How’s things, APJers?
Our summer is pretty much over, and as short as it had been, I found it one of my best summers yet. I discovered a wide range of hot weather loving scents that are not the usual citrus, cologne style or 90s breezy, aquatics. Needless to say, Chloe Nomade got a lot of wear, as did 34 Boulevard St Germain by Diptyque.
Calvin Klein Women 2018
Honorine Blanc and Annick Menardo
This week, I want to shine a spot light on an unassuming, much maligned number by Calvin Klein. The slightly bewildering named Women was crafted by two talented perfumers, Honorine Blanc and Annick Menardo, and released mid 2018 to near universal disappointment.
The box is a plain white with the usual Calvin Klein typeface and a black line drawing of a female left eye. The bottle’s cap is a plastic disc with the same eye illustration. The bottle itself is rectangular and in similar style to Prada Amber. I would have been content without the huge disc on the cap and a very simple box. The eye and disc give incongruency between the scent, the aesthetics and the message. I am sure people have judged the scent simply from the packaging; and I do not blame them.
Given the status of the perfumers, and their stellar successes, a lot of expectation was placed at the release of Women. With past hits like Hypnotic Poison, Lolita Lempicka and Hypnose, Menardo has a penchant for heavier notes and lingering sensual food notes. Blanc, on the other hand, has given us Black Opium, a string of well loved celebrity scents for Beyonce and Justin Bieber, and any number of fruity and ambery favourites for Avon. To be honest, I am still not sure what other were hoping for in the combined efforts of Blanc and Menardo, but it certainly wasn’t Women.
Fragrantica lists the notes, as voted by users, as cedar, orange blossom, eucalyptus, grapefruit and bergamot. There are quite a few more notes, but I do not really detect them. The cooler weather highlights the heat of black pepper, but it is simply a supporting note. While I agree that cedar, orange blossom and bergamot are the brace of the scent, the attraction, for me at least, is the interplay between the grapefruit and eucalyptus. These two provide a stark contrast to three quite ordinary, safe notes.
Unsurprisingly, the ingredients used remind me of their other scents. The cedar is the same as that in Beauty, the orange blossom is as clipped as that in Euphoria Amber Gold and the bergamot is the same flat lemonade note in Truth. There is a synthetic feel to the whole composition, but Women makes no effort to hide that. I am not sure that natural ingredients, unrefined, would work well. The harsh nasal singeing power of eucalyptus has been tamed to add a mild menthol to the woody base, and the grapefruit has been sheared of all but its vitamin C zing to lift the woods out of mediocrity.
For a perfumed labelled Women, many have pointed out how masculine the scent is. I disagree. There is a dry, dustiness that settles once the creamy eucalyptus dries down. I call this part a skin type musk. Whereas some modern musks bring to mind a white, or grey, colour, the combination of notes in Women conjure up the image, or feel, of lightly sunkissed skin about an hour in.
Several designer releases from the last two years have steered us out of fruchouli territory. While Women will never be in any of my top lists, I am grateful the Klein team took a risk to birth a non sweet, dusty scent. The marketing got completely lost on me, but the scent grabbed me at the burst of the eucalyptus. Blanc and Menardo have handled a volatile and non versatile note with a unique twist and given us a dry scent in the same vein as Nomade; a wind swept, dusty solar scent to complement being out in nature.
Did you find a summer stunner? Or have you got your summer scents arranged for the coming warmer northern months? What ones do you enjoy on hot days?
May we meet next month with full hearts,