Eternity for Men Intense by Calvin Klein (2016)

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Let’s get one thing straight: this has absolutely nothing to do with the original Eternity for Men (1989) whatsoever outside of the name and bottle shape, although it’s not uncommon for an intense version of a pillar to have little or no DNA link to the original. Outside of that obvious let down, Eternity for Men Intense (2016) is a surprisingly good little scent, even if it really should have just been a new pillar. I can see the decision to hide the scent behind the ever-popular Eternity name seeming safe to Calvin Klein marketing teams, since no pillar on the male side of this gender-divided segment of their perfume catalog had done well since Euphoria Men (2006) was released, and Obsessed for Men (2017) was still a year off. In any case, this is a far more floral and aromatic fougère compared to the legendary original, but a proper fougère nonetheless. I imagine if Eternity for Men had been launched much closer to the original Calvin by Calvin Klein (1981), it would have smelled much like this flanker rather than exemplifying the genre-defining “fresh fougère” approach it ended up taking. We get another anonymous perfumer with Eternity for Men Intense, and I don’t think this stuff is perfect or groundbreaking, especially being a designer aromatic fougère existing in an age without oakmoss, but it works.

The brief for Eternity for Men Intense describes it as being an intensification of the floral heart found in the original composition. I don’t entirely see it as that, but I do partially agree. The scent begins with a stiff bergamot, sweet grapefruit, and dry black tea, which sort of gray together with some white pepper to produce a sharp citric spice which quickly merges with a rhubarb note in the heart. Lavender and geranium form a fundamental fougère component but the scent gets rather humorless with the intensity therewith, which sets the tone for the dry down. CK claims there is iris and vanilla in this but I get little if any. Smoky vetiver and cedar combine with birch and a mineralic element seemingly borrowed from Terre d’Hermès (2006), with Iso E Super, dry patchouli, cashmeran, and amber finishing the job. There is something faux-mossy here although I doubt real oakmoss is present, so we’ll chalk it up to evernyl and call it a day. The wear time of Eternity for Men Intense is pretty long, but sillage is not beastly, even if pangs of the tartness and smoke waft off the collar depending on the direction of the air. This is thoroughly an office scent, as it lacks any real levity for casual use and is not romantic at all. Like the original, Eternity for Men Intense comes in 50ml, 100ml, and a gargantuan 200ml size, so it could be your daily driver if you fall in love with it, but I see it not being the best choice in hot weather.

Fans of the original Eternity for Men will probably not like this anymore than they’ve liked past aquatic or seasonal flankers to the pillar, since nothing so far has captured the essence of the original’s character and just capitalizes on a cherished name. Artistically, Eternity for Men Intense would have been more valid and accepted among hobbyists if it was its own scent, but mainstream sales are assured if you slap something folks recognize on the bottle, since calling this “Mirkwood for Men” or something similar would scare away potential shoppers unwilling to take risks. I think the juice inside this bottle deserves better than to be forgotten about as yet another hair-brained flanker, but like Calvin Klein cK One Shock for Him (2011), I can see this becoming a dark horse with its own fans in time, especially people looking for a more-economical and darker alternative to Terre d’Hermès. Give it a sniff if you wander into a Sephora (usually the ones inside JC Penny carry Calvin Klein and the ones standing alone do not), because you won’t find it testable elsewhere outside a perfume boutique, nor sold elsewhere outside a discounter like Marshalls or online. Despite being nothing like what it seems, I’ll still give a thumbs up for this little aromatic surprise for being better than anyone has any right to expect from this house in recent decades.

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