POP! Best Aldehyde perfumes you might not know that well

aldehydesWe are having the weirdest Spring!  Yesterday it was warm enough to let our little baby chicks out for a minute (aren’t they cute?) girls day out..today we’re all snugged inside, as it dips into the low 40s and needle-like rain lashes the windows.  Ah, well…at least it’s not snowing here.   The seesaw-y weather has me craving the fizzy pop!Pop! of aldehyde perfumes.    I know there are as many aldehaters out there as there are aldehos – this is one of the most divisive scent groups evah!  There are so many different aldehyde scents, some work better for Chick Days like yesterday..and some give off a warmer fizzaliciousness for these chilly, damn  damp (DAMP!) days of Spring.   I pulled together a bunch of my favorites, even the ones I can’t wear without triggering a massive migraine (which I wear anyway)….and yeah, yeah, I know – it’s dumb ….but the things we do for Beauty!


Okay!  We all know the Queen of Aldehydes, Chanel No 5.  What you might not know (because it might not be true.  I make stuff up all the time) is the parfum works best on really warm days!  Chillier days, the rich warmth of the parfum  gets a bit cloying, so that’s when I bust out the EDT.  I know that’s counterintuitive but I love the way the EDT mirrors the chilliness of the day.

Vintage Coty L’Aimant (Jane Russell to No 5’s Marilyn Monroe) only works for me in the colder days of Spring.  When it warms up, L’Aimant gives off an oily sweetness, like …hey, you know persackly what it smells like?  If you’ve ever been to a county fair, you know how fabulous funnel cakes are?  For about 8  minutes?  Then they get cold…and the grease congeals…and the sugar sticks to the grease….and…yeah.  Ick.   So it’s the exact opposite of what you want a funnel cake to be…I could go on with this  but my head might explode!  Just trust me on this:  it works better in the cold.  For me, anyway.  Ymmv.

Powerhouse!  An aldehyde that takes no prisoners on any day:  Guerlain Vega.  Guerlain does aldehydes in a wholly different way – big, jammy/fruity/fizzybombs with a THUMPIN’ bassline.   Vega is the bassest of them all and once it’s on, it’s AWN.  8 hours later, it was like I’d just applied it.  Its polar opposite?  Piguet Baghari, one of my personal favorites.  It dances on the skin and smells like pink champagne looks.  Alas, this is a temperate weather ONLY scent.  Over 70F and it disappears.  Below 50F and it cries.  Then it disappears.    I’ll be wearing the daylights out of this, come May…assuming May isn’t doing the January thing like April is.  We’ll see.  But it’s so preeettttyyy!

 I Want to Love:

LeLabo Aldehyde 44.  Great Googly Woogly!  There’s a story behind this one.   So….several years ago Barneys was hosting one of those LeLabo thingies where all the City Exclusives are available, praise Floyd!.  I spritzed Aldehyde 44 and fell head over heels in LOVE.  LOVE, bay-beee!  I spritzed it again.  Big Love.  Compliments galore.   I wore that tester OUT!  It went back to its Dallas home.  I obsessed about it for ages…then I went in on a split………oh, I was so excited….sooo exci…wait.  Where is that sweat note coming from?  Yikes!  Huh?   Nobody else smelled anything different from any other Aldehyde44…so I’m thinking I must’ve fallen in love with an ‘off’ bottle.  Alas.  The ‘real’ stuff is lovely, don’t get me wrong…but it’s not my First 44 Love.  Alas.  And what does it matter anyway?  Dallas Barneys is closing and with it goes the 44.  Alas.

White Linen.  Headache in a Bottle.  One of the most beautiful scents out there, it never fails to shove a glittering icicle  through my left sinus.  Yet another ‘alas’.  But I’m perverse.  So I take a couple of ibuprofen and spritz away.  But not too often.  And only in deep Spring, when it’s warm enough to offset the ouch.  I spritz it, then go outside and lay in the chaise, wondering why I am so stupid.  icicle



 I can only wear in the dark:

Arpege.  Isn’t that strange?  I have tried to wear Arpege in daylight but it’s like it’s a vampire or something.  The fizz goes all flat and it gets musty and stickynose.  In the evening, though, something charming happens.  I have to be inside, though or else it has to be  a really warm Spring night.  Yeah, I know.  Too Many Rules.  But I don’t make ’em.  Really.  I don’t.  Blame the perfume.

I can only wear in the day:

Serious.  L’Heure Brillante.  My first Cartier love.  I fell for Mme. Laurent’s line via this sparkly little gateway.  I wear it happily, with a little sheath dress…until about 7p (DST).  Then it has to come off.  The perfume, not the dress (though if The Rock is askin…. oh, c’mon Dwayne – you know you wanna) .  Weird with the time thing, I know but…  like I said, I don’t make the rules.

It tries to kill me – but I wear it anyway:

Clinique Aromatics Elixir.  I know this is supposedly a chypre but to my nose it’s Lady Aldehyde.  A shapeshifting, complex scent, it possesses the power to bring on a migraine that could fell a rhino.  And yet…I still spritz it, albeit on a handkerchief.   AE is one of those scents you can smell on Jupiter – heck, I haven’t sniffed it in over a year, yet just typing ‘Aromatics Elixir’ brings the entire composition front and center.    What a glorious perfume.  Too bad it hates. mah. guuuuts!


So..what about you guys?   Tell me your favorite fizzies.  Do you love aldehydes?  Hate ’em?  Like ’em slicey or like ’em sweet?    Do they make rules for wearing like they do for me (the little dictators 🙁

Melanie Wallwork May 1, 2013

I have a vintage Chanel No.5 in pure parfum. I could never understand why I used it so infrequently since I love the drydown. Perhaps the aldehydes... I have and enjoy Liu, Apres L'ondee, Chamade, Vol de Nuit, Shalimar and several Shalimar flankers, Jicky (not a fav), Insolence, Eau de Guerlain(too pale for me) - do you think I like Guerlain? I just don't "get" the aldehyde fizz. I've not smelled a fizz but I intend to educate my nose. Can't stand White Linen, Diorella (threw away both in the trash). In fact, I despise any Estee Lauder. They smell sickening to me. I have not even approached the EL counter in years. Perhaps, I should revisit. Thanks for this thread. I found it very interesting.

Dina C. April 25, 2013

My favorites include Arpege, Bois des Iles, Eau Premiere, 1932, Sycomore, Chamade, Vol de Nuit, Apres L'Ondee, vintage No. 5 parfum, and Rive Gauche. I didn't realize how much I liked aldehydes until I did a search on it and found so many of my old favorites. So, I guess I'm a fan! Arpege was my signature scent for a decade, back in my 20s, and I wore it day in and day out. Nowadays, I feel like I have to be "up for it" to wear it.

Connie April 24, 2013

Some other somewhat obscure aldehydes are Vraie Blonde (ELO) and First (VC&A), neither of which I particularly love. I quite like Baghari and a number of the Chanels, but on the whole aldehydes aren't a note I've really explored yet.

Elia April 24, 2013

The opening of Chanel no5 is one of the few things I still hate in perfumery. I'd have to expose myself more before declaring an aldehater, but my memory of Aromatics Elixir is also not very good.

Martha April 24, 2013

Meant to comment earlier today, but work got in the way. It was interesting to read about the migraine problem related to aldehydes. I'm not sure which of my samples contain aldehydes, but I can tell you that my vintage Deneuve sample has given me a headache twice. Wasn't sure about the reason, but now I wonder if it could've been the aldehydes. Too bad 'cause it's such a classy fragrance.

solanace April 24, 2013

I love reading your posts, Musette! I'm getting to like the Chanel aldehydics more and more. Eventually, I'll get a FB of No. 22 (or Bois des Iles?). Also, today Gaia mentioned Amouage Gold as an aldehydic fragrance. Well, I love Gold, adore it, I want to visit Oman because of Gold.

Jennifer Counts April 24, 2013

I don't know that I've tried all that many aldehydic perfumes. I didn't know Jub 25 was aldehydic, but I like it, so there's one I guess. I have a sample of vintage Rochas Mystere, which is pretty but a bit soapy for my taste. And I've sniffed Chanel No.22 on a card, but it was so soapy on the card that I didn't bother trying it on. I also have a small amount of vintage Arpege, and it's not soapy at all on me. It's really pretty and also totally not me.

Sherri April 24, 2013

AldeHater for the most part but I do love Vega, Le Dix, Miriam, La Belle Helene and Chanel No. 5 vintage eau de cologne onl I never knew Jub 25 had aldehydes! I love that one too! Alot of the Byredos seem "fizzy" to me, but they don't have aldehydes...or do they?? Good luck with those little chicks!!

Gina April 24, 2013

I was never an aldehyde lover until I sampled Amouage Jubilation 25. To my nose, it smelled like a snuffed out candle, and it drove me crazy to have some. Not unlike your experience with the LeLabo, when I bought a full bottle of Jub 25, it didn't seem to smell as deeply of snuffed candle. Maybe a difference between dabbing and spraying, as well. I love it anyway, and it seems to have opened me to liking aldehydes more than I used to. That and some vintage No. 5 perfume, amazing stuff.

shaney April 24, 2013

I wouldn't say I'm an aldehater, even though I **LOVE** that term, but aldehydes don't seem to work on me! Too sharp, too soapy, too caustic...just TOO much. I keep trying, though...just in case I happen upon something that doesn't drown me!

eldarwen22 April 24, 2013

My ultimate favorite aldehyde perfume is Amouage Dia. I know it's the lighter version of Gold but doesn't seem to get a whole lot of love. It took me a while to love no. 5 and no.22. No. 5 is one of my winter scents and No.22 is the spring and summer scent.

Michelle April 24, 2013

Confirmed aldeho here. Musette, you are so much fun. I love all the ones you mentioned that I've tried, now I need to get my hot little hands on the ones I haven't, Vega, the LeLabo & the Cartier. Other faves, the older the better, calandre, caleche, Revillon Detchema, Nina Ricci Fleur de Fleurs, Balenciaga Le Dix, L'Interdit, Madame Rochas, Rive Gauche, Weil Zibeline, Salvador Dali, Le Galion Sortilege. Yayy!!

Tiara April 24, 2013

Definitely not an AldeHo but do like wearing both No. 5 and Cher Uninhibited every so often and my last little smidge of original Chaos. No. 22 is a major no go!

Mals86 April 24, 2013

"I spritz it, then go outside and lay in the chaise, wondering why I am so stupid." OH LORD MISS M HOW I LURVES YOU! AldeHo in the house, checking in witcha - I have a laundry list of aldehydies I love, aldehydies I just like, and ones I don't like at all. Top tier: No. 5 parfum, L'Aimant, Vega, Ferre 20, Iris Poudre (how'd you miss IP, huh? that one's more floof than fizz, but I don't mind), Climat, and Miriam. Second tier: Aldehydes 44 (which is just nice, not transcendent), Bois des Iles in the LE version (I'd put pre-LE in the love column, but I don't have any, and the LE is so much thinner that I cannot love it), SSS Champagne de Bois, Sortilege, Arpege (which is very much a fall fragrance for me, and I like to wear it while I mow the grass in September!), White Diamonds (in parfum only) After spending some years thinking I couldn't do No. 22 because it was sooo sweet, with a texture like sugar grains crunching in my teeth, I tried the LE version, and got along fine with it. The ones I can't wear? White Linen, which aside from my usual Lauder-base-makes-me-queasy issues, smells like mildewed laundry to me. Baghari, which to me also has a "soured" aspect like laundry left too long wet in the washing machine. Divine L'Ame Soeur has a buttermilk note which, against its lovely peach, makes me feel ill. Bill Blass Nude is all choking Tang Dust, bleah. Lady Stetson I find uncomfortably sweet. And I have a bias against "soapy," so Ivoire, Turbulences, the original Nina Ricci, and the original Dolce et Gabbana scent are all off the table for me. Calandre, Rive Gauche, and Madame Rochas are all on the dry, vetiver-influenced side, and I don't find them comfortable. STILL have not tried Wrappings! Or Caleche, for that matter.

FragrantWitch April 24, 2013

You always make me laugh, Musette! I adore Vega as I am a Guerlie Girl. Chamade is spring to me! White Linen I wear in very specific sunny weather and only if wearing a flowing skirt or loose drapey trousers, generally in a shade of navy blue. How's THAT for specific? I'm slowly coming to love No.22 but most Chanels and I are not friends. Ah well. I'm struggling to get into the swing of spring having had a blast of proper summer in Tenerife recently. Surprised myself by wearing the bejeebers out of a couple of samples of Alien that were in my travel bag. That stuff positively sang in the sunshine! Glorious. Also drained the sample of Anubis from Papillon Perfumery that I reviewed. Fabulous stuff. So, having felt drenched in sensuously vivid colour I am having a hard time settling back into more ' transparent' scents. Thankfully, there are so many tempting smellies!

Beth April 24, 2013

Oh Musette, I love your posts. You crack me up. I completely understand being perverse and trying to wear a perfume you KNOW is not good for you. Is that like dating the bad boy? You know its not going to work well, but you can't resist. I thought I hated all aldehydes when I started this journey. Of course I didn't know they were called aldehydes, just that they seemed like "old lady" scents to me. I think that's because the king of them was Chanel No.5. But No.22 changed my mind one warm day. That sorta sounds dirty, I know. I love Chanel Eau Premiere, have a 10ml decant of No.22 and am creating a list on STC of other aldehydes I'd like to try. I HAVE to try AE. I heard Katy Puckrick say the only way she can wear it is a drop at the base of her spine. Now that, combined with what you're saying here, makes me perk right up. How can you not want to try a scent that people say is only wearable in extreme and kinda strange ways?

Alison April 24, 2013

I seem to gravitate toward aldehydes and my favorites are Calandre by Paco Rabanne (sadly discontinued) and Chanel No. 22. Fell in love with both as teenager and never got over them. I have added Cartier's So Pretty in recent years in both EDT and EDP and love love it. I will have to try the Guerlain Vega, haven't heard of it before so thanks Musette! I also love Elixir though I haven't owned any in many years. However I have never been able to bond with Chanel No. 5, no matter how many times I try or how often they reformulate or flank. Just not gonna happen for me, I'm afraid.

Jan Last April 24, 2013

Aldehyde junkie here. Vintage Balmain Ivoire, Givenchy III, both the K and the Krazy in Krizia, Leonard Tomango, SL's L'Eau. Think I'll wear the Ivoire today!

Mrs. Honey April 24, 2013

Baghari is my winter scent. I like to wear it in the cold. For the rest of the aldehydic fragrances, I prefer moderate weather (under 90 F). I tend to prefer Liu to Vega. The true queen of aldehydes is Estee Lauder Super. I can't wear it because it was the signature scent of a friend of the family.

Ann April 24, 2013

Hi, sweet M! I was just going to say for the big-bang fizz, I like Clinique Wrappings, but Robert up there beat me to it. :) Some aldies are OK (Le Labo's was) but others don't fly (looking at you No. 5). Oh well, to each his own. I do like the Brillante and must try the Vega next time I'm in Neiman's.

Robert Matthews April 24, 2013

Clinique Wrappings. Just...KABOOM. Fireworks in a bottle. Spectacular.

dinazad April 24, 2013

Ohhhh, honey, I'm with you on White Linen (yup, well-known hater here!). Except I wouldn't touch that thing with a barge pole.... Now, I wouldn't know an aldehyde if it got up and bit me. I just know that everything that is touted as aldehydic acts up like a gang of teenage rowdies on my skin. But fizz? Hand me the Hermes Amazone, please! A lovely, fresh, fizzy springtime scent with better things to do than acting up. Hey, she's an amazon, she needs to run and work and ride along the beach and be outside. Which is probably the reason she lasts about five minutes on my skin.

australianperfumejunkies April 24, 2013

You covered all my faves and told me a couple of newies. Thanks Musette. Portia xx

Rina April 24, 2013

The same thing happened to me with 44! I was at Barney's Bev. Hills when I saw the LL counter and asked if they had it, never imagining they'd say yes! I spritzed, went upstairs for a bagel and a shmeer, went back down thinking MAYBE I could get a sample (NO) or afford a small bottle (NO) so I went home. Damn if it wasn't the first scent DH actually asked me what I was wearing! So, now I HAD to get some and only had a week left before it was no more. So I bit the bullet and got the traveler in the silver canister but it doesn't smell as good as I remember and DH hasn't asked about it since. WTF? Anyway, thanks for the great piece, I LOL'd!

FeralJasmine April 24, 2013

Lovely post! The idea of you taking NSAIDs to wear a perfume amuses me no end, as long as you're doing it voluntarily. Sort of premedicating for your scent of choice. You make me realize that I'm nearly virginal when it comes to aldehydes; I understand that Mona's Rose Etoille de Holland is supposed to have an aldehydic opening (damn, I really thought that was bergamot and green stuff) so I will have to get myself to the Chanel counter soon. I bonded so strongly to Coco (NOT Noir or that other fluffy one) that I don't think I have ever smelled numbers 5 or 22. Keep writing!

rosarita April 24, 2013

Oh, Musette, you never fail to crack me up. Girl, you are deliberately spraying on a scent that you know is going to give you a headache? No, no, no. I wish I loved White Linen that much because I think it's beautiful, but I don't like the soapy soap it turns into on my skin. Arpege though - it was my first bottle of perfume, when I was little. My parents brought it back from a trip to Europe (my sister got Worth). I love Arpege but pretty much only in the spring; it's been getting a lot of wear lately. It just smells pretty to me. Keep those chickies warm!

Spiker April 24, 2013

Bois des Iles is the first perfume I fell in love with. I haven't tried many other aldehydic perfumes (only 7 months down the rabbit hole), but to me Bois is perfectly soothing and well-mannered. Other than leaving me with a tendency to shove my nose against my wrist at inopportune moments, it's very discreet. I suspect from your description I have a lot more to look forward to in the world of aldehydes, but I'm still recovering from my first test of Muscs Koublai Khan.

71º & Sunny April 24, 2013

Can someone explain an aldehyde and a chypre to me? I'm a bit confused as to what these are. Thanks! Monique

ojaddicte April 24, 2013

Loooooove Clinique AE! It's one of the few perfumes my scent devouring skin cannot digest quickly. I like to give myself 2-3 good spritzes. I am still working on "getting" No 5...

Kandice April 24, 2013

I'm a relative newbie to the world of perfume, so I'm out of my depth when it comes to recommending anything. And I haven't tried many aldehydes. However, I did try White Linen back in the day, and it gave me a raging headache too! Thanks for the opportunity to be entered in the draw :-)

Lynley April 24, 2013

I laughed out loud at your only after dark mention, because I have one too! Byzance. Also an aldehydic florally orientally chypre-ish one, depending on who you ask :-/ I got my little 30ml bottle from a bf in the early 90's, and it's still more than half full as I can only wear it to bed. Never out the house, and NEVER during the day! So I'm glad im not the only one :-) My fave by far though is Baghari. But you're right- again it has to be a very specific environment :-/ It must be an aldehyde thing..

Amy K April 24, 2013

Aldehydes and I don't get along well, unfortunately. Andy Tauer's Miriam is the only aldehyde-heavy fragrance I enjoy, and it's mostly a matter of suffering through the aldehydes to get to the divine drydown. Maybe I just haven't tried the right one yet.