Hello to my USA Readers, This is For You. Obsession by Calvin Klein


I see from my blog dashboard that I have a lot of readers from the USA, a country that has given me several wonderful holidays (Hello San Jose, Yosemite, Carmel and San Francisco!). In honour of your special day, I thought it only right that I should review an American Classic.

Calvin Klein Obsession came along at a time when heavy, spicy perfumes were few and far between. There was Opium and Youth Dew and Cinnabar and that was about it on the Oriental Spicy front. Obsession was created in 1985, the same year as Dior’s Poison (Loud? Let’s just say it made an Aerosmith Concert sound like birdsong). Obsession had the big, brashness that was so characteristic of 1980s fragrance and fashion, think Alexis Carrington and her shoulder pads slamming open a dramatic set of double doors.  I miss you Joan. *sigh*

With a moody black and white ad campaign that was probably shot on a beach in the Hamptons, the market was ready for Obsession, even if train passengers were not.

Obsession opens with Spices, Amber, Sandalwood, a hint of Bitter Orange that’s pitched just right, and a whole host of other goodies that makes this shout “I’M HERE” as soon as you enter the room. Longevity is very good for a scent that’s High Street, mainstream and pretty inexpensive, and I have a sneaking fondness for it. On me, it unfolds in layers: Spice first, a slight booziness like Christmas,  Oranges, then Musk and Incense. I like it, but I am careful to spray just one squirt (base of throat) and no more, especially if I am going to be around food.  I love both perfume and food, but I do believe that perfume should never drown out the smell of either your meal or anybody else’s.

I had a bottle of Obsession in 1995, and again in 2005, and I don’t recall any differences in the formulation. Purists swear it’s been messed with, but I didn’t find  any  discernible anomalies .

 In a sea of fruits and berries and florals, this makes a welcome change and I wouldn’t object to a little mini revival, albeit sparingly. This has stood the test of the time and still feels current. One squirt usage makes the iconic egg shaped bottle last a very long time, making this a beauty bargain.

Happy Independence Day

8 thoughts on “Hello to my USA Readers, This is For You. Obsession by Calvin Klein”

  1. Happy 4th of July from San Francisco! What a fun and great review with loads of memories including Joan Collins and her iconic shoulder pads. Loved it. I remember the commercials…somewhere between love and madness lies Obsession.” Not to forget either the Saturday Night Live Parody Compulsion by Calivn Kleen “Somewhere between cleanliness and godliness lies Compulsion”
    Now from your review I am intrigued enough to go back and smell it again. It sound wonderful!

    1. Hi lanier, I’m glad I’m not alone in remembering the genius kitsch that was Dynasty. I often watch reruns on TV and think “what the Hell kind of perfume would have gone with THAT outfit?” I shall trawl YouTube for the satire you mention. Perfume ads are so serious, they just beg to be mocked!

  2. Dearest Iscent
    It was bound to happen!
    We have covered the same scent on the same day… for I too thought of Obsession when compiling my list of ‘American Scents’, though I fear that is where we must depart company.
    Obsession is The Dandy’s bete noire!!!
    I will say no more for fear I may already have said too much over at my place…
    Please forgive me.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. Dear Mr Dandy,

      Oh the embarrassment! It’s as if we have turned up wearing the same outfit! Bound to happen, occupational hazard. I shall pop over to yours later for a goosey gander. We shall have to beg to differ on this one, though I agree it can be a tricky customer.


    2. Dear Mr Dandy,
      I have just realised to my horror that at one point, Mr IScent and myself must have been wearing His’n’Hers Obsession just like the Clintons were reputed to have done. Let’s keep that one quiet so I can still retain a soupcon of credibility. We never do this now.

      Your friend

      1. Dearest Iscent
        I shall maintain a dicreet silence in response to such shattering news.
        I do hope you never got into lifts together!
        Tee hee hee.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Thank u Iscent for the July 4th wishes! Yes, I used Obsession a very long time & remember the spice notes but somehow never bought another bottle( probably because you don’t care much about things easily available in your back yard). But recently one crazy sales girl at mall gave me 2 samples of Obsession for Men & I am thinking of sniffing it once I return to Dallas. Right now I am in Rocky Mountains , enjoying my Independence day long weekend, it is so beautiful out here. You should visit some time. Thank you again for your wishes & congratulations for another wonderful review!

    1. Hi Cilantro! I have never been to the Rocky Mountains and I would love to go to Dallas- do then men really wear Stetsons and huge belts a la Bobby Ewing? I have been to the states around four times and I love the people and the food.There always seems to be so much room and acres of sky too.

      My husband wears Obsession for Men and in fact Obsession was the first perfume he ever bought me not long after we met. It’s only just run out as I eked it out. It’s mega uber strong after all.

      I’m so pleased you like the blog, it really does mean a lot to me 🙂

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