Obsession for Men & Obsession Night for Men (Calvin Klein)

Something about Obsession for Men appeals to my dark side. Perhaps because it's named after something in the DSM, or those weirdo '80s commercials successfully worked their subliminal magic, but this "cheap oriental" is noteworthy. I only know the original formula (still have a 25 yr-old splash bottle), and cannot comment on its current incarnation, but the classic stuff made a lasting impression. Bob Slattery should be applauded for his one and only masculine fragrance contribution. 

Obsession for Men is, in my opinion, the only serious masculine scent released by this company. Forget your Eternities (the flankers for which go on eternally), your Escapes, and your Truths. Obsession is the everyman oriental of the eighties. It has sex appeal in spades, particularly if you consider the breadth of its popularity. Its simple arrangement of herbs and spices, flushed with citrus and based on a familiarly warm amber, feels distinctly formal at first. Eventually it dries into a eugenol-fueled soapy cleanness that projects for miles and lasts for days. Obsession is like Old Spice on steroids. It isn't high art, but it has a manly aura I can appreciate. 

As for Obsession Night for Men . . .

. . . Well, things didn't quite work out they way I wanted them to. The concept is fair enough: take lemon, grapefruit, pear, and other fruity, apple-like esters; weld everything to cardamom, suede, a dollop of patchouli, inedible vanilla. Sounds nice enough, but it falls flat, and I don't know why. I'm tempted to blame the listlessness on a common issue with CK scents - their poor longevity. Obsession Night goes strong for all of twenty minutes before dropping like a sack of potatoes into the skin-scent abyss.

Another problem is that Obsession Night bears no relation to the original Obsession. Orientals automatically lend themselves to being "night" scents. One supposes a little darkening of the formula, with added spices and some burnt sugar, is enough tweaking to yield a whole new beast. Evidently the boardroom suits had their way and voted for the "safe" and genuinely cheap (not Luca Turin's cheap) formula. I don't mean to suggest that it smells bad - quite the opposite, actually. Obsession Night for Men is a very nice scent, a postmodern leather with a pleasantly fruity personality. But it doesn't smell dark, or serious, or like anything I enjoy in the original perfume.