3/1/20

Stetson (Coty)



I reviewed Stetson back in 2013, but it was an awful review. I recently bought a bottle, and decided it was time to do it right. So let's get into this.

Stetson is an oddity. It's a cheap oriental marketed to men, but it smells like an old-fashioned feminine. Its top notes of malted lavender and citrus rapidly burn into waxy, candle-smoked jasmine and powdery woods. Simple pyramid, meritorious execution, efficient, plain, economical packaging. I've noticed that cheap masculines are often packed with notes, but Stetson harkens from a brief moment in perfumery history when companies were pushing budget formulas with compact pyramids, possibly because they realized it was better to render a few notes well, rather than many notes badly. The execs behind frags like Chaps, English Leather, and Stetson embraced this philosophy in the early 1980s, and it paid off.

But the 1980s are long over. How does Stetson work in 2020? Nobody will ever accuse it of being a great fragrance, but the jasmine note at its core is interesting. I love a good floral, and jasmine soliflores are among my favorites. The aldehydic jasmine in Chrome Legend is what shuttled it firmly into the "love" camp for me. Tea Rose Jasmin was another good one, now sadly gone. And that overripe, fruity, ethereal jasmine in Ocean Rain is truly incredible. So an old-school oriental with such an intense white floral note is endearing. Universal themes of cool morning dew (the fruited lavender) and afternoon warmth (leathery woods) create a successful sense of contrast in what would otherwise be flat gas station fare.

A fun thing to do when wearing a thirty-eight year-old fragrance is to envision the world in which it was released. Were young guys wearing Stetson to attract the local Phoebe Cates? Ms. Cates was our national treasure at the time. Disco was dead, The Cars and Tom Petty were on the radio, and Burt Reynolds was in his Charles Bronson Lite phase. But Stetson doesn't really smell like the eighties. It smells like the forties. It's a rip on Chantilly (Houbigant, 1941), and by proxy on Shalimar. So even in 1981, Stetson was an anachronism. Its quality made it a good value, and its marketing erased the potential for stigma. People were clever back then.

I wear Stetson more often than I thought I would. I figured I'd buy it and wear it once a year. I've used it about fifteen times in the past three months. It smells good. It wears beautifully. Its floral note carries solidly through the day, never losing clarity or balance. It's subtle enough to escape coming across as "perfumey." It's good stuff.

I recommend Stetson to any guy who wants a well-made oriental that won't break the bank. There are better orientals out there, but not for the money, and if you enjoy jasmine, few fragrances exploit the note as well as this one. Two thumbs up.


22 comments:

  1. Great review. I had a big bottle of this I bought on sale at the drugstore a couple of years ago that was a slightly older than what replaced it (it still has oakmoss on the contents.) It *did* bend my mind a bit. Have you seen the 'Stetson Man' commercials (there's one on Youtube that sounds like a pretty good Johnny Cash impression.) I gave it to my son because he rocks orientals much more than I do, and he has a great nose and a big collection and really enjoys Stetson. Hey, speaking of Jasmine, I keep thinking I catch something like this in the drydown of Paco Rabanne Pur Homme. Am I losing my mind? There is an accord buried in there that always makes me think of Eau Sauvage, and I wondered if that was what it could be.

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    1. There's oakmoss in mine, too. Some of this older stock still survives on store shelves. I have a feeling based on what I smell that Stetson contains trace amounts of Hedione, the trademark molecule in Eau Sauvage. Hedione tends to work well in jasmine reconstructions.

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  2. Whoops... It was actually PRPH I was wondering about, with regards to white flowers, or jasmine in particular, but that's my bad for hijacking the conversation.

    But just doubling down now, wouldn't it be interesting if hedione were hidden in PRPH? I never got to smell Jules and hear it's discontinued now, but it was supposed to have hedione in its pyramid somewhere, and kind of fits into a Paco/Kouros axis discussion...

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    1. Oh yeah PRPH has hedione in there, and also a significant percentage of the formula has dihydromyrcenol.

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  3. Excellent review, Bryan. Stetson has long been a staple here on the Southside of Chicago. There are probably three reasons for this: it's cheap, your dad and grandad wore it, and Southsiders love westerns. I kid you not about the western movie thing. Here, John Wayne, Randolph Scott and Clint Eastwood are pretty much gods to any male over fifty.

    I myself wear Stetson occasionally. I usually gravitate to barbershop scents and find it comforting in a way. A good scent to just chill or wear on a stroll. Keep up the good work and thanks again.

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    1. Thanks for reading and your comment, Doc. I didn’t know that about the Southside. I’ll visit Chicago some day, it’s the capital city of 80s classic movies and it would be nice to see the Drake Hotel

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  4. Hm... who is that cutie pictured above?

    If she likes Stetson, I'll buy myself a few ten's of 'em.

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    1. I forget who that is. Someone out there knows the name no doubt. Definitely of the 1950s era, a time where a bottle of something that smells like Stetson occupied every girl's boudoir.

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  5. At 45, I feel too old for these present times.

    Am I the only one at my age who longs for yesterday, whem females were supposed to carry themselves with grace and pride, unlike those sluttish A-listers of today?

    Yes, there's Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson (minus her Marvel outings), but beside those two, there's too many Kardishian and Cardi B-clones out there, and no Audrey Hepburn's or Grace Kelly's.

    And don't let me start the rant about the men... Lee Marvin and Robert Duvall are probably unknown among today's hipsters.

    They should be force-fed on a healthy dose of 70's Burt Reynolds movies, just for the hell of it.

    Axe bodyspray can't compete with Burt's hairy-chested English Leather.

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    1. I'm of the opinion that today's hipsters and queens should be forced to sit through 48 straight hours of 1980s comedy films. The cognitive dissonance would be so overwhelming that they'd be too exhausted to argue with my conservative views.

      Have you seen the pictures of my house?

      Agree 100% on the state of American women.

      Agree 1000% on the state of American men.

      Burt Reynolds is one of my favorite actors - ever see the movie "Hustle" with him and Catherine Deneuve? Beautifully made, memorable imagery throughout. Not to mention his other more popular comedies.

      Point Blank with Lee Marvin is another masterpiece.

      Bring back the dress. Women used to wear those. They were sexy as hell.

      Today's young Americans are a sad lot. I pine for the days when people held cigarettes instead of cell phones.

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  6. George Clooney had potential,until he became a politically correct eunuck after he found himself a female lawyer to chain him.

    To me, the essential 70's movie must be Get Carter. The image of a pale, naked, calm badass Michael Caine pointing a side-by-side shotgun at two thugs says more about real masculinity than anything out of Hollywood the last 60 years.

    And that northern England location spoke to me in a language I recognized, as it looked a lot more like the Norway I grew up in. Southern California simply isn't close to that landscape.

    As for Burt, I feel sorry for him. Reduced to a mere bad joke, along with Charles Bronson and a lot of others from back then. Truth is, I rather watch Bronson in one of those awful 80's flicks, than anything rolling on Netflix today. (Stranger Things, season 1, and ditto Cobra Kai were great, tho, since they kept the spirit of the nostalgia.)

    I wonder what will happen soon, when Biden takes office (and Harris will probably become president soon thereafter). I don't think the one's in control allows four more years with Trump.

    Whatever happens in USA, sooner or later spills over to (western) Europe.

    If I could return to the 50's, I'd be happy, even tho "the good, old times" probably never excisted. But, it seems to me that the mentality of the people were a lot more reality-oriented back then.

    Today it's too confusing. I mean,there's over 70 different genders, according to those who knows.

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    1. My problem with Clooney is his big doe eyes. There's something about his gaze that seems soft and vulnerable and not all that manly, despite his general good looks. I was never sold on him, although he's been in a few good films.

      Get Carter was a very good film. The ending on the beach is unforgettable. However my 1970s must haves are the chase films. Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, The Seven Ups, The French Connection, Gone in 60 Seconds, Vanishing Point, and many others were the best thing to come out of the decade imo. There were so many things but tying the mythos of the car to the masculine archetype came to fruition in that decade.

      When Biden wins we'll watch the "Progressive" movement sweep the nation. If you have 'em, smoke 'em. We're in for a rough ride.

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  7. The main problem with USA and (most of) Europe, is that the so-called conservative parties isn't remotely conservative anymore.

    The mob tactic had that effect; dare to be proud of your national heritage, and you're a no-good this-and-that. Therefore, no politician with ambition will ever stand up to defend the (real) conservative views.

    I thought Trump vs. Clinton was a bad joke back then, so Trump vs. Biden must be a straight-out farce. The trend from the last 70 years of electing the lesser of two evils brought us here, full circle.

    Same happened in UK, same happens here in Norway.

    The colours of their parties may differ, but the crap coming out of their mouths are the same.

    Maybe we need "a big one" to get things straight again. Something worth living for.

    Who knows. This woke-hysteria tells me we're a spoiled crowd, ashamed of our success. Our elders are gone; those who suffered two great wars and a recession. Their tales no longer resonates among the smartphone-clientellè.

    So, let it all collapse. Even the roman empire had to fall because it's people became vain.

    I got my dog, my wife and a few guns. There's still some remote areas without too many people here in Norway. Maybe it's time to move there.

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    1. Things here in America are pretty dire.

      I was in a relationship with an African American woman in 2017 who wanted to end the relationship, so we did. She was 28 at the time, and I was almost ten years her senior. We were friendly for a couple years after that, speaking frequently on the phone and occasionally seeing each other. She knew when we dated that I voted for Trump, and she didn't like it, but was mature enough to look past politics. Or so I thought.

      This past February my father was diagnosed with a serious cancer, and I mentioned it to her on the phone. She expressed sympathy, having met and eaten with him several times. In the subsequent months, when several bombshell revelations about "Russiagate" made headlines, I commented on them on Facebook, and when she read the comments ceased communicating with me. Then the G. Floyd riots started, and I commented in support of a an African American woman in NY City who condemned the violence on her street, and implored rioters to clean up the mess they caused. It was an inspiring video because people were actually listening to her and cleaning up the mess. She was furious, and the video depicted her in an empowered state of contextualizing the ongoing violence as it has been for the people experiencing it.

      For my support of her, my ex decided to break her silence and call me "toxic" and "supporting white supremacy." She had a little diatribe that was so off the mark I couldn't be bothered to respond to it. I simply blocked her. That was back in May.

      Yesterday, probably for the first time since then, she discovered she was blocked, created a new FB account, and messaged me with another diatribe about how awful I was for blocking a black woman and supporting white supremacy. I was labeled "trash" and there were a handful of other invectives in there that I skimmed over. My finger quickly returned to the "block" button.

      There's a social phenomenon here in the USA that is sweeping across the ranks of latecomer Millennials and members of Gen "Z" where they believe it's socially acceptable to dehumanize politically "incorrect" dissenters, misrepresent their positions, and call them nazis and white supremacists. They've been inculcated with the belief that this is how real life works. Dislike something about someone? They've stepped past your narcissism? Call them a nazi. Try any tactic you can to shame them and humiliate them and ruin their lives. There's a glowing blade of reverse racism and anti-Americanism slicing through our civility, fomenting unrest and hatred amongst our people, and I'm sure this doesn't end well. It's effecting conservative people in ways they don't deserve. Does America still have white power groups? Absolutely, and they are rightfully condemned by society. But the younger generations, lacking historical knowledge and brainwashed by activist professors, are under the misimpression that the fun of shouting slanderous names and using racial intimidation tactics is a fine substitute for civilized discourse and debate. Free speech is in trouble, and the rights of the individual are being erased and stepped on. It's not a good look. If I lived in Norway, I would find a cozy nook in the woods somewhere and disconnect entirely.

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  8. First; sorry to hear about your dad. I hope he gets the best support and treatment available.

    Second; in June, a crowd of 15.000 woketurds gathered to protest the "killing" of Floyd. In the norwegian capitol Oslo. During the covid-restrictions (a maximum of 20 individuals allowed, with a 4" distance). Of course, the cops didn't do a thing, they stood there sheepisly staring at the boiling mass of screaming idiots.

    To my knowledge, rascism isn't a problem in Norway. Rather the opposite. Muggings, rapes, gang related crimes, arson, killings, theft and corruption etc etc. A result of the open borders practiced by our various governments during the last 40 years.

    Still, we pay our taxes, we bends and we bows, we elect the same idiots over and over. The very few who dares to say it like it is, are met by a united press racing to shoot them down.

    If you click the "like"-button, you better make sure it's politically correct, inclusive, woke and generally apleasing to a certain religion. If not, the mob will do their best to shame you, not stopping until you lose your job, your social status, preferably every grain of your integrity trashed and burned.

    A teacher experienced this with a german student at one of our universities; he made a little joke, saying "we had a lot of germans visiting us in the 40's" (when they occupied Norway).

    So, the german student hired a lawyer and it started rolling. Poor girl was broken down mentally because of that heartless, ice cold joke, of course.

    That's where we are. The cops are afraid of the gangs, the gangs laughs at the cops, while working their way through every little part of our cities. Today an older man was robbed by two kids, ca. 10 years old. They had knives.

    According to one of the talking heads; they are poor, they don't feel connected to our norwegian society.

    Not one word about the victim.

    Some have said that Norway is the 51th state; mainly because the redneck/hillbilly iconism used to be strong in the rural parts. The Southern Cross, country music, 50's rock'n'roll, classic amcars, flannel shirts and jeans.

    But it's not regarded hip at all. Rather the opposite. It's dying fast, and the woke trend takes it's place.

    Today our youngsters tries to be hipsters from the West Coast. Starbucks, Burger King, McDonald's, Subway, Domino's, Dolly Dimple's, 7-Eleven and so on.

    Nobody knows shit about their own home soil anymore. What used to be norwegian heritage, are now old, boring, embarassing. Hell, they barely speak norwegian. English and various slang from other cultures slips easier from their tongues than their own language.

    Something happens with our cultures, and it happens too fast. We're losing it to something nastier, uglier.

    Over here, all the media outlets suffers from the Orange Man Bad-syndrome, and Biden is a genuinely gentleman, full of love and peace. I predicted Trump's victory last time, and people laughed. I'm also sure Biden are going win now.

    Not because of the voters, but because of those who counts the votes.

    Come what may, one thing is for sure; to those who despise Trump, and looks forward to Biden; none of us will enjoy what comes after them.


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    1. I wish you could sit down with my parents and tell them what you've told me. They hate Trump with a passion (politically) and believe he's an abject racist. Meanwhile the calculus behind the vote for Trump was premised on what is happening in your neck of the woods.

      We know what would happen if we opened our borders and let anyone and everyone in, because we can see it happening to your people, and to those of many European countries. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. While it's a noble pursuit to try to allow as many immigrants into a nation as humanly possible, the "possible" part needs to be tempered with an understanding of the risks, with policy-fueled kill switches in place on their behalf. Lest anyone doubt the folly in allowing a huge wave of undocumented immigrants into their country, look no further than France, Germany, Norway. For some inexplicable reason - very likely stemming from a desire for undocumented votes - the Democrats (and "progressives") here in the US are eager to copy your immigration model. I might understand it on some surface level if it weren't so obviously a mistake. Compare photos of Paris taken in 2008 vs. 2020, and it's like looking at a city that's been abandoned and turned into a slum. Graffiti everywhere, damaged monuments, trash and detritus strewn across the streets.

      We saw this, and we understood that the globalist propensity for cowing the masses and fomenting cross-cultural strife meant we needed a leader who would extoll the virtues of American identity, independence, capitalism, less regulation - much, much less regulation - and cast a wary eye on immigration. Sure, he's a douchebag on a personal level, and anyone who contends as much has got me there. But in terms of message, policy, and intent, Trump is, amazingly, the only person who stands between the America I grew up in, and the Norway you're currently living in.

      The left in our country is on a mission now, unfortunately. Demoralize the police, riot and destroy as much as possible, bend the will of the common man to accept the original sins of our founding fathers as reason enough to sacrifice everything we've spend the last 100 years working to achieve, all under the auspices of the false narrative that America is a racist, awful, no-good place. My hope is that you find a way out of the nightmare, and that we fight it before our country succumbs to the madness.

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  9. Europe will double up on the progressive transtition, no matter. It gotta be much, much worse until today's woke generation turns their views. In other words, I won't survive to see it turn toward the conservative side again.

    Chances are it won't even be a turn.

    And in USA, with Ginsberg gone, hell will break loose well before election day. I suspect Trump, and little Mitch, postphones the election of a new judge until after the election. Sadly, Trump tends to bow and bend too easily.

    Also, ballot boxes will show up way into the new year, the courts will be flooded by various lawsuits... most likely Pelosi will step in as a "president" on January 20, since there won't be a result until that date.

    A nice plan, in other words.

    As you said; Trump is the only one between the people and and a possè of globalism apostles in both parties (the GOP really wanted Rubio in 2016). Trump's downfall has very much been the opposition within his own party.

    After Trump, there won't be a republican president for ages. But, if that happens, it will be a republican in name only.

    My advice to the pupils in school today; skip the french and the german; take a course of spanish and chinese instead.

    Those languages will be a lot more practical in the next 50 years.

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    1. I think in America the tide will turn sooner than that. Things are a lot worse here than people realize. In Connecticut people have not been exposed to the outrage mobs, but as close by as NY the marches and riots have been raging since the spring. People are getting fed up. Trump would be smart to hold off on nominating someone until after the election, because it's the fact that he can nominate someone that gives him power, not the nom itself. My hope is that our country makes amends with itself by 2025, and if that is deemed utterly impossible, that the people with a vested interest in constitutional preservation take a stand against the anarchists.

      China has a solid 30 years of hardship ahead of it, thanks to fentanyl exports and covid. It hasn't set in yet, but the "de-coupling" of America from China has been underway for a year or so now and will only accelerate.

      Where I fully agree with you is that after Trump the Republican Party is endangered to the extreme. However, the Dems aren't in wonderful shape, either. The "progressive" wing of the party aren't Dems, they're Communists. It'll be interesting to see how the people react when that truth lands on middle class dinner tables.

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  10. As in Illinois, we're not yet struck the hardest here in Norway. Most people seems to believe that only the major cities got a problem with immigration,and the following unrest, be it crime or decay of the society.

    They are wrong, of course. Just because they've got money,owns their own house, a few cars, a cabin or two, and a safe job (hah!), life is swell.

    Meanwhile, across the border, Sweden, little Sweden, succumbs to anarchy. 11 killings, 12 efforts, 2 bombs, 27 arsons. Stabbings and rapings by the numbers. From september 11 to september 18. Worse than Beirut.

    Germany, France, the Netherlands, England; spiralling downwards, with no known opposition raising their voices.

    Yep, Bryan, interesting times ahead. At least USA got a heartland at it's core; the settler spirit may still lurk somewhere, in someone. My fear is that the middle class are too tamed, too adjusted to political correctness, to dare oppose the progressive clan hiding behind Biden. But nothing would be better than be proven wrong, tho.

    I don't have much hope for the old countries across the pond. We're not men enough, anymore.

    Some claims that Africa is the new resource market for China. They may even transfer it's population there. Colonizing the land.

    All I know, is that most of Europe kneels to China's command.

    Could be our leaders knows what lays in store when China comes closer, reaching out to Russia and the Middle East. (Interestingly enough; our government sold off large areas of wilderness to China a couple of years ago. Why? So, China actually owns parts of Norway.)

    To quote ol' Murrow; good night, and good luck.

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    1. You folks have it really bad there. I'm pulling for you!
      The "War on Men" has taken its toll. Men need to stand up. They need to stop with the self-feminization, the urge to "listen" to people's stupid opinions, the turn-the-other-cheek approach to violence and insults. Decades of derogatory TV commercials, product marketing, social pressures have made men into one dimensional wussies. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - put down the soy lattes, guys. Learn to shave. Dress like someone who works with his hands. Get the testosterone level back up in society, or the consequences of wussing out will be unthinkable.

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  11. Went to a toy store last week, a place I haven't been to in many, many years;

    Beside some Lego and Playmo, and a few cars and such hidden in a faraway corner; shelves upon shelves with ponnies, Barbie-clones, glitter and glam, dolls this and that...

    No He-Man or Transformers or G.I. Joe's anymore, not even a sheriff's star or a revolver.

    But aprons for both girls and boys.

    I'm a stranger in this new world...

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