Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Calvin Klein's Eternity for Men

Like many older fragrances that inspired a million imitations, Eternity is somehow richer, less obnoxious, and more interesting than its copycats. The "fresh fougére" trend in men's fragrances basically kickstarted with this one, another innovative-for-its-time besteller from Calvin Klein.

Eternity is a clean (yet not soapy), green (yet not obnoxiously summery), and highly wearable (yet not dull) scent that smells instantly familiar to millions who sniffed it during its heyday. Its top notes are citrusy and fresh, like a mandarin orange smelled through a layer of damp leaves, while the drydown is a mossier, more leathery variation on the same theme. It's a rainy-day-in-late-spring scent, and it leaves a "green" impression throughout; you could swear there's actual chlorophyll in the bottle.

Eternity isn't terribly complex, but compared to its imitators (ie. half of every men's fragrance counter since 1990), it's intriguing, especially if you didn't grow up with it back in the day. My fragrance experience in the '90s, as a preteen, basically started and ended with CK One, so I've never been hugely familiar with Eternity. As I smell it for the first time in the here and now, it strikes me as that very coveted kind of old-fashioned fragrance - classic without being stodgy or too "cologne-y". The drydown really anchors that impression - whereas most "fresh" men's fragrances of today have little to no development on the skin (I'm looking at you, Lacoste Essential), Eternity has something to say past the first 30 minutes - not an impassioned speech, mind you, but a word or two that makes an impression. If you think the top notes are too obnoxious or insipid, wait an hour or so - the tail end of Eternity's development is downright classy.

Getting down to brass tacks, Eternity's lasting power is (fittingly) excellent with only moderate sillage, so you won't be detected from across the room when you wear it. Still, apply with a light hand - you'll be less likely to trigger '80s flashbacks for those around you of a certain age. Before plunking down $80 for the latest designer fragrance that attempts (and most likely fails) to jump on the Eternity bandwagon, why not just try the original? I like keeping a bottle of it around; when I'm in the mood for a "fresh" scent with a bit of backbone to it, Eternity hits the spot.

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