Salutations, readers. I’m ensconced under my scuppernong arbor tap, tap, tapping away on the old Royal, preparing a review for Now Smell This. I must hurry; the mailman will arrive shortly and my review must be ready. It’s so trying, typing whilst thinking of the hens’ yard that needs sweeping, the cardoon bitters I must brew, the yarn I’m dyeing in my new aluminum livestock tub. I also have a “note to self” here that’s hard to read (the ink’s smeared…I only use fountain pens, you see). Oh, yes, I remember: I wanted to sincerely apologize to you all for being so masculine (an awful thing indeed). Apology accepted?
Calvin Klein PR says Calvin Klein Encounter is “modern, stylish and unapologetically masculine” just like its front man Alexander Skarsgård. Since I dislike Encounter so much, I must be Alexander’s opposite: old-timey, “homey” and ashamed of my masculinity. Any other men out there who are apologetically masculine on a regular basis? Take a whiff of Encounter and get back to me!
Encounter was developed by perfumers Honorine Blanc and Pierre Negrin and includes fragrance notes of mandarin, cardamom, pepper, jasmine, patchouli, rum, cognac, agarwood, Atlas cedarwood and musk. As I sniffed Encounter’s rather “bare” fomula, I returned to that list of notes…and laughed.
Encounter opens with noticeably phony mandarin combined with menthol-y cardamom: together these two notes give off a “minty” vibe. If you pay CLOSE attention, you may get a whiff of pepper (sprinkled on lots of warm, indistinct wood notes). Oud? Uhhhhh…. In mid-development I smell a mildly floral, strongly synthetic note that may stand in for “jasmine” (it arrives and departs quickly). The cognac and rum are missing (I think), or are they the nose-searing “alcohol” notes I smell that are like the fumes emanating from jugs of homemade liquor that would kill you if you drank more than a cup of it? Modern, and feminine, patchouli (how could this “apologetic” note appear in Encounter?) lingers in the perfume's base with more sheer woods and musk. On paper, Encounter smells like wood-mint mouthwash (more ‘interesting’ than on skin).
Is there a designer perfume division that puts out more crappy men’s fragrances than Calvin Klein? Hugo Boss is its equal, but not worse. Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana also love bland, mainstream formulas and pump out “new” perfumes accompanied by big PR campaigns. These days, Calvin Klein releases one junky scent after another: scents designed to appeal to the easily satisfied “fragrance” customer who cares little about originality or the quality of the ingredients in their “perfumes.” These folks must “need” a bottle of perfume the way they need deodorant and toothpaste; perfume is a product you use every day and you don’t worry too much about it. It’s unfortunate that Calvin Klein perfumes are so mediocre now; in the past, Calvin Klein put out some interesting and (for their time) innovative perfumes: Eternity, Obsession, even Escape and ck one. Over the years the quality of those original perfumes seems to have waned.
Encounter is feeble: a standard-issue, inexpensively made department store fragrance designed to make money. Calvin Klein must think “real men” smell unapologetically cheap.
Calvin Klein Encounter will be available in 30, 50 ($58) and 100 ($72) ml Eau de Toilette and in matching grooming products.