Perfume Review: Le Labo Aldehyde 44 (Tom's Take)
Review by Tom
Le Labo started out over a year ago, and both Colombina and I quickly found at least one favorite. They have added new fragrances to their line, some of which are location specific. For instance if I wanted to huff Tuberose 40, I would apparently have to go to New York to do so. Well, I have friends in New York, and it's my default vacation destination so this does not get up my nose as far as if there was a new and delicious fragrance that was only available in say, Dallas, where I know absolutely nobody and am likely never to set foot in.
D'oh! Her comes Aldehyde 44.
The official notes are all about the white flowers: jasmine, narcissus, tuberose and of course aldehydes. The aldehyde-phobic needn't pull away in fear here. This juice doesn't have the usual powderiness that seems to be a staple of other aldehyde-heavy classics like Chanel No. 5, and the white flowers, rather than being heady and indolic are very light. So light for me that I don't make out the individual flowers at all, I just get a sense of white florals (I swear Mimosa is in there) and an opening sweetness that's quite heartbreaking. Patty at PerfumePosse had a great review of this where she wrote that it embodies happiness: a "..happiness that is complex and embraces all of life’s sorrow and joy. For me the opening smells of the perfect, most beautiful Spring, and the knowledge that there must inevitably be a Fall. Or an adult seeing a youngster in the full first flush of love and knowing that there might be heartbreak in the future. As the scent develops, so do the flowers, becoming more luscious with the addition musk and finally harder with the addition of woods. Oddly for a scent that reads like you should be able to smell it from space, it stays extremely close to the skin.
This one is working my very last nerve. Dallas?!? DALLAS? First of all, are they have to realise that this is going to be decanters early Christmas present, right? Second, with all due respect to any Texans out there, but does this sound like it has anything to do with Dallas? It's so obvious that it should be sold out of Los Angeles! I'm not (only) being selfish here. I've often thought that there should be a scent that encapsulates my adopted home, I've even made up notes for it. This one screams "Hollywood": the sparkling happy ingenue opening deepens over time into a lusher, more intense middle and a slightly brittle, blasted-bud finish. It reminds me of what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of Joan Crawford (in her younger days, before she became the clench-jawed beetle-browed robot we all remember from the 60's):
"[She] is doubtless the best example of the flapper, the girl you see in smart night clubs, gowned to the apex of sophistication, toying iced glasses with a remote, faintly bitter expression, dancing deliciously, laughing a great deal, with wide, hurt eyes. Young things with a talent for living."
Le Labo, when you do finally do Los Angeles, you better be good. Really good.
Aldehyde 44 is (Clenching jaw more firmly than Joan in "Best of Everything") only available at Barneys in Dallas for $230 for 1.7 ounces or $360 for 3.4 ounces. I am trying my best to ameliorate my annoyance by the first part of that sentence by repeating to myself the second part with prices. So far, it's helping.