2016 Fragrance : Calvin Klein CK2 Eau de Toilette Review

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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.