more about antiques, food, casinos, strippers and Voodoo Juice (my drink of choice for a few days).

About six months ago I read about Le Lebo Aldehyde 44, wanted it desperately, then realized it was a Dallas exclusive. Thinking I'd never be in Dallas, and not knowing anyone in Texas, Aldehyde 44 quickly vanished from my mind. Until today when I strolled into Barney's Dallas. I made a perfumista dash for the Le Labo counter and could barely manage a cursory hello to the sales associate while I sprayed myself with this gorgeous elixir named Aldehyde 44. OH MY GAWWWWWD. It was love at first sniff. One of my top 5 favorite perfumes is Chanel No. 22 and Aldehyde 44 bears a strong family resemblance.

Created by perfumer Yann Vasnier, Le Labo Aldehyde 44 is without a doubt my favorite from the Le Labo line. Granted I haven't tried every single Le Labo scent available but I do have Iris 39, Rose, Labdanum, Ambrette and today I sniffed Oud. Oud, by the way, is much more intriguing and wearable than I'd previously imagined. Given my affection for aldehyde embellished florals, Aldehyde 44 does not disappoint, in fact, it's much more amazing than I'd imagined. It opens with that sparkling, frothy fizz of Chanel-esque aldehydes and is also reminiscent of Piguet's Baghari. Aldehydes, especially this white floral type which you would recognize if you have Chanel No. 22 or No. 5 are especially radiant and sophisticated. Aldehyde 44's aldehydes are flawlessly white and snowy without the usual powdery quality found in this fragrance style. The initial burst of Aldehyde 44 makes me huff my arm. I initially wrote "The initial burst of Aldehyde 44 makes me WANT TO huff my arm" but I removed the want to because I'm simply huffing this stuff - not just wanting to - I'm doing it.

Somehow Aldehyde 44 courts the haughty memory of Chanel No. 22 and No. 5 but veers away towards it's own warm, sensual, femme fatale composition. I adore Chanel No. 22 in all it's haughty glory, but Aldehyde 44 is earthier, more floral, modern and sexy.

Le Labo's Aldehyde 44 is a beautiful perfume. For me, it was worth stumbling upon in Dallas and paying the $400 price tag (100 ml size). Yes, I felt it irresponsible if I did not mention the price of this lovely juice. It's expensive.

Notes: aldehydes, tuberose absolute, narcissus absolute, jasmin sambac, musks and woods


krnszn said...

Moving to Santa Fe??? How cool is that!!!!! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures. I considered Santa Fe when I made a major move from the SF Bay area 5 years ago. Ended up in Portland, Maine! Love it here...though I still dream of Santa Fe.

As to the Le Labos, haven't tried any! I suppose I should check them out!

ScentScelf said...

I was all too willing to enjoy your tale from afar, because usually I hold up my hands and cross them when approached by an aldehyde. Have found a couple of exceptions, but still...there's enough perfume in my life, and more to come nonetheless, so any opportunity to live vicariously is a good opportunity to take. Especially when the presentation is in such good hands.

Then I saw that narcissus absolute in the notes. DRAT! It'll take an hour or so for me to talk myself down. However, if I am ever in Dallas, I won't steer clear or even cross myself as I approach the Le Labo counter. ;)

Continued good wishes on your journey and your move.

Abigail said...

I have family in Santa Fe and have visited for many years now. I've always known I wanted to end up in NM (or perhaps Boulder, CO) but finally decided life is too short and took the dive. Surely there will be things I miss from the east coast but I think I'm going to be mighty pleased.
Portland, ME? I grew up in MA and have many relatives in ME so I know the coast quite well. Maine is utterly beautiful. My aunt has a farm house on Penobscot Bay and I've often fantasized about living there. Some of my most idyllic summers were spent in Brooklin, ME. You made a nice choice.

For many years, I, too, needed to cross myself when coming into contact with an aldehydic fragrance. I thought they gave me headaches and were the most synthetic and difficult to enjoy. Along came Chanel No. 22 and ever since I've had to put several aldehydic florals in my top 10 list. Of course I don't enjoy just anything with a heavy dose of aldehydes but now there are a few that I truly appreciate.

You might want to give LL Aldehyde 44 a whirl - it's surprisingly easy on the nose. And, yes, the narcissus absolute, tuberose and jasmine give it a gorgeous floral presence. Easily my favorite find of 2009! :-)

krnszn said...

Hi Abigail! I was born in Southern CA, grew up in CO and went to high school (Littleton) and college (Worcester) in MA, then lived in the Bay area for 19 years. Somehow I made it back to the east coast. Also considered going back to CO cause I LOVE the mountains! But the coast won out. Hey, perhaps after your stint in NM you can move to Maine for a few years. ;-) As for me, I dream of living in Paris. Ha! Maybe some day. So many places, so little time.

Unknown said...

Hi Abigail! As a native Santa Fean and fellow Aldehyde 44 addict, I couldn't read this without commenting. Aldehyde 44 is Amazing, and I think Le Lebo is making a huge mistake by not releasing it into wider circulation. It is a glorious new take on aldehydic florals, and the thought of it being discontinued makes me want to cry. So few perfumistas get to try it. I still have half my 5 ml bottle but am already saving for that 100 ml.

Good luck in Santa Fe!

Abigail said...

Hiya daseined!
A fellow Santa Fean?! Wow, I never thought I'd find another perfumista in SF.
Le Labo is making an ENORMOUS mistake by not distributing Aldehyde 44 to all their stores - it's simply gorgeous and surely isn't selling as well as it could be by only being sold in Dallas... it's such an idiotic business decision. If it's dc'ed I will be forced to snap up another bottle or two even at the ridiculously high price. I'm wearing it again today and smitten is an understatement.

Nathan Branch said...

Abigail -- I've been hearing rumors that the Le Labo City Exclusives are going to make a widely available (though limited time) appearance soon.

Like, very soon.

Abigail said...

Hey Nathan,
Thanks for the scoop-age. It would also be a wonderful thing if the price went down to the $200 level - but surely that's a pipe dream!