Who doesn't love a bargain? I know that I do. So when I saw that Perfumes: The Guide gave Stetson's Lady Stetson four stars and compared it favorably to Chanel No. 22, I knew I had to try it. A trip to the drugstore and $4.95 later, I had an 11 ml bottle of Lady Stetson cologne spray in my hands.
The name "Lady Stetson" might lead you to believe that it smells like a set from Little House on the Prairie or like something a country western singer might wear. When you couple its name with the fact that it came out in 1986, you might even imagine it smelling like a sort of mega-cowgirl adorned in a rhinestone vest and flipping her bleached curls as she kicks up white ostrich ropers. Instead, Lady Stetson is a peachy, aldehydic floral with a sweet, medium-bodied drydown that might have suited Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie better than Charlene Tilton of Dallas.
Lady Stetson starts out with a brisk, tingly aldehyde rush. Soon the aldehydes wear down and the scent of peaches mixed with roses, tangerines, ylang ylang, and amber takes over. It is a lush, easy, drinkable brew — a sort of Snapple in a perfume bottle or what I imagine a supermarket viognier would taste like if it were packaged in cans like beer. Lady Stetson smells as proper but approachable as your high school boyfriend's mother. You can't help but like it. But do you love it?
For my Lady Stetson style of fragrance, I already have and adore Caron Nocturnes, which I find more interesting but just as friendly as Lady Stetson. Other aldehydic florals I prefer but that aren't quite as affable as Nocturnes or Lady Stetson are Guerlain Vega, Balenciaga Le Dix, and Robert Piguet Baghari.
Bottom line: if the perfume genies granted me any four-star perfume listed in Perfumes: The Guide, Lady Stetson would fall to the bottom on the list as I snatched up the wickedly beautiful Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, Amouage Jubilation 25, Vero Profumo Onda, or even Chanel No. 22 instead. But if you are looking for a perfume that is both fancy (the aldehydes) and welcoming (the fruit, flowers, and amber) and you only have a five-spot in your pocket, Lady Stetson is just the ticket.
Note: image via Parfum de Pub.