One Thousand Scents

Friday, November 21, 2008

Subterfuge: Secret Obsession by Calvin Klein

The entirety of Secret Obsession takes place in an unfinished basement.

It has a subterranean quality to it, not quite musty (though perhaps a little of that), but certainly underground. The top is surprisingly dark; it smells as if the base notes have already shown up, which maybe they have. (The original Obsession was also top-loaded with base notes; it smelled of amber pretty much right from the start.) It smells of dried fruits and spices in brandy, steeping in an earthenware bowl in the basement.

The fruit notes are gradually replaced by florals, again very dark: it's the smell of dark-red flowers macerating in Vanilla Coke syrup. In the basement. Slowly the wood paneling takes over, and Secret Obsession expires quite a few hours later in an eddy of wood, vanilla, and (in the scent's only nod to its ancestor) a little amber. It's very grown-up, a welcome relief in an endless tide of fruity-floral scents aimed at teenagers and women aspire to be them again, and it says "late Aughts" in the same way that Obsession said "mid-Eighties power perfume". (And now I find that I'm really looking forward to the men's version, which will surely appear in three or four months.)

It's very hard to imagine what that bottle looks like, by the way, from a photograph. It looks as if it ought to be flat, but it's actually very spread-out and three-dimensional, with five lobes, sort of a pentagonal version of the hexagonal bottle for Cacharel's LouLou:

At first I hated the Secret Obsession bottle, but I have to say it and its contents have grown on me. Not enough to actually buy it, though.


  • I liked Secret Obsession, too. Not LOVE by any means, but liked it, it's decent stuff. And I do like the bottle which reminds me a bit of the bottle for CdG + Stephen Jones. For whatever reason, I do hope Secret Obsession is a successful fragrance, at least I won't mind smelling it on others ;-)

    By Blogger Abigail, at 12:04 PM  

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