Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Calvin Klein Eternity Eau de Parfum (review)

Calvin Klein Eternity Eau de Parfum
Eternity was designed by Sophia Grojsman (scent) and Pierre Dinand (bottle) and launched in 1988 by Calvin Klein, as a tribute to his two year old second marriage to Kelly Rector. This was a period of boldness for fragrance houses, with some of the most in-your-face scents we know today starting out in the time of power ballads, shoulder pads and Margaret Thatcher. This is at odds with the official description for Eternity, which reads as follows:

Romantic. Timeless. Luxurious. Inspired by the ideal of lasting love and intimacy, is a romantic floral fragrance. This harmonious blend of classic and contemporary is truly the perfect combination of timeless quality and modern style.”

We all interpret notes in different ways, so if you're familiar with the scent feel free to disagree with me, but to me this is not a romantic scent at all. I liked it at first, but I've never thought it was intimate or harmonious, instead I find it brassy and bolshy, especially the top notes which verge on the confrontational.

The opening is very green and distinctly herby (sage) with strong notes of citrus (mandarin), freesia and narcissus, too. It divides opinion, but I like that it's not run of the mill. Next up is violet, lily-of-the-valley, rose, marigold, apricot, peach and carnation, with violet being far stronger than the others. The base consists of patchouli, heliotrope, pink sandalwood and musk. But in all honesty, the top notes dominate from the off, and it takes over an hour for the softer, romantic notes in the base to shine through. The synthetic musk lasts on the skin for ages, though.

The fact that a quarter of a century down the line Calvin Klein Inc. is still selling Eternity shows there's the demand for it, and it won the 1989 FiFi award for Most Successful Women’s Fragrance but despite liking the scent initially, I have gone off it. The more I smell it, the more I think it's poorly done. The overuse of violet is disappointing, making you smell of Parma Violets, and the initial burst of green is too strong and doesn't fade fast enough. It seems disjointed and lacking in harmony, but worse than that I think it smells quite synthetic. One friend described it as air freshener, and another – more worryingly – jokingly asked if I'd been bathing in toilet cleaner. By this point I had had enough and emptied the bottle.

I kept the bottle, though; I keep all my perfume bottles! Eternity's packaging is a familiar shape now, and still looks good. It's a classic, and a perfect example of simplicity trumping extravagance. Less is more! Eternity is available in various sizes of eau de parfum, deodorising body spray, body wash and body lotion if you wish to layer your scent, although I'd be wary of using too much because the perfume even on its own has long lasting staying power, which might be a good or a bad thing depending on your point of view.

Like Klein's love for Rector, my affection for this fragrance has been short lived. The romantic marketing gumpf is misleading, as far as I'm concerned. But there is an interesting side note here. Klein ended up in a tumultuous gay relationship with a pornographic actor in the noughties that lasted for 2 ½ years, a relationship allegedly fraught with distrust, arguments and extravagance. That is the kind of relationship that Eternity reminds me of, not the kind of relationship depicted in the official advertisement below. Enjoy!

Bottle is a classic, and looks good
Smells synthetic, with vague overtones of toilet cleaner
Base notes are nice... when you get to them
Top notes are far too green and herby
More affordable these days


Brand: Calvin Klein

Size: 30 ml
Price: £29.00 (£96.67/100 ml)

Size: 50 ml
Price: £43.50 (£87.00/100 ml)

Size: 100 ml
Price: £60.00 (£60.00/100 ml)

Manufactured: France

Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Fragrance (Parfum), Water (Aqua), Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Benzophenone-3, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydrolysed Jojoba Esters, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene, Carboxaldehyde, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Propylene Glycol, Red 4 (CI 14700), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)

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