cK one 
Calvin Klein (1994)

Average Rating:  155 User Reviews

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cK one by Calvin Klein

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About cK one by Calvin Klein

People & Companies

Calvin Klein
Fragrance House
Harry Fremont
Fabien Baron
Packaging / Bottle Design

This popular fragrance from Calvin Klein kicked off the whole unisex buzz when it was released in 1994. Of course there were unisex fragrances before cK One (4711 by Muelhens for example) but it was Calvin Klein that made it sexy.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of cK one by Calvin Klein

There are 155 reviews of cK one by Calvin Klein.

I don't actually consider CK One to be a fragrance. To me it's more of an after-shower refresher (not unlike 4711, which famously marketed itself as "the refreshant cologne" for many years). On my skin it's barely detectable after ten minutes --- which is fine, because then I can apply a real fragrance with some staying power, if I'm so inclined.

As a fragrance, it's too bland and unobjectionable to dislike. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, "there's no 'there' there." On a hot day or after a shower --- sure, but again, it doesn't last, and doesn't really smell like anything except a generic "fresh" for a few minutes.

It smells good. A balance of what seems like white florals, some citrus/fruit, some light wood, and slight musk, though I can't really pick out any individual notes. A little powdery and clean but not soapy or musty. Soft and comforting; cohesive and well-balanced; atmospheric. Despite some reviews that say "synthetic", fairly natural smelling for me. Unisex and somewhat indistinctive, but also inoffensive. Moderate longevity. On me it doesn't project much/stays close to the skin.

That said, I don't know if I'll be wearing it too much, as I prefer scents that make more of a statement, are stronger, or have prominent notes--more character, and frankly, more masculine.

For the price, it's pretty good. However, the Lily of the Valley note didn't really impress me, so I sold the bottle soon after purchasing it. Green and slightly powdery, with some generic citruses to keep it bright. It's light so respray it as often as needed.

It's just boring. Perhaps this brings nostalgic memories for those growing up in the 1990s. It's definitely not a bad scent, but it didn't really live up to its hype. It's more of an expectation mismanagement that's to blame.

This came out in 1989, not 1994. I was on a plane to Munich when another passenger said she worked for the Calvin Klein company and was incidentally carrying a sample of CK One in her purse, which she gave to me. She said it was a unisex fragrance (something new at the time). I thanked her, and have loved CK One ever since 1989.

As far as fragrances that were released during the 90s (I'm not including frags released in the late 80s; like Cool Water, Joop, or CK's Eternity in this one) there were a handful of fragrances that achieved ubiquitousness in an era they were made in - Calvin Klein's One, being one (no pun intended) of them. In fact, I think the only other fragrance that beats CK One as a time capsule of the 1990s is: Acqua di Giò.

Like Acqua di Giò, this scent was everywhere in the 90s. Probably even more so, because it was (as it is now) cheaper than Acqua di Giò.

Disclaimer: this review might be a little biased due in part to nostalgia. Smelling this fragrance again; I can hear Ace of Base's "The Sign" bouncing along in the overhead speakers while walking around in the mall when I was a kid.

I don't know how long past formulations lasted. But, in it's current form; 6 hours, at best.

First notes to greet the nose; is a lemon/citrus smell, very comparable to a gin & tonic smell. Accompanying the slighty boozy citrus smell is a vaguely synthetic smelling floral scent - think of roses or tulips. There's also a very subtle feminine tone underlying the floral/citrus/fresh smells; to me, it reminds me of a women's salon shampoo.

Projection lasts about an hour. After that, the citrus notes taper off, and the floral scent plateaus.

Hour 3-4: the citrus takes a back seat to the green tea and sandalwood. By this point, it is a fresh/floral scent.

Hour 4-5: Basically, a skin scent at this point. Citrus smell is mostly gone.

Hour 6: Whatever sillage left on the skin, has evaporated or been absorbed, by this point. Any residual smell left, now lingers on your clothes; your shirt will smell vaguely of dryer sheets.

And that's about it; It's neither very remarkable, nor very bad. It's just...your basic, safe, clean, inoffensive (for the most part), scent...and, that's part of the problem with it.

CK One suffers from a couple of problems:

1. It's a people-pleasing fragrance from Calvin Klein; so it's going to be a somewhat of a milquetoast, synthetic, middle of the road fragrance to some people - especially after 25+ years of being on the market.

2. It's a unisex fragrance; it ends up straddling a fence between feminine/masculine which makes it smell more generic than it otherwise would have.

3. It could end up being either too masculine or too feminine on you; depending on your body chemistry and what sex you are. On me, I find it to be a little on the feminine side within the first hour: it's the floral scent mixed with women's haircare product smell.

To me, this is a daytime scent; wear this at the office or casual weekend afternoons. Technically, this might be considered an "all-season" fragrance. But, I would classify it as a spring/summertime scent. Again, it's just a workhorse fragrance for the office or running errands on a spring/summer day below 75°.

I would recommend this people who are new to fragrances, and basically want a cheap, inoffensive, safe scent they can use everyday.

3.25/5 stars. Just barely above a neutral rating for me.

One third Z 14, one third Tuscany, one third CK One. Hello Aussie summer!!

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