2016 Fragrance : Calvin Klein CK2 Eau de Toilette Review


Let’s get to know the Calvin Klein CK2 Eau de Toilette.

One of the reasons why it feels appropriate to reel off the names of megalopoles like the beads of a hefty, world rosary is that CK2 offers a very urban, non-denominational, culturally neutral vibe. It smells clean – as in concrete-clean – mineral, but also vegetaly enough to make you think of 21st century suspended gardens of Babylons: trees and mini forests integrated in the vertical human habitat that will help tentacular cities have magnificent lungs and their inhabitants look at clear skies with bare mouths. CK2 in a way is an ode to clean living, one which will relegate surgical masks to hospital wards rather than witness them spill out on the streets…

Again, you see a movement towards more abstraction in perfumery manifest itself in this fragrance composed by perfumer Pascal Gaurin of IFF; if you want to avoid frankly edible perfumes and the master-narrative of gourmands, CK2 is the scent for you. It is not completely untethered to the grand scheme of perfumed things identifiable as happiness-is-in-your-fridge-and-your-bottle-of-perfume – hence a sweet base note of transparent tonka and/or sandalwood – but it does keep its distance from the idea of junking on gourmands notes till the last chip or scoop of ice-cream has been made to R.I.P.

CK2_bottle.jpg The perfume that would shut out the great organs of greed today would have to have zero sweet notes.

CK2 is grassy, a bit sweet; it also plays with your trigeminal sensations – a contemporary approach in perfumery which is apparent in L’Incendiaire by Serge Lutens or Panorama by Olfactive Studio and before them in the largely ignored Fo-Ti-Tieng by Marilyn Miglin. CK2 is prickly, mustardy and wasabi-like for one of its facets.

Calvin Klein famously championed the no-gender perfume often dubbed « unisex » from 1994 with CKOne, which makes you think of a siren’s fish tail with all sexual parts fused, probably. This latest incursion inside the territory of gender freedom is careful, likewise, not to smell of a man or a woman – or of horses, goats and musk deers. It smells of air, metallic water, silver angels, and crystal-transparent skin. It’s a tad fluffy but mostly clear as water. Even its wasabi note evokes detox rather than sushi although sushi-eaters will appreciate the whiff of iodine.

CK2_packaging.jpeg If you want to waft of the 2016 present with a hint of a throwback to the 90s and another hint of futurism, CK2 blends all that in its upside-down flacon which is like a dripping bottle of pure something that you need to carry around like a tank of oxygen. It makes you think that if there were to be a remake of Blade Runner (1982) today, whose action is supposed to take place in 2019, there would be a lot more plants, greenery and crisp, transparent beings in it.

Fragrance notes : wasabi mustard, mandarin, violet leaf absolute, wet cobblestones, orris concrete, rose absolute, vetiver, incense and sandalwood.