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quarta-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2016

Bargain Fragrances: Aspen by Quintessence/Coty (1989)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less.  Leave a comment below for your chance to win a 5ml decant of Aspen, shipped anywhere in the world, FREE!
Summary: Created over 25 years ago as an affordable response to the groundbreaking Cool Water by Davidoff, Aspen by Quintessence (now Coty) offers fresh citrus over a base of mossy herbs and cedar, and still smells as great today as it did in 1989.
Perfumer: Unknown
Try this if you like: Sweet, aquatic citrus aromas; shower-fresh scents; a burst of lemon; green fougere aromas.
Reminds me of: Cool Water by Davidoff, Creed Green Irish Tweed, Michel GermainSexual pour HommeFaçonable, Animale for Men, Jo Malone Lavender & Amber, Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte, Giorgio of Beverly Hills Wings for Men, and Swiss Army.
Pros & Cons: As so many have noted, and there is a lot of love expressed on the Fragrantica review page, Aspen is basically a sniffalike of 1988's Cool Water minus the tobacco and aquatic notes; even more interesting is its similarity to Green Irish Tweed by Creed but without the depth. Looking at reviewer's comments, many seem to find it preferable to its alternatives.
One reviewer suggested Aspen is "as cheap as it is, as cheap as it smells...synthetic C.R.A.P. - gave it to my son he likes it..he's 11...," and another concluded "There's simply no versatility in this fragrance. I can't think of any occasion where I would even attempt to go for this scent. It's too piney & too synthetic smelling for me to feel secure enough to wear this among other people. I would feel like a walking air-freshener, wearing this."
Others have waxed poetic: "Aspen scores full marks on delivering an interpretation of the ‘crisp, mountain air’ promised on its packaging. It opens with a wet, citrus-y freshness that reminds you of the clean smell of the suds in the shower soon after you’ve stepped out of it."
As a fougere (herbs, lavender, moss), Aspen feels fresher and more modern than others in its genre, but as a response to Cool Water, there are many other offerings that smell almost identical. So there is nothing at all remarkable or innovative about Aspen.
However, the floral (jasmine and orange blossom) and juniper midrange show up most prominently as the scent relaxes, especially in my ca 2015 bottle. The mint offers a bracing freshness that makes it ideal for warmer weather. And wow, that price tag - I scored a 4 oz bottle on a popular auction site for $6 shipped and I'm surprised by how often I reach for it.
Aspen offers only average longevity and conservative sillage.
Notes: "Top notes are bergamot, galbanum, green notes and lemon; middle notes are coriander, cyclamen, geranium, jasmine, lavender, juniper and orange blossom; base notes are amber, cedar, oakmoss, musk and balsam fir." Fragrantica.com
Designer’s Description: "As compelling as the land that inspired it. As natural as the man who wears it. Aspen - a man's cologne; follow your natural instinct."
Number of times tested: 100+ times over the last 25 years.
Number of sprays applied for this review: 1 spray to the back of my hand from abottle I purchased in 2015.
Fragrance strength: Cologne
Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): Aspen is really somewhwere between linear and average. Nothing really changes but the as the citrus relaxes, the florals bloom. I don't detect any oakmoss here and even the woods are quite subtle. The mint is most noticable during the initial development but by no means would I call this a "mint aroma".
Longevity: (Short Average / Long-lasting) Pretty decent considering its price: I get about 3-5 hours with only a few sprays.
Wikipedia Commons
Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) Aspen is a quiet scent and as such would likely work well for an office environment.
Note about the packaging: Aspen is still as it was in 1989 - an emerald green rectangular bottle with copper lettering and cap housed in a copper and green paper box with images of aspen leaves.
Where can I buy it? A 2 oz Cologne spray can be found online for as little as $10 USD.
The Bottom Line: I received Aspen as a gift a year after it launched from a friend of a friend who I barely knew and rarely saw; she took it upon herself to find me an alternative to my signature CK Eternity because it had caused her allergy problems. I have to say, I was pretty floored that someone would expect me to change my scent (as I didn't find it at all similar to Eternity) but understood that breathing was her top priority.
When I first used Aspen, long before Cool Water was on my fragrance radar, I found it incredibly sweet with an unusually spicy accord lurking somewhere in the background. It didn't at all seem so "piney" to me (compared to my RL Polo) nor did it seem all that woody (compared to Azzaro Homme). I remember thinking of it as a minty citrus.
It has been 25 years since I owned a bottle of Aspen and upon recently revisiting it, I was surprised to find it exactly as I had remembered it; even the box and bottle remained the same. In terms of the composition, I find it nearly impossible to pick out any of the individual notes aside from the florals and sweet juniper. I still don't find it woody, nor do I find it mossy. I can't discern the lavender or the amber but for a slightly sweet base in the drydown. I must report, however, that I did receive not one but two compliments while wearing Aspen. The original advertising for Aspen makes me laugh - "As compelling as the land that inspired it. As natural as the man who wears it. Aspen - a man's cologne; follow your natural instinct." Natural? What is natural about it?
Since first owning Aspen, I have worn a number of "designer" and niche offerings that are basically the same composition (see "Reminds me of" above). As I no longer wear or own any of those scents (with the exception of an ongoing favorite, Wings), Aspen is a nice stroll down memory lane for those times when I want to re-experience this style of aroma...for about the price of a movie ticket.
Have you ever been curious about Aspen? What have your experiences been like with this Cool Water alternative? Tell us below for your chance to win a 5ml decant of Aspen by Coty, shipped anywhere in the world, free!

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