Perfume Directory

cK2 (2016)
by Calvin Klein


cK2 information

Year of Launch2016
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 39 votes)

People and companies

HouseCalvin Klein
Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc > Coty Prestige

About cK2

cK2 is a shared / unisex perfume by Calvin Klein. The scent was launched in 2016

cK2 fragrance notes

Reviews of cK2

The massive critical failure and mediocre commercial success that is cK2 (2016) is almost an exact repeat of history, as it's another expression of ultra-modernism catering to a youth generation, featuring not only the same space-age packaging aesthetics as the last time Calvin Klein tried this, but even the same perfumer. It's so utterly ridiculous that by rights I shouldn't like it, but also so incredibly misunderstood that I end up going against my better judgement and loving it. In case my foreshadowing has proved inadequate, I'm referring to Calvin Klein Crave (2002), which was created by Pascal Gaurin, who was also brought back to work on this oddity. It's honestly a good scent, if so oddly futuristic as to alienate laymen, that powers the "in the year 3000" aesthetic of cK2. Just as with Crave, which was pitched at Y2K youth more interested in texting on their T*Mobile Sidekicks (Hiptops in Europe) than talking to each other at a restaurant, cK2 goes not for a unisex vibe, but totally "gender-free" vibe and is literally pitched to "the generation known as Millenials". While I'll refrain from blasting Calvin Klein for trying to not only vainly capitalize on the transgender movement, but also on a generation systemically downtrodden by the establishment in Western society, I will say that the absurdity of the marketing here is what tanked the scent, not the composition. More people are going to scoff or laugh this off over what it tries to be than for what it is, which is a shame.

Calvin Klein cK2 is a rose fragrance at it's core, which means I already love it before saying much else. The problem here, is the rose is presented so dryly and surrounded with such bizzare and stark accords that without letting it dry down, this fact might be lost. Violet leaf absolute, mandarin, and the odd wasabi form the top. I don't know if this is wasabi leaf, ground wasabi root, or what, but it doesn't really come across as that near-horseradish nostril tinge (which is good), but does lend it some bite. There is ozone here, which is also strange because the ozonic style mostly died in the previous decade, but considering Pascal Gaurin's track record with ozonics it makes sense that he's still "stuck" in this mode. The two most insane imaginary-note "Kleinisms" I have ever seen come next: wet cobblestones and orris concrete. I really wouldn't try thinking too hard about it here. Does it smell like a sidewalk? Sorta but only in a mineralic way, and whatever these captives are, CK has reached a new high (or low) with their inclusion. Finally, we see the beautiful, elegant, dry rose emerge, making the stroll through Dexter's laboratory worth the effort, becoming the main focus as the captives fade. The base is vetiver, sandalwood, an incense note likely from woody aromachemicals like Iso E Super, and they just hold up the rose like they would in any other perfume, dryly, and confidently. Is it truly genderless? Of course not. What we get is a unisex rose fragrance like anything Mancera or Bond would make but substituting higher-quality natural ingredients for a crap-ton of captives around the rose. It's still very nice, just not as strong as the niche examples of the style, and what it seems.

At the end of the day, cK2 is just "Calvin Klein being Calvin Klein" turned up to 11, and if you can look past the intelligence-insulting gender and generational disenfranchisement marketing (and many can't), you'll find one of the most-creative uses of synthetics yet from Calvin Klein but with rose as the star of the show. Calvin Klein quickly swept this under the rug as the next pillar in the cK series to avoid further shame, releasing the more-conventional (but also extremely floral) cK All (2017) as the new "third pillar" in the series the following year, completely disavowing the existence of cK2. It's still listed on CK's website, but that's probably just because it found an audience with women (where rose scents generally find flavor in the US). I actually like cK All a little less because it's pallid and dusty nature are almost dialed-in too close to this, but without the futurism or gorgeous rose to keep it interesting, like they replaced a single that had a good hook with a safer B-side when the original song flopped. This poor thing is doomed to the clearance racks, then discounters after a few years, and if they ever kill it off, it will turn into a unicorn and sell for stupid amounts of money on eBay. There, desperate souls who actually enjoyed it all this time will fight over it, so if you like it, maybe get 3 bottles in reserve to keep Calvin Klein pumping it out so it stays on the books a while? Another flawed and embarrassingly misguided but enjoyable science experiment from Calvin Klein, cK2 is bound to someday be the epitome of it's decade from the house if nothing else, but this time with a nod to rose fans. Get your feet on those "wet cobblestones" and get you some!
01st June, 2018 (last edited: 07th May, 2019)
There is minimal and there is simplistic.

Calvin Klein has been known for their accomplishments in the realm of haute minimalism.

But cK2 is truly an accomplishment in the realm of simplistic.
22nd August, 2017
A very nice entry into the Calvin Klein line!

This one, IMO, is like a more accessible, far less expensive version of Silver Mountain Water by Creed: Lemony, fruity, slight musky undertones, watery.

Nicely balanced outing, worth a sample for sure.
11th January, 2017
Now that those of us who were in middle school, awash in either Deee-Lite or Nirvana, back when CKone was new, have grown up, I find the release of this slightly humorous. I love the bottle design, although it reminds me of something I'd label "recovery room chic". I chuckled at the note in the description: "wet cobblestones", being reminded of "..Pale Grey Mountain" which comes with similar descriptions.
After trying CK2, I was pleasantly pleased. It has a wet, clean stone vibe that put me in my place, and seems to have a dose of cedramber (I think) to compliment a stiff grey earthiness that comes from the orris. I am curious about the wasabi, and wondering if it is wasabi leaf they are identifying.
I grabbed a small bottle of this before really giving a few chances, and as it continues to develop, I'm glad I did.
It is all rain and fog, not a cozy blanket but a ride on the El train with a wet umbrella and a hot green tea. It doesn't scream, but it uses an "inside voice", and it certainly gets its point across.
14th December, 2016
My first impression of CK2 was not a good one; It did not come across as anything I had expected and I initially mistook its softness for weakness. After spending an afternoon with it, I recognized a structure similar to the drydown of Background by Jil Sander. The opening was a bit too powdery and floral, and I was really searching for that 'wasabi' note. I stopped paying attention for a while, and after maybe forty minutes thought I smelled something very familiar - Dzongkha! I suddenly understood the point of CK2, with the peony, vetiver, stones, incense, and unisex labeling all softly recreating the basic structure of one of my favorite l'Artisan creations. CK2 isn't nearly as strong as Dzongkha, and without the papyrus and cedar it is much less woody. The end result is like the Tibetan mountain temple that is Dzongkha on a rainy day. The spirit is still there but the edges are worn off, the volume is low, and the petrichor replaces the smoke of the now dampened incense. Projection drops steeply after the first half hour but the scent remains for most of the day. I feel like this is a reworking of CK Man, and a rather good attempt. If the projection was any better I might have counted it among their best.
11th December, 2016
CK2 was a blind buy for me, and one I am very happy with. This to me is a perfected version of Burberry Weekend. Weekend is a nice floral Spring fragrance for men, but it has this horrible accord that smells like pesticides or something. CK2 is not a carbon copy of Weekend either, but it shares a lot of similarities.

The notes are left up to the imagination a bit. What I get up top is mandarin, violet, and mint. through the middle, it stays sort of the same but an awesome green rose note creeps in. The base.. I don't really get any of the notes listed, rather a floral musky base, very light and very close to the skin, almost undetectable.

The major drawback for me with CK2 is longevity.. I don't get more than 3 or 4 hours. Another problem (maybe I just got unlucky buying from Fragnet) my bottles seems to leak a lot, perhaps a flaw in the design? So I keep it right side up using the cap as a cradle. However, even when I spray it, it seems to leak a bit out of the collar/neck.

Regardless, this is a beautiful fragrance from Calvin Klein, in my opinion. It follows the theme for Spring, floral, fresh, light, transparent. Projection is good, but longevity, not so much.

To me, this bears no similarities to CK One, or CK Be, as I own them both, and wear both frequently.
10th September, 2016

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