Perfume Directory

cK one (1994)
by Calvin Klein


cK one information

Year of Launch1994
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 966 votes)

People and companies

HouseCalvin Klein
PerfumerAlberto Morillas
PerfumerHarry Fremont
PackagingFabien Baron
Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc > Coty Prestige
Parent Company at launchUnilever

About cK one

This popular fragrance from Calvin Klein kicked off the whole unisex buzz when it was released in 1994. Of course there were unisex fragrances before cK One (4711 by Muelhens for example) but it was Calvin Klein that made it sexy.

Reviews of cK one

I'd say I approached CK One with the lowest expectations possible. Judging by the reviews, it had been an overdone and highly unoriginal smell that had lost its initial glory to what came after it.

I'm happy to say that isn't true in the least. CK One is a surprisingly fresh and versatile fragrance with pretty strong sillage and good longevity. The citrus-y opening with a hint of pineapple and bergamot is somewhat sweet and leads into a semi sweet floral bouquet with Jasmine and violet as it later quiets down into a soft woody accord that smells like walking fresh out of the shower.

This is the perfect juice for anybody who wants to just spray and go without worrying about the smell. It's the penultimate symbol of easygoing softness and freshness that so many fragrances strive for and never quite grasp. This is the most compliments I've gotten from a fragrance.

Even after all this time, CK One is a winner. Well done, Mr. Morillas. Absolutely recommended.

Longevity: 6-8 hours
Sillage: High
28th April, 2018
The cologne smells OK, but whatever ingredients companies use for Women's Purfume, You will smell that in "The One"
31st March, 2018
I have just recently finished a bottle of CK One that I have had for quite some time. I decided to go out today and buy another one as I totally loved the smell. Just got home and gave myself a quick squirt and am totally disappointed. Calvin Klein have totally changed the way that is smells.
Gone is the wonderful fruity aroma that would last almost all day. In place of it is something I struggle to describe.
I can barely make out any smell on my wrist and have just spent £40 on a bottle of perfume I may never use again because of the difference in its smell.
Truly sad and disappointed. :(
04th November, 2017
I have nothing bad to say about CK One because it is so inoffensive. It's an elegant fragrance of a natural freshness in a subdued and balanced blend. It's not too sweet, not attention seeking, fresh, features natural smells, long lasting and stays close to the skin. So far so good.

With that in mind, my first impression of CK One is that it belongs in the same fragrance family as laundry soap, it's a most luxurious laundry soap - but still a laundry soap. I can only speak for myself when I say I love clean smelling clothes. The kind of clothing smell which radiates a calm feeling throughout the day. Except that the fabric softener I use is much cheaper than CK one.

I like CK One, I don't love it, and it's never the wrong choice of fragrance in any situation.
25th September, 2017
CK One : that unmistakable muguet and green tea accord. Luminous and aloof, androgyne and hard ; with its pretentious manifesto 'clean is the new sexy' CK One squared the circle to become the first ever puritan perfume. No mean feat : some mean fume.

27th August, 2017 (last edited: 16th October, 2017)
A friend brought up CK One yesterday in a discussion. The Calvin Klein names sound the same to me and it only clicked which CK perfume this was when I remembered the advertising campaign. The teenage faux-grunge advertising. Oy.

I’ll tell you how it is that I’ve never smelled CK One before: target marketing works. In 1994 and I was 30, or twice the age of the target audience. I lived in New York and CK One advertising was public. In 1994, before social media, targeting simply wasn’t very precise. Rather than aiming, Calvin Klein flooded. Billboards, television, magazines and newspapers, subway posters. I had to swerve to avoid it. If CK One launched today I’d simply never see it. It just wouldn’t show up in any of my feeds.

CK One was intended for a young audience, but the images were in everyone’s face, so a sort of self-recusal took place on-by-one. The perfume appealed to you or not, depending largely on whether the story being created included you. Imagery that read as cool/aspirational to the 21 year old who found the ads exciting didn’t appeal to me. Thin, world-weary teens playing Peter Pan meets Lord of the Flies? It screamed significance in fashion patois, but the post-grunge styling was years late and a shoddy attempt to cop a style from a subculture. The CK One campaign started a few months after Kurt Cobain killed himself. The notion of Calvin Klein trying to catch some momentum from grunge at this particular time was repugnant.

So I opted out. I was obliged to continue to see the images—I mean, I rode the subways—but that was the end of my participation. The contempt wore off after about a week. Then I just navigated the images until the next thing came along and replaced them—a classic New York experience of my time.

I remember a couple of details about the perfume. It was ‘unisex.’ I was surprised that they made a big deal of it—was unisex that novel an idea? Also, the fragrance was supposed to be contemporary and clean. SO contemporary and SO clean that it was somehow beyond scent.

So I tried CK One ‘cold’ yesterday for the first time. I’ve never read about the perfume itself. I have a bottle of CK One and some 25 year old recollections of the launch.

CK One smells like it was intended to convey hygiene yet go unnoticed. It’s there, but it claims not to intrude into your consciousness. There’s been years of discussion about the contradiction and denial involved in fragrances trying to smell like nothing, so I’m sure applying the notion to CK One is nothing new. But CK One smells like a very specific nothing. It’s conceptual: a ‘clean’ fragrance + a masking fragrance = an impulse of purity. It allows you to feel invigorated without the invasiveness and effort of having to exhibit a clean scent. From the angle of 2017, hygienic fragrances seem very ’90s-specific, but for all I know, CK One invented the approach.

Of course the premise that two opposing olfactory forces will nullify each other doesn’t actually work on a practical level. Instead, you’re left with the remnants of a scent, like dry-cleaning chemicals that cling to your clothing. The perfume ends up locked in a cycle of constantly trying to invalidate itself. It might have been intended to be uncomplicated and undemanding, but it’s no surprise that it smells like effort and tension. (Cute bottle, though.)

It also smells like diet soda and Febreze, which wouldn’t exist for another another 4 years. I give CK One enormous credit for its methodically synthetic tone. It comes across as calculated and legible. I had never smelled it before yesterday, and yet it instantly smelled like an era. If CK One’s goal was to create a new style of fragrance, my experience points out how successful it was.

20th July, 2017

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