Calvin Klein Women 2018


Kate Apted


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,

Kate xx

26 thoughts on “Calvin Klein Women 2018

  1. I’m trying to remember if I managed to sniff this – I always request samples with my Sephora orders and this may have been one. (They tend to pile up unsniffed for some time, though!). We are in the final dregs of winter here but I’m looking forward to wearing my Atelier Pacific Lime once it warms up – l will be curious to see how it changes in the heat. I also picked up a small bottle of Nicolai l’Eau Mixte for this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooooh, so you have summer sorted, MMKinPA? Nice work! It is brilliant to look forward to summer knowing one has a bevy of choices. I used to dread my summer collection. Hope you get warmer days. X


  2. Hey Kate,
    Poor old Calvin Klein. Much maligned but often just a little too far ahead of the pack. Then we look back with surprise and note his early adoption of something that became a flat out trend. Rarely the very first but often the most obtainable and the prices aren’t ridiculous either. I hadn’t even noticed this one but you can bet I will look for it now.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, some have been 2000s boring things too. Truth and Reveal are really snore worthy for me. Beauty is a favourite of mine, but it not one I’d ever save in a fire.

      I think, when Klein still had creative control, the scents were winners. He just sold back to us what we were already espousing. And he did it well. Since the turn of the century, I sense money making venture at the expense of innovation, or cultural appropriation repackaged! Bahahahaha!


  3. I can’t imagine how the combination of Women notes would smell, but thank god for something different!
    This summer I was surprised by a sample sent to me by Portia….Blue Mandarine by Parfumerie Particuliere. Not typical mandarine but citrus woody, lasted all of five minutes but great for after shower.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie b, I know, right?! On paper, the notes are a mish mash of What The Heck were they thinking?? But it does work. In a very non traditional way.

      Such a shame when these sorts of scents sort of… vanish. I guess they serve a purpose.


  4. I will definitely sniff this one out when i see it in the wild!
    Looking forward to wearing some of my spring scents…like MMK we are still in the dregs of winter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found a summer blooper. I blind bought Sonia Rykiel L’eau de Sonia and loathe it. Ick. It reminds me of oakmoss and lemon. I must get rid of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Kate, I will definitely keep an eye out for this one. I generally don’t care for the light summer colognes because so many of them trigger my asthma. Now with the new climate in Basel I look forward to seeing what works.
    Sandra xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sandra, be warned that it is by no means a light summer type, in the way of Eau de Hadrien etc. This is one very unique scent. Go easy and see if it has some sort of interest for you. I own that I love off beat misfit scents, so I tend to find beauty where others see a mess. Xx


  7. I love the way you write about scents I would otherwise not have heard of or not be inclined to try. Eucaplytus is enough to make it interesting, I will spritz some if I come across it. I would be excited to wear Eau de Magnolia again, but Blondeswunder stole it. I am considering a 30ml purchase, I like it that much. xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • That daughter of yours is a breath of fresh air. Wish very much to meet her. She has very good tastes, obviously!

      It is an interesting scent, Val. Not the prettiest girl in the room, but quirky for a Klein. That has got to make it sniff worthy alone.


      • Is it a terrible cliche to say that the prettiest person in the room is rarely the most interesting?

        Seconding what Val said, too, about the way you write about scents. Always catches my attention when you explore a perfume I’d not considered.

        I still have deep nostalgic fondness for two CK scents: Obsession for Men which I wore to death when dancing myself to exhaustion in my crazy NYC adventures back in the day, and CK One, which will always remind me of mid-90s living in London because *everyone* smelled of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. The only Calvin Klein perfume I’ve worn is Eternity, in the 90s, and the scent takes me back to that time in my life like no other. Finally warming up a bit after a cold and snowy winter, and although it is officially spring, I haven’t transitioned to wearing summer fragrance yet. I sampled Neela Vermiere Bombay Bling which would be a beautiful joyful summer fragrance. Also, I am sampling heliotrope, hoping to purchase a bottle with that note for spring/summer. So far my favorites are from Oriza LeGrand and Mona di Orio.
    No 5 Premiere and L’eau are always in my summer rotation, looking forward to them!

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