Man by Calvin Klein was launched in October of 2007 and proposed as a new classic for the modern Calvin Klein man, aged from 25 to 40. The name itself is programmatic and unambiguous, like an English translation of L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent. Simple, brief, to the point. You are going to smell the essence of masculinity if you are to take your cue from the name of the fragrance. Admittedly most people are a little more jaded than that and will probably just barely register that it is a cologne (in the American sense of a perfume for men) as opposed to a feminine fragrance. The packaging is sleek, modernist, with an architectural sense of proportions and looks good. It is unusually large and slim at the same time, built like a wall more than a bottle. The surfaces are extremely shiny, mirror-like making you think of high-shine paint, black lacquer, or patent leather shoes. Another contrast intervenes with the white edges of the bottle..........
The fragrance was created by perfumers Jacques Cavallier and Harry Fremont from Firmenich in collaboration with consultant Ann Gottlieb. All these people are old hands at marketing successful mainstream fragrances. Man offers therefore a mainstream palatability but without coming across as depersonalized. It plays the distinctiveness card, but in a well reined in manner. The fragrance bears a typical masculine fresh aromatic, woody and spicy signature around the linear heart of the scent which itself is dark, fruity, and sweet enough to feel feminine. This rich amber-fruity accord is made even more seductive thanks to just the right amount of citrus-y counterpoint, which never clarifies the scent but on the contrary helps to deepen the dark fruity sensation. Metallic overtones add a Yang factor to the cologne at the same time that it lets its lush feminine side -- one is tempted to even say "feminine core" -- express itself rather unimpeded. It would not be surprising to learn that Gottlieb applied the same gender-bending intuition to this perfume as she did for Covet last year, which she wanted to be a "fougère on estrogen". There is, it seems, a tinge of honeydew melon, the abstract fruity accord is vaguely plummy and sour with nuances of sour candies. As the scent dries down a little undercurrent of vivifying green freshness peaks through (spearmint) which adds to the pleasant complexity of the composition. The scent teeters on the edge of too-mainstream but without falling into the cauldron marked "bland masculine scents".
The addition of a significant and unexpected fruity facet to the scent is what makes it distinctive as a men's perfume. The fact that dark fruity feminine perfumes are not as commonly available as so-called "pink" ones aimed at younger women might be a reason to encourage women to do so some cross-dressing.
More generally speaking, it is a rich, sensual amber scent that is very enjoyable to wear, with a little addictive quality like some slightly gourmand perfumes can be as they trigger comforting sensations in us.
One will have gathered by now that the new man depicted by this composition is more of a metrosexual than a macho. Calvin Klein Man could almost be characterized as a unisex perfume, were it not for a typical discreet masculine olfactory signature that is like the silken paisley robe of a man that a woman can fairly easily borrow.Notes are: top notes of rosemary, mandarin, bergamote and violet leaf. Heart notes of bay, nutmeg, incense and spearmint. Base notes of cypress wood, gaiac wood, sandalwood, amber wood and musk.