Stetson : Stetson Original

Created by : Unknown perfumer

Date : 1981

Genre : Soapy amber

Concentration : cologne

Simply purchasing Stetson can be, in itself, “off-road” because many department or high-end luxury stores don’t carry it… but you can easily find  Stetson, as I did, at a drugstore.  There it was… behind a locked glass cabinet with a red triangle on the upper-right corner of the box with the words « New Look, Original Scent ».  I plunked down my $25 Canadian dollars, shoved the nondescript sepia-toned box into my coat pocket, raised my collar, lowered my shades and zipped out… incognito-style.

Contrary to Stetson’s hyper-masculine image and its own marketing tagline as “The legendary fragrance of the American West”, Stetson is actually a very pretty, traditionally-feminine amber with fresh, floral top notes and just a hint of animalic leather that is rare in American perfumery.  Its opening rivals some of the best first acts on the market and if Stetson was made by Chanel or Guerlain, I wouldn’t make such a fuss.  But at such a price?  I’ll make a fuss.

After the complex, layered high-end opening, the animalic notes dropped off leaving a beautiful and seamless amber heart making Stetson Original cologne perfectly wearable by both men and women.  (I don’t usually make this distinction because I think men and women should wear whatever they like but this fragrance is so clearly marketed to men that it’s worth mentioning.)  By the end of the day, I was getting whiffs of a soapy suede that I would associate more with French perfumery.

When I compared Stetson to Shalimar (which costs 4 times the price) both bolted out of the starting gate at the same pace but Shalimar easily took the lead with a stronger animalic subtext and something that made my mouth water… perhaps that pastry quality that Guerlain is known for.  Minutes later the distance between the two increased, no doubt due to the quality of Guerlain’s ingredients and the complexity of the composition but still, Stetson held its own for what it does well… a good-quality amber at an everyday price but with a soapy facet instead of an animalic one.

Interestingly, Stetson Original cologne is not a cologne… it lasts at least 6 hours making it more of an eau de toilette.  I guess the image handlers at Coty didn’t feel comfortable printing the words “eau de toilette” on their masculine, no fuss box.  But basically you’re getting a quality eau de toilette for the price of a bargain cologne making Stetson Original just about the best value for dollar available on the market today.  Agreeably, Shalimar is more beautiful but Stetson is still absolutely wonderful.

So if you are addicted to citrus chypres (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or those ultra-fresh and ultra-boring sports scents and you need a break, try Stetson Original.  For the rest of the week, I found myself reaching for the bottle with the coat of arms on it.  Just don’t get fooled by the “since 1865” hype.  That would be the Stetson hat.  The cologne has been around since 1981.

P.S.  For those who complain to me that they would wear perfume if it was affordable, Stetson Original is and it’s wonderful.

Image : Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Leave a comment


  1. Denis L

     /  July 27, 2010

    Bonjour Normand,

    “Soapy”, bien dans le sens de mielleux ; …et non de savonneux !? 😉

    Le petit côté cuir, c’est bien ça l’originalité. Je doute cependant qu’il y ait beaucoup de femmes qui le porteraient…

    Ça semble bien aller ce blogue !
    Tu y écris régulièrement.
    Bravo !


    • Bonjour Denis,

      C’est plus le côté savonneux. C’est un musc très propre… on est loin d’un musc animalisé tel que Shalimar ou même Serge Lutens Musc Kublai Khan. Le blogue va très bien pour le moment… c’est toujours un plaisir d’écrire sur ce sujet.

      Merci de ton commentaire!


  2. Stacey

     /  July 19, 2015

    Stetson drives me absolutely sexually insane. OMG THE BEST

    • It really is incredible… and for that price!

      Thanks for the absolutely honest comment!


      • Stacey

         /  July 19, 2015

        Stetson creates an extreme raw honesty. My body has an instant involuntary response to it the moment someone walks into the room wearing it.

        It’s like I become a different person which does and says things I wouldn’t normally do. I become extremely flirtatious and sexually aggressive.

  3. Go Incognito

     /  May 10, 2021

    I Came from Brazil ,went in a drugstore and I’d shoulder hit a bottle of Stetson in Quebec, tried 3 sprays in my hand full of prejudices,expecting to fall in love for Tabac by Maurer and Wirtz, or Jaguar classic instead, suddenly met my best friend of the fragrance world, coming from the tropical side of the planet, I simply found beauty in the countryside of Canada, Stetson images, commercials and the smell itself took me by the hand and I had a immersion in a new culture, It is a gentleman,distinct, knightly, very friendly,very humble, beautiful and charming,cologne,have a seductive edge, hauntingly gorgeous, I simply couldn’t stop to sniff my hand in amazement, the cologne have a buttery quality, something creamy beautifully nuanced, with a masculine background which never let this perfume fall in the feminine side, Man this is addictive, well constructed and a genuine joy at the heart! The pride to be an man.

    • You are absolutely right about Stetson being nuanced. I haven’t worn it in a long time but will wear it tomorrow. Such a beautiful ambery cologne which you say, “never falls on the feminine side.” Thanks for writing!

    • Anonymous

       /  May 12, 2021

      I couldn’t agree more with Stetson being addictive. I actually have a chemical imbalance with Stetson original and the moment a man enters the room wearing it I know!!!

      Involuntarily my body begins to react to it and makes me behave in a way I don’t normally do. My ex wouldn’t buy anything else because this made me sexually aggressive. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!

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