Aspen for Men by Coty (1989) began life as it's own brand marketed by Quintessence, a perfume division of Beecham that was the corporate remnants of a leveraged buyout involving the house of Jovan. Beecham acquired Coty in 1992, launching the masculine Coty Gravity (1992) the same year but eventually merged Quintessence into Coty by 1994, which is when Aspen became a de-facto Coty fragrance. At the time Aspen launched it was fairly novel, and likely a downmarket attempt to capitalize on the emergent fresh style of fragrance created by Pierre Bourdon and Olivier Creed in 1985 with Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985), a style that had already tumbled downmarket once when Bourdon cannibalized much of his own work to create Davidoff Cool Water (1988), a fragrance recognized as the first archetypical aquatic. Aspen also featured a heavy slug of dihydromyrcenol to give it the same fresh airy aqueous lift that both Green Irish Tweed and Cool Water had, but took the template into more of a proper aromatic fougère direction with an actual lavender/geranium/tonka/oakmoss core. Straddling the lines between the fresh fougère, aromatic fougère, and aquatic, Aspen went quietly unnoticed by high-brow connoisseurs for decades, guys who typically stuck to designers at minimum but more and more dedicated themselves to niche and luxury brands, because Coty had the same relative reputation as any drugstore or catalog brand (e.g. Revlon or Avon), but that seems to be changing thanks to people looking for lower-cost alternatives to the ever-increasing prices of the aforementioned Green Irish Tweed.
The opening of Aspen is that telltale slug of aquatic aromachemicals, which were likely the most expensive part of the composition when new. Lemon, galbanum, juniper, calone-1951 and cyclamen add airy woodland floral pop and sizzle to this opening, while the heart of lavender, geranium, hedione, neroli, and a light dusting of violet ionones establish the green floral fougère core. The base is balsam fir, oakmoss, limonenes and linalool compressing a rounded ambrein-proxy of something other than ambroxan (which was really expensive then), giving a midway feel between Cool Water, Green Irish Tweed, and something like Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche (1982) minus the smokiness. Performance is to be expected as modest and for the price, can you really complain? You'll get six hours out of this with moderate sprays and projection that dies in an hour but sits detectable on skin or clothing, and the overall aesthetic is appropriately "mountain forest air". You'll smell like how the mascot on Brawny paper towels looks, and that isn't a bad thing if you're the cheap cologne and expensive survival knife kind of guy, with a beat up 1970's Ford F-100 covered in primer and NRA stickers. This is a work-in-the-sun or gym bag kind of fragrance to be used up, thrown away, and repurchased every six month to a year, so don't overthink it. Best use is pretty much year round because for how cheap and versatile it is, you can just super-size your applications in colder weather, but Aspen for Men is not date night material or meeting-with-the-board fragrance either. If you want that, spend a little more on a bottle of Armaf Tres Nuit (2015).
So what's the skinny on Aspen? How does it compare? Well, if you try holding them up, you get in one hand a $10-$20 drugstore scent made to sell blindly based on the blurb printed on the back of the box to truckers passing through a Bucc-ee's, and in the other hand a once-$150 but now-$450 luxury niche brand that touts par excellence only for billionaire movers and shakers of our Capitalist hellscape to conspicuously buy. In short, you're setting yourself up for a really bad time with comparisons. Aspen borrows the skeleton of Green Irish Tweed for sure, but is built for cost and themed in a way that at the time would be thought appealing to the everyman demographic snapping up Coty (née Quintessence) fragrances anyway, folks oblivious to Creed and probably Davidoff too. The oldest pre-Coty bottles just had the leaf on the bottle and a shinier brass cap without the word "Aspen" printed anywhere, and no other info on the front besides whether you had a natural spray or an aftershave on your hands. Later Coty bottles added the name and weight to the front, with a duller thin bronzed cap. Quality differences are marginal because again, this is a cheap fragrance that's sef-aware of its cheapness. For the price however, this is a great dumb reach casual fling for fans of the style that want something they can go nuts with and not have to worry about price point or being overbearing to others. If that changes and Aspen becomes a pricey unicorn like Coty Stetson Sierra (1993), I'm going to once again point you to Tres Nuit, because Aspen will always be a fragrance that smells like you paid $10 for it no matter what you actually paid. Thumbs up.
Aspen needs a true,simple,generous, forth-right man of God who never gained his own desire. this self -sacrificing Walter Pidgeon character in "How Green Was My Valley".Aspen is a very green,herbal fresh scent with fantastic price.evocative of walking through a meadow in spring.
It opens with a very beautiful fresh green accord, the lavender is prominent,but it's not the only thing there,and is united by notes of to my nose galbanum, lemon and a very strong green bergamot accord that almost smells like limes.after half an hour a bit of powdery musk presents itself.the citrus and green notes keeps it fresh like you just got out of a shower in a waterfall with naked woman.
The scent overall is pretty linear from opening to the end however.very green, very cooling and very fresh.it smells like what a gentleman in a tuxedo or someone on a golf course would be wearing.if you like Green Irish Tweed, you'll almost certainly like this.
Simply put Aspen is ultra cheap Green Irish Tweed, as in what $20 GIT would smell like. Cool Water is a way better option if you are choosing, both in the quality and complexity of the scent, and in performance. Aspen gives an impression of 'green' whereas Cool Water is more 'blue'/aquatic. I really like Aspen so I make room for both. They are not redundant. However, Aspen may qualify as the cheapest fragrance that is collection worthy. We're talking solidly under $20 for 4.2 oz which makes it a no brainer for those that have room for this. Thumbs Up.
I enjoy Aspen. It has a fresh, "walk through the pines" profile that is pleasant for both me and people who are close to me. I think of colognes as cool and light versus warm and dark. A cool and light cologne such as Aspen is ideal for wearing at work. In the evening I prefer a warmer, darker scent such as Quorum.
Aspen is bargain priced so anyone on the fence does not need to spend much to try Aspen. It takes a few days to really know how a scent will work for you. In store tests are never as informative as wearing at home.
Very solid fragrance for the price. This, to me, is what Polo should have been. A fresh, "green," citrus accord that dries down into a milder version of itself. Nothing super exciting but it gets the job done.
Right now I have Aspen on one arm and Cool Water (CW) on the other and, frankly, there's not a lot of similarity to my nose. CW famously uses a ton of calone which Aspen doesn't seem to (as much). CW is aquatic, Aspen is foresty.
CW is a relaxing walk along the beach on a warm yet pleasantly breezy day. Aspen is a relaxing stroll through the woods on that same day. However, I'd say that Aspen is closer to being the "green" version of Nautica Voyage, another "blue" fragrance that's a bit sharper than CW.
Synthetic? Yes, but not unpleasantly so. Aspen does not smell like a floor or toilet bowl cleaner unlike, say Burberry Weekend or Grey Flannel. It punches well above its price-point and has quite decent longevity.
If you're on an extreme budget, you could get through the days of summer with only Aspen and Nautica Voyage. One green, one blue.
Smells really uncannily similar to Davidoff Cool Water, except it's more green. There is no pine or fir note; it's a pleasant green fougiere aroma. Sillage is moderate but leaning weak, as is longevity. It has a powdery accord that smells kind of dated; like an 80's cologne. It smells very synthetic - but in a pleasant way. I think having this and Cool Water together is a redundant purchase as they both smell very similar (but Cool Water has more aquatic notes and is a bit more complex). But since this is so cheap it's probably worth getting as a sort of extension to your Cool Water supply. I do think that Cool Water is better to my nose however, due to its more aromatic opening and drydown (with the citrus and lavender notes). Overall I like it, and really enjoy the pretty sophisticated looking green glass bottle as well, but it's not as good as Cool Water at all (though smelling similar initially, Cool Water has a way more complex and less powdery dry-down). It was so similar to Cool Water that I ended up giving it to my dad. I just smelled both side by side on both arms (Aspen vs. Cool Water) and to my nose, Cool Water is far superior. It smells more lively with an aquatic calone note and more pronounced citrus. Aspen is greener but less intense in sillage and more powdery. However I do have to admit I really enjoy the drydown of Aspen. It's very green and pleasant (but with less sillage and projection than Cool Water).