2/19/12

Obsession (Calvin Klein)



One has to wonder if Obsession would have been nearly as popular without Kate Moss as its spokesmodel. Moss was a force unto herself in the 1990s, a woman whose face was as ubiquitous as it was beautiful. I recall spending a number of my teenage years imagining her as a water nymph that was merely masquerading as a human being. There's something discarnate about her, and I'm not referring to her extreme thinness. It wouldn't surprise me if photographers needed a special lens to photograph her.

A magic glass of sorts is also required for deciphering Calvin Klein's famous unisex oriental. It's hard to make sense of it; Obsession is a very dense and complicated fragrance. People describe it as "hot," "spicy," "vanilla," generally strong, and somewhat retro. It's a big '80s perfume, full of the bombastic energy of that time period. It has been reformulated into something significantly less than its former self, but it still smells pretty good. Subtle notes of peach and bergamot exit the atomizer first, followed by cinnamon, clove, benzoin, and vanilla. Eventually the white flowers show up - plenty of orange blossom with hints of jasmine. An earthier base of patchouli, oakmoss, and sandalwood asserts itself, but here the scent becomes a bit flat. I'm reminded of Creed's Baie de Genievre in that Obsession's drydown, like the Creed's, resembles the smell of clean hospital bandages. Side-by-side sniff comparisons of Obsession and the original formulation of Obsession for Men (sadly I do not have the original formulation of the feminine Obsession) reveal the latter has superior citrus and spices and a deeper clove note.

Obsession has limited longevity and a compromised structure, but it's still the best offering from Calvin Klein. I don't use it myself because the far drydown reminds me of, believe it or not, Passion for Men by Liz Taylor. The two are so similar that I'm inclined to pass on a whole bottle of this formulation and just wear Passion - it's half the price and just as good. Then again, Obsession for Men is far better than both of them, and smells cleaner due to its soapy clove note. With me, soapiness always wins the day.








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