The progression is seamless and sustainaibly sour aldehydic into a somewhat metallic musky floralcy in the base, without either too much sweetness or woodiness (The idea of musk at Le Labo can be perversely illusionary anyway, as attested in Musc 25. Perfumer Yann Vasnier is using ambrettolide here in Aldehyde 44, which is a macrocyclic musk, very refined, soapy smelling-fruity in character).
What is characteristic is there is no powderiness in Aldehyde 44, as associated with other retro fragrances that utilize irones and ionones (iris and violets) to denote cosmetic products and old-school face powder. Instead it's citrusy waxy-soapy-fatty, it makes me think it's what an hypothetical child between Ivoire by Balmain and White Linen would be like: the green sudsy oiliness of the former meets the fatty sweetness of the latter, the rosy facets taking on a peppery bite with lots of buds' green, a hint of pear fruit in there too.
If you read that Aldehyde 44 contains woods and vanilla and imagine a comforting scent, you will are in for a nasty surprise: the woods only come from the C12 aldehyde (a pollen-rooty, lilac scent) and the silvery refracting amber synthetic; while the citrusy touches are reminiscent of bitterish, tangy orange rind (which has a resinous quality, not unlike some incense blends) and not marmelade. The floral notes cannot be taken apart, it's an abstract blend where no note rises above the rest. Aldehyde 44 possesses "sweetness" of another kind altogether and it can only be compared to that encountered in No.22 (especially in its less incense-y modern incarnation as part of Les Exclusifs in Eau de toilette) or the classic Lauder referenced above. The sillage is civilized, but definitely there, and the lasting power very good. Lovers of the elegant polished genre, rejoice, this is a well-crafted example; perhaps not totally necessitating the ouchy price-tag nevertheless.
The offficial Le Labo presentation states: "Aldehyde 44 is a small wonder that sits tight between an aldehyde overdose, that gives this scent a unique cleanliness to it, a sublime floral composition that is built around Naracissus, Jasmin, and Tuberose (all Absolute in case you wandered), and a bed of muscs tied with a hint of vanilla. The result is esthetically admirable and unique".
Aldehyde 44 by Le Labo features fragrance notes of: aldehydes, tuberose absolute, jasmine sambac, narcissus absolute, woods, vanilla and musk.
Le Labo Aldehyde 44 is a Dallas, TX city-exclusive, retailing at $290 for 50ml, but only for the month of November it is globally available at Luckyscent and on the official Le Labo site.
Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Le Labo reviews & news , Aldehydes: what they are, how do they smell, where do they shine, Aldehydic fragrances
photo of Cyd Charisse
photo of Cyd Charisse