Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Obsession by Calvin Klein

Total Reviews: 82
In a room wearing Obsession sitting next to a freshly made pomander, a blood orange stuck all over with cloves. I don't know which fragrance is the most divine -- me and Obsession, or the orange and cloves.

I put the tiniest of dabs at pulse points--because I'd been warned, immediately I imagine I'm in a nightclub trailing a rich indolent fragrance which turns heads, but I walk fast, so I don't see expressions.

It calms slightly, I'm in church, sandalwood incense and huge bunches of white stalk at the altar, the scents are intense, but changing-calming.

Hours pass, now writing this, I lift up my wrist, and I AM STILL WEARING A GORILLA, sitting next to a pomander.

I don't want it to stop, it's for me, and I don't care who doesn't like it.

Will I wear it tomorrow? It's an event which must be prepared for.
30th December, 2018
Great scent. My mother wears it.
Great sillage but with moderate longevity.
I suggest you buy this.
Best worn during chilly weather.
30th December, 2017
Love this beautiful rich amber concoction from the eighties. I prefer the original formulation that has the gold band around the cap. I’ve hoarded bottles which I bought from eBay like a maniac lol. This fragrance has a beautiful scent cloud and I would definitely recommend you trying it out. Calvin Klein really was ahead of his time he brought out some real classic fragrances that have stood the test of time.
30th November, 2017
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

I have both the vintage and reformulated versions of Obsession and they're both good. The vintage has an interesting green note along with the spices and vanilla. It's fresher and rounder. The reformulated version is all spices and vanilla. Cinnamon is especially prominent. I personally find this version a tad bid sweeter and more unisex than the vintage. All in all, I recommend owning both and just thinking of them as separate perfumes.
01st February, 2017
I was born the year that this was released and it must have been worn by many during the 90's because it is so familiar and nostalgic, even though I know my mother didn't wear it.

I don't understand how this can be described by some as 'too sweet'. It is very unisex in my very humble opinion and perhaps has a touch of sweetness but is far from excessive. It's clearly an oriental and one that fit's in rather unnoticed when worn in the here and now, unlike the massive 'power-houses' of the decade, which can now feel heavy and old-fashioned.
03rd September, 2016
Recently, I was bemoaning the fact that perfume seems to have gone out of style. Or at least it seems that way to me. In the days, when a pretty girl walked by, she always seemed to be followed by a pretty scent trail.
In any case, the other day I stumble upon my wife's old bottle of Obsession and decided to try a little on me. I totally love it!
I'm hoping to find a scent that is labeled "for men" that is similar, because my wife will freak out if she finds me wearing a "ladies" perfume. I tend to be less worried about labels than she is.
In the meantime, I am walking thru the perfume departments at the mall enjoying all the wonderful( and sometimes nasty) scents.
25th April, 2016
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
Oriental run amok. This is an overdose of amber, a diabetic coma of a scent that takes no prisoners. I have never found a Calvin Klein scent-for men or women--that I really like, but this is one that I actively dislike. The same ingredients, in the hands of a master perfumer, could have been great. Such a huge launch at the time, this was everywhere and the very sensual ads created lots of hype. While Dinand is a master designer, I never really understood the egg-shaped bottle. I am very pro choice when it comes to everyone's right to wear fragrances of their choice in public, offices, etc. but once I worked in an office where our receptionist wore it and it literally made me avoid the lobby at all costs. At one point, one of my clients, when shown into the conference room mentioned it and I was almost ready to speak to her about it when the office got a petition together for HR. No connection, I am sure, but she didn't stay long at the firm.
03rd June, 2015
My husband bought this for me for our anniversary. I did not like this in the 80's. Maybe because a bunch of us women would go out together. It was probably too much cologne mixed together. I love it. It is my second favorite scent. The hardest thing is for me to go easy when I put cologne on but this one I have to. If I don't have to go anywhere this weekend, I am going to go a little crazy with it. It could have a prettier bottle.
28th May, 2015

A man catcher.OBSESSION has the power to fascinate,to surprise and to seduce. it never tame,full of shocking sensuality, redolent of dusk and heated skin.Timeless,Heavy,Sweet, Intoxicating,Irresistible. Passionate,Classic,Hot and Super Seductive.

It opens with a inviting and fresh note of Bergamot, Peach, Mandarin Orange and Vanilla.A heart of Sandalwood, Oakmoss with a spice notes accord give OBSESSION a sensual and alluring scent center, complemented by a sheer vanilla and thick incense base for an added air of Seduction.

This fragrance leaves a trail of unforgettable scent whether you enter or leave.It reminds me a Oriental-Vanilla fragrance.A must have for any special night and definitely for a Femme Fatale in WINTER months.Ladies if you want a Alluring scent try it.


Longevity?About 9 hours on my skin.

13th May, 2015
I've worn this for years and love it. A male scent? Are you kidding? I get that perfumes react differently with different body chemistry, but this seems very female to me. This isn't unisex AT ALL.

My favorite is the amber basenote.

This is definitely a perfume for the skin, though. Skin warmth brings out the richness, whereas it smells considerably sharper if just sprayed over clothing.
20th December, 2014
I can't believe it has taken me this long to own Obsession. I've had Opium, I've had Poison, I even had Cher back in the 80's, but not Obsession. Until now!

I found a full vintage 3.4 oz bottle on eBay for a steal of a price and it just arrived today. Sprayed once on the back of my hands and once on my decolletage and whew! Such a familiar scent, even though I had not worn it before. I love the spicy amber that it settles into. It's comforting and memory invoking at the same time.

The top notes fade very quickly, perhaps because it's the older juice. And it seems to get stronger as time goes on. 45 mins after spraying it, I'm almost choking and that is with only 2 sprays! Ah, but choking in the most delicious way!

It is definitely a skin scent and much better on the skin as opposed to being on clothing. It develops so much better so the mid and bottom notes can come out to play and isn't screeching because it is stuck in the top notes.

I'm sure my husband will hate this so I have to only wear it when he isn't around. Unfortunately, he likes floral scents on women and I like spicy orientals. It's rare we find a happy medium where perfume is concerned, hahaha!
12th September, 2014
Barbara Herman gets it totally right, noting this "balances a sensual, powdery, amber base with an orange heart, made fresh with green and fruit notes, spice and animal warmth."

Turin gave it three stars and named it a "big oriental, a cross between Shalimar and Emeraude."

It's all true - the amber, the orange, the warmth, and the hearkening back to Guerlain's and Coty's oriental masterpieces.

I like it - and I like it better than either of those masterpieces. It's warm and friendly and voluptuous, restrained and sensual at the same time.

A great oriental!

Top notes: Bergamot, Peach, Lemon, Rosewood
Heart notes: Jasmine, Ylang, Rose, Cedarwood, Sandalwood
Base notes: Vanilla, Amber, Musk, Moss, Civet
29th July, 2014
I like this as i like allot of Calvin Klein stuff, but it makes my nose hurt now. In the old days it didn't. Yes, its loud and seductive....kind of like Tabu i guess. What else can i say.
22nd July, 2014
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Calvin Klein - Obsession
Once upon a time there was the turbulent 80's- a perfume-area that took some loud screaming and bombastic perfumes for its credit- like Obsession and Poison, but also light airy ones, like Cool Water; which is quite the opposite. Obsession screams at the top of its lungs with a seducing tonality, from start to finish, and it doesn’t back down. For me, Obsession tries to smell like a combination of Opium and Poison, mixing up oriental and gourmand. It surely draws attention- its a very heated perfume, which for me mimics the animalic lust, painted as an just finished abstract painting, still wet, made with emotional intensity, much dynamic movement and bright, thick colors.
It smells like sugared, slight unripe orange-peels impregnated in polishing-beewax, poured over with a warm sweet honey-sticky gourmand sauce of rose/jasmine, marinated with cinnamon, red and black pepper, cumin, and vanilla-pods- finished off with some oily orangeblossoms and a splash of luscious sandalwood-oil. So far, so good, but to gain its extra volume it is stuffed heavily with nitro-musk’s; and that makes Obsession go through the roof and burst out of its party- dress. Its a big, American-styled perfume with not a hint of subtleness, and it dries out in this cloud of powdery and slight soapy, lactone-vanillin-musky amber, with a syrupy pineapple/mango-note and the sort of rough and bitter feel of the waxiness in the background.
I think this perfume is well-constructed but too save to my taste, although I can imagine that it can really shine on some women. The only thing I like is its opening, the sugary orangepeel/polishing-beewax note; the rest is a sort of obsession to smell like something new, without any new idea's, instead lending them from here and there. But above all- Obsession is about its obsession for Nitro-musk’s.
08th May, 2014

Obsession smells bitter and dry on me, and doesn't improve with the dry down. I can see why men might like it, and to me, it seems quite suitable for men. I have a vintage bottle from 1988, which is almost full. I decided to try it again after these many years, and still do not care for it. It doesn't say "hug me", but does suggest "back off, bud". I've a friend who wears it very well, and it smells completely different on her. I am a musk/vanilla/floral woman, so this doesn't work very well.

Pros: Nice bottle

27th October, 2013
Smokey Obsession

My review : I heard a year ago that my former (male) boss wears this one (not the mens version) i was like .. ok?! you?
Today i saw a tester in the perfume shop and i gave it a try... one spritz on my wrist...smelling it..Hmmm great!
Then i sprayed 4 full-blasts into my chest and walked away like NO F**KS where given that day.

Its still cold outside and my goose filled jacket with bunny fur was creating a good platform to evolve from chest to my nose.
Let me say im not much into buying womens perfumes for me,myself and I but....this ones is from now on my wishlist
Whats up with the dislikes in this one?

I really like this so much better then Obsession for Men which in my opinion not even close to this.

From beginning till end its balmy,woody and smoky amber and well... longer lasting!
I feel like a shaik!
totally UNISEX!
Big happy thumbs up.

Pros: Big and bold oriental
Cons: Not versatile, can be too much"

23rd August, 2013
New Formula Sucks

I had the original Obsession as a teenager in the 1980s. I can tell you that this version you get in Sephora these days is truly crap. There are no other words for it. The only time Obsession these days , smells remotely like the 5 star Obsession I knew is when smelling it on the sprayer and perhaps for a couple of seconds on skin. It then becomes a parody of itself. It smells like cheap ,horrible plastic crap. very bad. It's not worth the price. very disappointing.The original Obsession was a fantastic fragrance with depth and longevity and presence, character.

Pros: None
Cons: A lot"

15th August, 2013
Pure Ecstacy....

this is an incense-y elixir, wrapped in amber, vanilla and civet. And to my mind, its THE BEST fragrance that Klein had manufactured. And I would bet my life, he knows it. I also think, he's been trying, since this fragrance hit the street, to duplicate its success, along with the male version of this.

What I find hilarious and ironic, in light of how many, hate it, is how successful this fragrance has become. Its one of his top 'money makers'. And there was a time, not very long ago, when it stood alone as his best seller.

I totally understand why its not liked by many....its not a laid back scent at all. But I think a lot of that has to do with how heavy it is, over how nasty or gross its 'haters' think it to be. Example?...Obsession Sheer, is essentially the same scent, but its considerably lighter. But Ive read posts, where people make note of how much they hate this scent, but LOVE Sheer. Go figure.

Some live by the creed of "Less is more..". And those are the ones who dont like Obsession. Then there are those of us who worship at the altar of Gordon Gecko, in "Wall Street", who basically believed the opposite is/was true.

Id bet my life that "Gordon Gecko", owned a bottle of Obsession for Women, and didnt tell anyone.

this is the most masculine smelling juice that I can think of, right now...I know there are others. But this comes to mind immediately when you think of the chick fragrances that men could EASILY rock.

Pros: smells like royalty..
Cons: does not suffer whimps...

31st May, 2013
Classic spicy scent. Love it.
15th January, 2013
Janinae Show all reviews
Czech Republic
Obsession embodies all I expect from true classic. Don`t ask me about the date of it`s release and it`s original formula, I was too small than and growing up in a country where Western perfumes were hard to get. I smell in here and now, in it`s current formula and find it absolutely wonderful. No pretty going on bubbly sweet but real life thing. My favorite part of Obsession is it`s dry down spicey-woodsy-ambery-vanilla-musk combo done in an old fashioned way. Was Obsession released today it would be probably under some niche brand. There is this "hard to catch" cord that plays tricks on one`s nose: spicy for a while and sweet another time, woodsy and earthly.... It feels like sailing an old timber sailboat to the far East...
25th December, 2012
I bought my first bottle of Obsession from Nordstrom in the early 80's. Spicy & long lasting. During the early 80's I usually wore the original KL by Karl Lagerfeld, but Obsession was nice for a change. I think it's a nice winter fragrance. Also a nice line of bath salts, cremes & lotions ect.
17th September, 2012
There is something in this nasty fragrance that reminds me of Play-Dough we had as kids. I received a bottle as a gift from a friend one Christmas and I wore it even though I hated it.

Also, unfortunately, I had this horrible fragrance on when a dear friend died, and if I smell it now it has the power to bring me to tears.
02nd September, 2012
This is the most disgusting thing i have ever smelled, that had the temerity to call itself perfume. It's awful, and smells like Mr. sheen furniture polish, and it makes me nauseous. When i hear a man say, that he likes Obsession on a woman, my eyebrows lift clean off the top of my head in shock.

I cannot find one good thing to say about it, other than, thank God i haven't got any. I could spray furniture polish on my neck and wrists, and smell exactly the same.

As for the notes? There are notes? I can't abide the stench of it, so detecting notes is impossible, the whole just blends into a Mr. Sheenesque cloud of toxicity, that makes me want to pick up a duster, and put an apron on, and go polish a table.

Truly a horrible scent, in my opinion.
18th August, 2012
I fell in love with this when I was 14 or 15 years old. My tastes have changed considerably since then and many favorites of that era have fallen by the wayside, but this is one of the few fragrances that I still wear decades later. I tend to only wear it in cooler weather, however, since it is a "warm" scent. It can be to heavy if sprayed to generously, so I'm always conservative with the amount I use. It's funny, I love orange blossom and jasmine, but I don't really consciously detect either of those notes. There seems to be a ghost of vanilla in there somewhere, but it's not listed and if you really search for it, you can't detect it, like a false memory, (certainly not like the distinct vanilla in Hypnotic Poison). Not a trace of sweetness like in most of today's fragrances, thank goodness! Too bad the ethos of the fragrance industry has changed so's a cliche, but "they don't make 'em like this anymore."
09th August, 2012
When I was a teenager, the idea of wearing perfume seemed ridiculous; only bimbos and old ladies would spritz themselves down with “embalming fluid”. I was too busy wearing black, listening to counter culture music (whatever that is), and pretending to not care. Needless to say, I never wore any of the classic fragrances from the late 80s/ mid 90s. Recently, I purchased a bottle of designer juice at the local small town drug store, and hoped for the best. Wow. Obsession is a first-rate production, complete with an eclectic cast of characters. The opening is abrasive with an icky soapy-green burst that makes one wonder why Obsession is classified as a spicy oriental. On the skin, it begins to unfold chaotically, leaving a trace of (almost off-putting) powder. Next, a cute and fuzzy animalic note (civet) politely says hello, instead of throwing a Bal a Versailles middle finger. Slowly, the green-forest-creature-powder begins to expose amber and spices and after about 30 minutes the premise that this is not a spicy oriental turns on its head. This is the spicy oriental. Incense, vanilla, sandalwood, and spices are now the main actors, while the rest of the cast quietly scampers on and off the stage as supporting characters.

In an attempt to understand Obsession, I applied it to one side of my body and Ambre Sultan to the other. At first, the bombastic Serge Lutens seduced me with delicious sweaty-sweetness, which made Obsession seem like a powdery mess. But, as time progressed it was clear that Ambre Sultan simply turned down the volume, while Obsession told me a story. In fact, I would go as far as to say Ambre Sultan could be a stand-in for one of Obsession’s actors.

When I wear Obsession I tend to pair it with a cotton T-shirt and dark eye make-up—the teenager in me definitely approves!
Tenacity: 5/5
Sillage: 5/5
Overall: 5/5 (Ambre Sultan 4/5)
22nd July, 2012
It matters not to me that this is an "80's" scent, it is lovely, longlasting, and my 2nd favorite fragrance even after all these years. It is comforting, yet sexy. It makes my husband go week when I wear it. So obliously I wear it when I want to get my way or just when I what to see him go all googly eyed.
29th May, 2012
Obsession remains a scent that can transport me. It like other strong impression scents cannot ever be mistaken for something else. It shouts a bit.

But that is fine with me. I like the noise.

Obsession melts into my skin and becomes a rare, subtle things too. So it is a contradictory scent: it shouts, and yet is is complex enough to have subtle shades during the stages.

Those middle notes give it a green twist for me. The tagete adds a bit of a weird vibe that adds to the complexity that is Obsession. The opening, for me, does not change that much through the first drydown stages: I get florals along with that green coriander bite.

And then the amber in the drydown flows into my skin and stays, and stays. And this is not a bad thing. No matter that Obsession is "an 80's" dated scent. It is still lovely. But then, I am reviewing from my collection which contains some vintage bottles.

Just also tried a few sprays from a new, little bottle. It is still obsession, just not the big lovely thing I have on the other wrist. Oakmoss changes? No matter. I even like this version.

But the older versions? A classic, sexy sultry, tanned thing with a bit too much make-up that you still adore.
04th May, 2012
Spicy but in no way sharp, Obsession is smooth, sensuous and exotic, and very definitely a product of the 80s. Calvin Klein's 80's perfumes are the best from that decade, they are the only ones that I owned back then that I will still wear and enjoy. I have an ancient bottle of Obsession (the short bottle without a spray) in a rather battered box but because you really need to use so little I'm quite sure it will last another 20 years.
I am wearing Obsession today(Sunday), I am spending the day at home catching up on chores and work, then seeing some friends this evening, and I have to say I find Obsession perfectly appropriate for both occasions.
The amber and vanilla which appear in the drydown are warm and delicious, a lovely cosy combination on an icy January day in England.
19th March, 2012
I can't believe people buy this. It smells like holy hell. I got this as a gift and wish I did not. It's overpowering from the start and every time I sniff myself with it on I shudder. Definitely has longevity, I'll give it that.
07th March, 2012
I used to love this... then the love was gone and i can't fathom what i ever found so special about it.
17th February, 2012