Calvin Klein Obsession Woman & Man


Post by Azar


Hello APJ,

This summer the Pacific Northwest USA has been uncharacteristically hot and dry. To make matters worse, less than 30% of the homes have central air-conditioning. Ours is one of the hot ones! I have yet to acclimate to the 95-100 degree F temperatures that continue to blister the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

In an attempt to deal with the sweltering heat I pulled out my big, refrigerated bottles of Italian colognes. Sadly, these refreshing fragrances have done little to alleviate the effects of the breathtaking temperatures. The alcohol evaporates too quickly to be effective, leaving not a trace of comforting scent on my skin.

Calvin Klein Obsession

Calvin Klein Obsession for Woman by Jean Guichard 1985

Obsession Calvin Klein women FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
  Green notes, mandarin orange, vanilla, peach, basil, bergamot, lemon
:  Spices, coriander, sandalwood, orange blossom, jasmine, oakmoss, cedar, rose
Base:  Amber, musk, civet, vetiver, incense

Sweating over a solution, I recalled a recent comment by Cookie Queen suggesting the use of big orientals in hot climates.  Her timely advice and Anne-Marie’s recent post inspired me to dig out the squat, kidney shaped bottle of the original Calvin Klein Obsession for Women from its cool, dark tomb in the lower floor storage.  Even though I had a vague recollection of Calvin Klein Obsession for Women as nothing more than a spicy cliché typical of many 80s bombastic orientals, I was desperate enough to give it another try.  I resurrected Calvin Klein Obsession for Women from the nether regions and carried her up into the bright and toasty upstairs living area.  I gave myself a quick splash and WHAMMO…!  The power of Obsession was so uplifting and distracting that I totally forgot the scorching heat.  The juice in the old bottle had aged to perfection and provided me with a much-needed respite from the stagnant summer air.  The overheated atmosphere of the house also revealed the beauty and complexity of Obsession.  After 30 years of neglect I was finally enjoying fragrance notes I had never detected before, including almost everything on Fragrantica’s list. I fell madly for my old cologne and hurried to purchase more vintage Obsession for Women. 

Male_Underwear_Model_John_Quinlan_in_Calvin_KleinPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

Calvin Klein Obsession for Men by Bob Slattery 1986

Obsession for Men Calvin Klein FrsagranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
  Tangerine/mandarin, grapefruit, lime, bergamot, coriander, lavender, cinnamon
Heart:  Nutmeg, carnation, jasmine, sage, Brazilian rosewood, pine, myrrh, red berries
Base:  Amber, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, vanilla, vetiver

I was even able to find the original 1986 Calvin Klein Obsession for Men and imagine that almost every element of CK Obsession for Men (and for Women) is synthetic. The jasmine in my vintage version is probably hedione (methyl dihydrojasmonate) and the musk is most likely civetone. For me Obsession for Men packs the distracting punch of the distaff version and is refreshing as well.  I also find CK Obsession for Men to be incredibly sexy!  My reaction is probably related to hedione.  Recent research suggests that this old aroma-chemical activates a specific region of the hypothalamus associated with the release of sex hormones, especially in women.  In other words, hedione might actually turn women on!

Amanda_Bach,_a_sexy_fashion_model_iconPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

But there is MORE:

Animal behaviorists in South America routinely use Calvin Klein Obsession for Men to lure jaguars to camera traps in the jungle and zookeepers keep their feline charges active and entertained with CK Obsession for Men.

Further reading: Now Smell This and I Smell Therefore I Am
Fragrance Shop has $26/110ml
My Perfume Samples has $2/ml to $7/5ml

I’m wondering if YOU love or hate the various Obsessions? Do you ever wear heavy orientals in the summer heat? Have you tried the Sex Panther fragrance referred to above?

In closing – some like it hot…so be cool!

Azar xx

27 comments on “Calvin Klein Obsession Woman & Man

  1. poodle says:

    Finally people are starting to realize that big perfumes are fabulous in the heat. I’ve always been a fan of that and I’m a fan of Obsession too. I do think it was a bit much back in the day when everyone seemed to be wearing it but now that that has passed I can enjoy it again.
    The last time I went to the zoo I remembered seeing that info about the big cats and Obsession so I wore some and brought a sample along to refresh it. It might just be coincidence but that was the first time I saw some of those animals walking around. Most times they just lay on the rocks and you wonder if they’re even real. The leopard was super active that day. I can’t say for sure it was my perfume but who knows.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Poodle!
      It seems that you really got those big cats moving! I haven’t been to the zoo lately but I’m going to try spraying the Obsession for Men on a big tree on the border of our property to see if I can get the bobcats to return. They left after their den was destroyed when the forest behind us was ripped out a couple of years ago. Since then we have been overrun with rabbits. Perhaps CKOM will help restore the ecological balance;)
      Azar xx

  2. This is now my favourite and has been for almost 2 years. Its the only perfume that people comment about. Even had one fellow say he wanted to eat me 🙂

  3. Kandice says:

    Azar, I loved Obsession back in the day. Where did you find the vintage and how did you know it was vintage (bottle shape, etc)? I would love to revisit this. And what a fun fact about the big cats. I didn’t know that! Best of luck beating the summer heat. I used to live in Seattle and hot days without air conditioning were no fun at all!

    • Azar says:

      Hello Kandice,
      I bought the kidney shaped bottle for myself many years ago so I know that one is the real thing. Otherwise you can spot a vintage CKOW by the built in sprayer in the opaque, brownish colored plastic top. In the newer versions the sprayer is under a pull off cap. This identifier works for the vintage CKOM EdT as well. You can also spot a vintage CKOM by the upper case FOR MEN printed on the bottle. The newer versions use lower case letters (for men). I’m wondering if anyone knows about production codes for the vintage versions?
      Azar xx

  4. Holly says:

    Hi Azar! You know, now that I think of it I can’t remember Obsession for Women. Back in the day I loved the men’s version, though. Definitely sexy. I love that it’s used to lure the big cats – I want to read up on that some more!
    I do tend to associate certain scents with summer, but the only note I might tend to avoid in the heat is patchouli in big doses. I sampled Coromandel the other day, and it was just waaaay too big in the heat.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Holly,
      Your comment reminded me that in 2011 Monica Miller of the Perfume Pharmer blog did a project/competition for indie perfumers entitled “Summer of Patchouli Love”. The winner was Opus Oil’s Kedra Hart for her #13 Wild Child. I love this fragrance but too much patchouli does me in any time of the year, not because it is too big but because I have weird reactions to excess patchouli…sigh…
      Azar xx

  5. Maya says:

    Hi Azar. I have no scent memory of Obsession, which is odd because I remember a lot of perfumes from that time period. Some were loves and others not. In summer, but not in winter, I wear all scents. I was not fond of amber scents until I discovered Masque Milano Tango, v e r y warm. I love this in hot weather!…… all the compliments I get from this are from men. 😉

  6. Mary P. says:

    Hi Azar! Obsession for Women was my signature scent back in the day, and I still love it – but only the vintage. I can’t stand the new version, it’s too thin and smokey. I love the vintage parfum, and it’s especially good when it’s evaporated down to a dark brown sludge. Seriously delicious!!! I swoon for it 🙂

    • Azar says:

      Hi Mary P.,
      I have yet to try the new version of Obsession. I have heard both good and bad things about it. My small bottle of the pure perfume has not reduced down to dark brown sludge quite yet, but it is on its way. I will look forward to that!
      Azar xx

  7. cookie queen says:

    This is such a great post Azar. Obsession is an interesting one. I didn´t wear it myself but loved it on so many others. I do not recall ever having sniffed the guys’ version. And yep, a you know I love the big oriental stuff in the summer. It melts into naked skin, the way it is supposed too. Orientals can´t breathe in winter clothing. IMHO. Example that springs to mind is Mona di Orio´s Vanille. Horrible in the winter. Just hovers around smelling like vanilla butter. It´s a whole different animal in the summer. I’m rambling, See you soon. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Azar says:

      After reading this, Val, I think I must re-test all of my heavier duty samples. I may have relegated too many to the “”meh” pile because I tried them in the winter instead of in the summer heat. There may be some beauties there that I totally missed! Yes, see you soon 🙂
      Azar xx and X

  8. Fazal Cheema says:

    i have both vintage obsession for men and women..thanks for refreshing my memory about use of obsession to draw wild cats..i also remember reading this article years ago

  9. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey there Azar,
    I don’t know why I haven’t commented before this.
    Recently I was in an out of the way perfume store and they had a tester that looked and smelled like it was initial release, it is quite dark and very animal. I asked if I bought a regular bottle if the SA would swap it with the tester. He was happy to do so and I scored a GEM!! I’ve been wearing it lately, inspired by Anne-Marie and now you.
    Portia xx

    • Azar says:

      Hi Portia,
      I just love a good perfume score! And in the case of old Obsession I think it is more than the original formula. Obsession really does get better with age! Mary P.’s comment above is great – delicious Obsession as “dark brown sludge” 🙂
      Azar xx

  10. annemariec says:

    Right! I’ve avoided Obsession in the heat but once the warm weather arrives here, I’ll do it. Oddly enough, I’ve been wearing summery scents this winter, something I never normally do, so I may as well complete the circle.

    I recall a comment on a fragrance board once from someone who said that one scorching summer day her neighbor knocked on the door for some reason which the commenter could not recall because her main memory of the incident was the Obsession that her neighbor was wearing that day. It came right into the house, and smelled gorgeous, despite – or because! – of the 95F temp.

    • Azar says:

      Hi annemariec,
      While I rarely follow suggestions about when and where a fragrance should be worn, revisiting Obsession in the summertime has convinced me to apply all of my perfumes contrary to every recommendation…just to see what happens! Thank you for reminding me about my old Obsession! I just love it!
      Azar xx

  11. Tim says:

    Hi Azar.
    Obsession sure bring back memories.
    I’ve smelled lots of traces of CKOW in my university years and I absolutely adore it.
    CKOM is one of my early stables (I didn’t own as many as I do now) and I wore it regardless of the temperature. I found it to be super sexy and so unlike most of the earlier CK fragrances (Eternity for Men and Escape for Men). I think I mostly wore in the evenings.

    My CKOM is now less than 50% and it’s from the early 90’s. It is the only CK that is permanently in sight, but hardly worn. Must rectify soon. I haven’t tried the current version though.
    Thank you for the lovely article.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Tim!
      Thank you for commenting! Obsession IS super sexy! I love what Camilla Sheridan said in her comment. I don’t want to be too attractive to the local wildlife so I have not been wearing Obsession for Men on long walks or hikes. Despite the development a cougar has been seen in the area…
      Azar xx

  12. Lauren says:

    Hi Mom –
    Of course I’m not a big fan of orientals in general. But I’ll find a sample and give one a try. You never know… maybe I’ll like them more in the summer heat!

    • Azar says:

      Hi Lauren,
      I think it might be fun for you – one summer day – to experiment with Obsession. I will send a sample in the soon to be sent out perfume sample package. BTW…has the snow melted yet? 😉
      Mommy Azar xx and X

  13. AF says:

    Hey Azar, it was great to read about Obsession! I completely fell in love with it in my teenage years, I thought it was the sexiest perfume I’d ever smelled, I remember I used to walk through a department store on my way home from school every day just to steal a spray from the sample bottle! I like the idea of fresh and light perfumes and envy them on other people, but truth be told, I still reach for these heavier fragrances summer or winter.

    • Azar says:

      Yes, AF! The light ones are lovely but I’m with you. I’ll choose to smell like a gardenia over sweet alyssum any time of the year and I wear amber, spices and resins almost 365. There are a few light weight exceptions, of course, but the big ones are always my go tos. Thank you for dropping by and commenting!
      Azar xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *