Aspen (Coty)

Aspen is one of three fresh fougères I actually like. The other two are Green Irish Tweed and Cool Water. Aspen doesn't seem to get much love in the blogosphere, perhaps because it's a drugstore fragrance by Quintessence, purchased and re-purposed by Coty, and fumeheads aren't all that interested in anything by Coty nowadays. That's too bad. I think it's a very good scent.

I didn't always feel that way, however. When I first tried Aspen a couple of years ago, I anticipated something that smelled like piss, and that's exactly what I got. Little did I know, my tester was off. It figures - when perfume sits under fluorescent K-Mart lights all day, everyday, it's bound to suffer. Recently I gave it another try, and was shocked by how different it smelled. The urinous alcoholic top that blasted my nostrils the first time was transplanted with a fresh, crisp, and aromatic blend of lemon, pine sap and mint. Aspen's drydown yields a simple but pleasant combo of oakmoss, a nondescript fruity calone molecule, and amber. The calone element is restrained enough that the fruit notes never fully manifest, and hang back as sideline suggestions instead.

Of the three fresh fougères listed above, Aspen is my least favorite, but it made the cut because of its pine sap accord. I don't often smell pine sap in other masculine fragrances, and certainly not in anything else by Coty. It's something you'd smell in pine tar soap, or maybe an expensive wintergreen-flavored gum. It elevates the fragrance a notch above the common fruity aquatic fougères that haunt the shelves at Marshalls and CVS, and puts it into a more serious, adult-oriented bracket. The sap note pervades the entire lifetime of the scent, reminding me that I'm wearing Aspen, a fragrance of leafy trees and pristine nature. Its slightly bitter greenness is rather nondescript, and arguably smells like a deodorant, but when it comes to almost any fresh fougère, that's just a fact of life.

Aspen's longevity is spotty. One generous application in the morning usually makes it about two hours before fading down to a skinscent. A second application thereafter lends it more strength, but I still don't see it lasting all day. For $20, what can you expect? Concentration issues aside, the fragrance appeals to me because it's the perfect Saturday scent. It smells simple and casual. It's somewhat green, although its greenness isn't the grassy, natural verdancy of more sophisticated niche scents, but rather that common abstracted greenness of post-Cool Water fresh fougères, with some extra nuance thanks to pine sap and mint. I'm sensitive to green smells, and this one excels in cooler, dryer weather. If you're on a budget, and both Green Irish Tweed and Cool Water are nowhere close to your spending range, Aspen is probably for you - and it won't scream I'M A WALGREENS FRAG! to everyone you meet. Hey, you could do a lot worse. I've got a can of Axe that I've been using as a paperweight.


  1. Right on about the Walgreens frag comment. I have had compliments from this guy, and have shocked people upon revealing to them it was Aspen, lol.

    1. People have seen this stuff sitting on the dressers of teenagers and college students, and perhaps dismiss it as an unremarkable cheapie to cover the smell of stale beer and pot. They're almost correct, save for one crucial remark that must be made: Aspen smells really good.


Thank you for your comment. It will be visible after approval by the moderator.