Clinique (1986)

Average Rating:  33 User Reviews

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About Calyx by Clinique

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Calyx is a feminine perfume by Clinique. The scent was launched, originally by Prescriptives, in 1986 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Sophia Grojsman

Fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Calyx by Clinique

There are 33 reviews of Calyx by Clinique.

There's nothing not to love about this ode to Diorella. Guava, passionfruit and grapefruit take the place of the more melon-esque notes of Diorella, but they both aim to provide a fruity-chypre with overly-ripe fruits over a floral heart.

Calyx is tart, very green, and almost a different experience from afar than smelling at close range. Up close it can seem acrid and sharp, while from afar, you catch the entirety of the composition - green notes and tropical fruit salad (thankfully without the cliché suntan lotion and coconut notes).

I recall smelling the Prescriptives version eons ago, and yes, this is probably lighter on some of the full-bodied notes that can no longer be used, but it's still a 5/5, and a delight to wear.
Nov 16, 2021

Clinique version... Fresh, juicy. Has a late-summer feel to it, with its top notes. There is a tiny bitter note. Something starchy. The mint is a lovely touch. White flowers in the heart bring this back to a spring or early summer bouquet. Just a touch of fruit here. Calyx smells clean.

Wood and raspberry in the base. Safe, work scent. The top was wonderful. Overall, this petered out, for me.
Dec 25, 2018

Calyx (1986) is such an interesting fragrance really, as it has a rush of fresh green notes on top a tropical fruit basket, yet still is underpinned like a chypre with oakmoss and a hint of white musk to modernize it. This stuff is pretty much a tropical cK One (1994) but eight whole years before that scent emerged to launch the unisex craze, and was thus marketed feminine due to how fruity and light most of Calyx's structure comes across. The history behind Calyx and its former parent house is pretty interesting too. Prescriptives was a beauty division launched by Estée Lauder in the 80's, and offered custom-blended bespoke foundations to women who shopped at their counters, with Calyx being the signature fragrance from the brand. Calyx fit well into the brand's emerging style of naturally-derived custom-blended products using the most cutting-edge beauty science, and itself was considered a futuristic scent in a decade full of take-charge feminines. Instead of being a heady oriental, sharp chypre, or aldehyde flower bomb, Calyx quietly introduced the fruity floral alongside Liz Claiborne (1986) to the vernacular of women's perfumes, but keeps itself surprisingly gender-neutral thanks to the heaps of botanicals in the breakdown. A few other perfumes came out under the Prescriptives label, but they were more science than nature some may say, and didn't match the slow burning appeal of Calyx. The brand Prescriptives itself didn't even outlive the perfume to which it gave birth, being shuttered in 2010, only to be reopened as an online-only service, while Calyx was quietly rebranded a Clinique perfume.

Sophia Grojsman took a rare turn away from her usual "tuberose terror" composition style of the day, perhaps in a precursor to the more synthetic and hedionic approach she would pioneer with Calvin Klein Eternity (1987) onward. Calyx still showcases Grojsman's love of rose, but it's very slight in quantity here. The opening of Calyx gets off quite fresh, juicy, and cool, thanks to a spearmint note wrapped around peach and apricot. Marigold from several other Grojsman perfumes makes a return, but it's not very noticeable in the overall structure of the top, which is a godsend because too much yellow floral glow would destroy the delicate middle of this one. A green melon note meets with a sweet raspberry in the middle, and is likely an early use of calone to achieve the melon effect coupled with jasmine hedione and a slight dab of soapy orris for the body wash clean the fragrance overall communicates to my nose. Cyclamen and muguet add the prerequisite white florals to the middle, but we're back in green territory once that psuedo-chypre base kicks in with oakmoss, cedar, and white musk. Calyx leans mostly feminine, but because of the clean green aesthetic, and open-minded man, or at least one in touch with his feminine side enough to enjoy copious amounts of fruit might enjoy a wearing of Calyx. Trust me when I say if you use any off-the-shelf unisex body washes like those made by Suave or Herbal Essences, you've already encountered the olfactory descendants of Calyx. Wear time is decent enough at about 8 hours but sillage is mild, especially for an 80's fragrance, meaning Calyx is light and polite enough for modern use, which might be why it still remains hugely popular. Cold air does kill all presence with this fragrance however, so I'd keep it for indoor use or outdoor use in warmer seasons or climates.

The only real point of criticism I can lobby at fragrance so ahead of its time is the fact that this idea was accepted, and so widespread abused, by the health and beauty segment after the release of Calyx. I'm automatically taken to the soap, shampoo, and bath aisle every time I catch a whiff of Calyx, as I'm sure I've smelled many copycats of its minty melon and floral structure in numerous products that has graced my shower stall over the years. I suppose too much success is the biggest enemy of any luxury product (even if not copied), as the inevitable ubiquity caused by popularity robs a luxury good of its exclusivity and thus prestige, meaning you won't feel so "special" wearing this if everyone else is too. Oh well, at least Calyx can now be seen as the inadvertent younger, less-serious sister to Aromatics Elixer (1971) since the Clinique brand took the scent over in 2010. Reformulations remove some of the moss and push Calyx further into the fresh fruity zone, but it hasn't lost much of its focus as that was sort of the territory it was shooting for anyway, and the green mossy elements were actually the most conventional facets of the scent when launched in 86. I'd say this is best used after a bath or shower, maybe even on vacation at a beach or at a day spa. Calyx just seems to scream spring and early summer wherever it goes, with a big mint leaf on the box to let you know what you're in for if you open it! Some people hate fruity florals, so knowing this is one of the progenitors of the genre might cause quite a bit of ire, but I'm not going to knock innovation, so it gets a thumbs up from me for being an interesting, little-discussed game changer.
Nov 5, 2018

For the 1st few minutes, I don't like this scent! Then....about an hour later, it settles into one of my favorites. Go figure! The scent doesn't last all day on my skin, but I can still detect it 5-6 hours later.

I'm glad Clinique keeps Calyx's a winner! It's totally different from most of the candy/floral fluff coming out these days! :)
Jan 19, 2016

No longer owned by Prescriptives but now handled by another Estee Lauder company, Clinique. Calyx is such a clever fragrance; I still don't understand how it works. It is brash, strong, fruity, sour; it should be horrible and yet it isn't. Compare Calyx with any Escada fragrance and you will understand ( a little ) why. There are none of the over ripe strawberry jam notes, nor the sickeningly sweet fake gourmand ones. The sweetness is balanced by the sour; the cat's pee calms down the synthetic fruits, and, overall, a wonderful Rose slowly reveals itself. For such a toppy fragrance it lasts a surprisingly long time; for such an apparently simple idea it is remarkably complex. It is a fragrance to make you smile, and I am so glad that it is still being promoted and sold. I was given a small sample when I bought some Clinique products recently. Sofia Grojsman is, of course, a genius.
Oct 9, 2015

I decided to revisit Calyx after trying it 15 years ago. The minute I applied it, I remembered what it was I didn't care for then - that melon note. I didn't like it then, that fakey mushy melon, and still don't. It's surprisingly the same, like time standing still. And it doesn't have effervescence or sparkle on my skin, just sort of lays there, which seems wrong...
Mar 14, 2015

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