Calvin Klein (1981)


Average Rating:  40 User Reviews

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Calvin by Calvin Klein

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About Calvin by Calvin Klein

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Calvin Klein
Fragrance House

Launched in 1981, 'Calvin' was Calvin Klein's first masculine fragrance.It contains notes of bergamot, geranium and sandalwood.
The packaging is blue-black, with silver text and has a retro feel.
Although discontinued in 1990, Calvin was relaunched worldwide on 4th October 1999 to celebrate the millennium. Its a limited edition launch, so grab it now if you are a fan of this retro scent.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Calvin

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Reviews of Calvin by Calvin Klein

There are 40 reviews of Calvin by Calvin Klein.

I will not say this is essential to add in one's collection—I for one happened upon it and spent merely a pittance for it, but I am pleased with the results. It's an 80s aromatic with a somewhat sunnier disposition than its contemporaries, and I say this as I listen to the Cure, it seems rather apt. This is the Cure to Jacomo de Jacomo's Bauhaus. There is melancholy and some gloom but its opening chords are winsome, citrus, neroli, and herbs, and a curious chamomile and if my senses serves me well, it's an almost apple-skin like roman chamomile. Then again, my mind could be playing tricks on me.

The transition to its heart reveals similarities to Tuscany Per Uomo, perhaps with the high estragole content on its tarragon accord. Estragole is sweet, a bit sharp, phenolic and anisic, and happens to make up nearly 75% of tarragon oil, giving it its characteristic scent. Tarragon just so happens to have a dazzling synergy with oakmoss, capable of lifting its qualities, and that is evidenced here: the oakmoss seems to come through quite early on.

The dry down is the greatest gift from Calvin, as it has sheer, almost smoky musk in its base, very little in the way of any growl that may be expected from a men's release from 1981, but compelling nonetheless. I wouldn't say this is a "must have," then again, I never want to say any fragrance is a "must have" and thereby fuel the FOMO engine. However, if found at a price which you find affordable, one might find this a delightful wear as I do.

Was my signature fragrance from the moment it came out. Got tons of kudos for it and it sat well on me. I did smell it on someone else, on whom it smelled unbelievable. I was wearing it that night and wasn't sure what he had on, but someone else said it was sensational on him. I don't have issues with any colognes going sour or bad when I wear them. I do somewhat disagree with the comparisons of some with Jacomo and some of the others which were definitely heavier and more powdery. Calvin starts off too strong and sharp, so I always put it on 15-20 minutes before leaving the house, so it would have settled down. The rerelease was a disappointment, but I'm told replacement had to be found for some ingredients, so....Polo I do not consider to be it's equal, partly because everyone wore it too heavily, as was the case with Obsession, which was overwhelming. Other frags I really loved were Knize 2, Givenchy Gentleman, Monsieur Rochas. Other names escape me now as it was so many yrs. ago. These days, everything smells the same to me. Maybe I'm old, but I smell one and 4 others come to mind immediately.

This smells fairly typical of men's perfume in 1981, meaning it's good. A couple things crossing my mind are Davidoff and Quorum - this doesn't smell like those, quite, but there's something common among them, I think.

This is also reminding me of vintage Dior for women, almost like a version of Diorella for men.

Whereas Jacomo de Jacomo, another similar fragrance, goes a little too dark too early for me, Calvin slowly meanders in that direction after an initial blast of soap.

Santos. That's what this is reminding of the most after a few more days of sampling. This is like a stronger version of Santos with a slight twist. Calvin is what I would have liked Santos Concentree to smell like. As it was, I did not like Santos Concentree, so it's Calvin to the rescue as a longer-lasting Santos alternative.

Ponderous woody bergamot in orange and brown.

Calvin opens with a sharp bergamot laced herbal green mix of sage-like artemisia and oakmoss rising from the base, with underlying anise-like tarragon support before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the bergamot vacates, leaving remnants of the artemisia to couple with the now focal tarragon and rugged mossy green oakmoss with sharp, woody vetiver and earthy patchouli adding significant support. During the late dry-down the development stays highly linear staying herbal green throughout, as the tarragon, oakmoss and woody vetiver remain the focus with relatively dry sandalwood adding support through the finish. Projection is outstanding, and longevity excellent at over 12 hours on skin.

Calvin has proven quite elusive to find on the aftermarket nowadays except at what some may consider "crazy" prices, making sampling the perfume difficult over the years. Luckily, I was able to get my hands on a mini from the 80s to see what all the fuss is about as I don't recall smelling much of it back then. The first thing I noticed when applying the perfume on skin was its powerhouse strength. The oakmoss and herbs project seemingly for miles and miles... Anyone growing up in the 80s would recognize this strength as "the real deal." If I were to gauge influences for Calvin, it would have to be perfumes of its age like the original Polo, and it in turn influenced perfumes that immediately followed like Quorum by Puig. In truth, I think it is closer to the latter. There really isn't much in the way of development throughout, and while Calvin smells excellent, it never challenges the *true* greatness and originality found in its much more accessible Polo predecessor, making the argument for seeking it out somewhat tenuous. The bottom line is the $433 per 100ml bottle on the aftermarket Calvin is another "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 rated example of the sublime powerhouse 80s, but it doesn't quite distinguish itself from its contemporaries to merit the hunt and relatively stratospheric cost of seeking it out today, earning it a recommendation solely to 80s vintage perfume completionists.

Very 80's fougere as others have said, old-school soapy, musky and green. Strong and mature but maybe a little less macho than some of the other big hitters from the era.

My bottle was a mid-90's version which was plenty loud and long-lasting.

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