Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Escape for Men by Calvin Klein

Total Reviews: 83
CK Escape is worth checking out. There is indeed some melon in there, but it's surrounded by a 'mist'-like effect of white-musk and eucalyptus and has other fruit notes the make appearances from time to time throughout the wearing. I adore this fragrance when the mood strikes. It has an almost 'damp' fruit effect with little to no piercing qualities. I think Escape would appeal to anyone with a sensitivity to citrus or wood sharpness/dryness because it's pretty much the opposite of that and IMO is a very tolerable and soft fragrance.

It really works well in the summer and, as I said, for me it's a 'mood' fragrance and it fills a wonderful niche for my collection. It's not 'watermelon' to my nose but rather 'melon', kind of like canteloup'ish in genre with other fruits joining in separately and seem to appear in and out of the musky/eucalypus-ey 'mist' for hours. It's a "pleasantly mysterious" fragrance. That's my best description of the style it's perfumed with.

There is a sweetness to it, so be aware of that when you sample, but I don't think it gets into 'sickly sweet' territory. It stays in a nice range of sweetness. The scent lasts many hours on my skin and sometimes it lasts all day.
19th June, 2019
Calvin Klein Escape for Men (1993) is another case of brand malignment within the perfume hobbyist community, but unlike Bond No. 9 products that take heat because of the eccentricity and dubious morality of the house's owner, this scent takes an unfair amount of heat for being from a house that practically invented the synthetic minimalism that dominated designers in the 90's and still haunts current designer perfumery, when the scent itself is really rather well put together. Escape for Men was far from the first masculine from the house, but it was the first one since Eternity for Men (1989), which for those unaware, is a groundbreaking "fresh" fougère (technically only a fougère in name alone), that revitalized a genre which had taken a backseat to powerhouses and masculine floral chypres throughout the 80's. Escape was the "sophomore" to Eternity in regards to it having to follow up such a drastically different and ascetic game-changing masculine, which alongside Davidoff Cool Water (1988), was reshaping masculine perfumery into cleaner and more abstract lines. The "Age of Eternity" as I affectionately call it, would last a little over 20 years, with few exceptions to this aforementioned synthetic minimalism being made by CK throughout this time, and Escape asserted that direction. Like most CK scents, the reception to Escape online purely depends on where you go looking for reviews: customer input from shopping sites or more mainstream/populist fragrance databases like Fragrantica range from mostly positive to glowing, even if a bit of nostalgia informs those reactions for most nowadays since the stuff is over 25 years old. Elsewhere that more uppity crowds gather, it's practically set on fire with criticism without actually unpacking and taking in what the scent offers, which is a great disservice. I'm not telling anyone they have to like this because I say so, but like most vintage scents, regardless of decade, there is context that needs to be considered when trying to wear it.

For starters, calone was to the late 80's through mid 90's freshies what Iso E Super would be in the 2000's, and norlimbanol/ambroxan would be post 2010. Calone was the wonder chemical of most mainstream perfumers at the time and although mostly used subtly by other designers, in Escape it's cranked to 11. We actually have Aramis New West (1988) to thank for this calone overdose as it appears in Escape, because New West was the first masculine to use calone at all, which is derived from melons, and it is also very prominent in that scent since it's actually one of the focal points around which New West is built. However, since Aramis as a house has a very good reputation among colognoisseurs, everyone in the echo chamber heaps praise onto New West as the freshie "it's okay to like", which in and of itself is a form of peer-induced bias, but Escape has a very similar vibe. In fact, Escape is so similar to New West that I have to call shenanigans on CK for pretty much stealing Aramis' thunder with their take on calone, since CK had the much bigger PR and marketing presence and could sell what's basically plagiarism in a bottle long before cologne guys screamed about designers "cloning" their favorite niche scents. That isn't to say Escape is a New West clone, it's actually a slightly woodsier and drier alternative if you like New West, and anyone who does needs to drop the paltry two pence it costs for a bottle of Escape just to compare them. For those who haven't sniffed Aramis New West and can't do the comparison, I'll describe Escape as follows: Birch leaf, grapefruit, bergamot, juniper, eucalyptus, mango and calone from melon represent the top, with the latter dominating all the other notes, which only seem to be present to keep the calone from being too sweet, since there is just so much of it. The middle is balsam fir, a salty "marine note" from dihydromyrcenol, rosemary, clary sage, and cypress, which when the latter is combined with the oakmoss base, actually almost makes Escape a chypre itself. The aforementioned oakmoss is joined by vetiver, sandalwood, a slight amber, and even slighter patchouli. The final sandalwood stage of the dry down is very reminiscent of Chanel Égoïste (1990), which is quite the compliment for any CK fragrance to be sure.

At the end of the day, what we have is a fairly misunderstood scent that effectively blends a fruity melon-powered top with greens and aquatic aromachemicals before settling into a dry semi-oriental chypre hybrid base. It's still synthetic in many ways, but no more so than Eternity, and doesn't even yet have the fake "Kleinisms" fantasy notes found in later releases, yet it gets raked over the coals worse than some of these inferior follow-ups for the name of the house on it's bottle, when in fact it should draw criticism for being a quality, if shameless rip-off of New West's primary beach bum theme. The stuff is still very painfully 90's so there's also the point of contention of whether or not you want to smell like a period regardless of the performance or style, but that's where the context I mentioned earlier comes into play. Escape is clearly a casual warm-weather scent, as even the name implies some kind of tropical getaway, and unlike Eternity or even Obsession for Men (1986), has no power in an office or indoor setting. Even it's older Aramis-made cousin New West had a little more luck as a generalist due to greener blending and balance, but Calvin Klein Escape for Men is so bright and fruity in the top, then dry and sharp at the bottom, it would just be too tacky in an air-conditioned environment. On a hot, glistening summer day, this stuff is actually amazing to behold. If you can forget the fact that this is a Calvin Klein scent, or that it isn't terribly original, just long enough to take in what's presented by perfumer Steve Demercado (who also made Kenneth Cole's debut masculine years later), you might actually walk away with a nice casual summer weekend in a bottle, with a cold beer by the poolside. If you can't stand calone, as it was sort of over-used here the way it was in the later Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger (1995), and was always a love/hate thing about 90's scents in general, I can totally understand; the melon note is really going to be this juice's biggest objective deal breaker. Might I also add that this is likely the only CK masculine to not come in a bottle with stunning design? It's just a cylinder! Master bottle designer Pierre Dinand must have borrowed one of his old designs from his Jacomo days, that's all I'm saying. When there's trouble in paradise, wear Escape!
15th May, 2018 (last edited: 30th March, 2019)
Smells dry and brittle.
I don't smell fruit or anything aquatic. This is just bad in my opinion.
I was thinking this would be similar to Eternity...boy was I wrong.

This smells very similar to Guy La Roche's Horizon. Before I tried either one of them, I saw people describe them as having an oceanic/beach-like quality. I assumed that meant it was fresh and aquatic...I'm guessing that description means you smell like you were bathing in salt water. Maybe.
More herbal and dry, nothing coming close to being watery in my opinion.

I now know why CK has a bad reputation in the fragrance community.
17th October, 2017
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Reviewing a fragrance from the house of Calvin Klein can be a little tricky at times because they try and play with one note which i have found common in 3 fragrances from that house and CK1 being one of them.
This smells too cosmetic and flowery and is more toned to the feminine side.
The scent falls linear after 45 minutes and its gone after 90.
This is something i would definitely not spend my money on.
Do not expect great results out of this bottle. An aftershower fragrance for the night time during winters is what CK Escape really is.
This scent is targeted toward the consumers who would like keeping only 1 fragrance in their closet for the sake of having one. Yes, the scent is very general.

I wont be giving this a thumbs down as there are really terrible fragrances out there and some really good designers too which have been reformulated and actually smell worse. But i cant give this a thumbs up either as this does not fetch something special for me and nor does it appeal to my fragrance likes.

The atomizer is really bad.
30th November, 2016 (last edited: 01st December, 2016)
An inadequate orange-and-amber effort, not too far removed from Boss Orange. Not unpleasant, but does not do anything that a decent shower gel would not in terms of imparting scent to the wearer. Dull, and really rather pointless.
18th June, 2016
I always wondered if anyone could ever mix the distinct smell of bananas into a scent and actually make it smell pleasant. My first smell of Escape's top notes remind me of a spicy, fruit cocktail with those sweet bananas in it. Afterwards, it turns into a medicinal, sweet scent that does remind me of the 90s, so I have smelled this before, probably on somebody's dad. Also reminds me of Clinique's Chemistry in the drydown.
29th May, 2016
I bought this blind one day since it was on sale at a local TJ Max. At first i wasnt that fond of it, but i actually grew to like it very much. Its not my daily go to. Its a very nice summer scent, but it is also a kinda sport scent in a way. I ended up using it before and after im going to the gym. I get a few compliments here and there, its not too subtle but last a good while. If you can find it on sale or fairy cheap some where is a good buy overall.
28th December, 2015
I've owned this frag for a long time. I received a compliment once in an elevator by a very attractive babe so from that point I didn't use my own opinion of how the frag smelled. If she liked it I wore it.

This frag seems to be pretty close being unisex. CK is known for making those types of frags. My more mature nose still doesn't like it but from time to time I'll try it out to see if it gets any attention. I figured if I bought I really don't want to waste it. Out the gate it's grapefruit all the way. I really couldn't tell you about a dry down because I feel like that citrus smell sticks around a long time so it's got good longevity and I guess the sillage is above average as well.

I'm new to basenotes so be patient with me and my reviews. I'm learning to identify certain parts of frags. I'm thinking about trying this frag out again just to see if I like it. It's so strong though. I really don't think anyone cares about this frag anymore. I mean, I was 18 when I first wore it. I'm 39 now. I'll leave this one alone.
12th September, 2015
Reminds me of my youth, clubbing and tapping off ...falling head over heels for a girl and getting dumped..tried it again recently and after putting aside all the memory's this is actually a pleasent fragrance along with the best aquatic scents but with extra fruit and eucalyptus..Longivity is great and projection is very nostalgic for me that evoke fun times with the fairer sex.
21st April, 2015
Genre: SciFi Horror

The pyramid notwithstanding, Escape for Men smells like a very simple composition: mostly nutmeg, coriander, and dry woody notes played against an enormous “shower fresh” synthetic white musk that smells like dish soap on steroids. It feels like nose Steven DeMarcado was aiming at the weird steamy shower effect in Mulger Cologne, but if so, he missed the mark. Instead, Escape smells cheap and awkward, with accords too far out of balance for structural integrity and too commonplace for witty juxtaposition. At the same time dull and annoying.
13th June, 2014
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The top notes of eucalyptus, birch leaf and grapefruit are a very nice, fresh and unusual idea. The drydown adds sage and fir impression with good effect, but the base with its generic patchouli and vetiver is a bit of fruity chaos and not convincing. Synthetic, for sure, but the initial phase nonetheless gives nice aromas, especially the eucalyptus - no koalas though. Although the end is not as good, this scent is just at the border between neutral and positive, but the great silage, good projection and an enormous longevity of twelve hours make it a thumbs-up. For spring or autumn.
13th February, 2014
no repeat please press escape

I just smelled it but im not wowed by this fragrance its a strange light fragrance where eucalyptus plays a strange part in
combining the fruits and aquatics, really 90's synthetic like a bad repetitive house dance song you cant get out of your head but annoys the hell out of you.
I can understand why people love this , its different and reminds you of the 90's
On the other hand its not my cup of tea.... Would be interested to smell it on others

25th August, 2013
Very surpised. Took a chance on ebay & won 2 small 15ml bottles (no other bids!!) for a song. One was obsession, which I loved when younger, but this was appalling! No resemblance to the original. But, Escape must have been an original. Excellent Grapefruit which lasts all the way through. Sillage momentous,( so spray carefully).
Probably a guilty pleasure, but hey, if one enjoys an aroma, why be sheepish?
11th April, 2013
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Overripe banana. That's about it! I didn't even wait for the dry down (but that's mostly because I lost the mouillette on the way out of the shop). Not for me.
23rd November, 2012 (last edited: 29th December, 2012)
Escape was one of my first scents. I bought it in 1996 and at that time i was in love it. It's a real nice release from CK that remains great untill now. It's an all-year-around fragrance, but works better in hot months. Worth it.
02nd November, 2012
Where CK learn the art of bottling nausea. Dizzying synthetic rendition of 'tropical fruit' on the turn with some chemical anise thrown in to knock the wearer completely senseless. My temples start to throb at the merest whiff.
06th June, 2012
I love this! It might kind of hide in the back of my fragrance drawer, but when I wear it, it always reminds me of why I bought it
03rd June, 2012
As I find many CK scents a little bit too one-dimensional, I did not expect to like Escape, but I do. The bitter note of a fruit plate that has gone slightly bad is there, sure, but that doesn't bother me at all. I find it strangely romantic.
31st May, 2012 (last edited: 13th July, 2012)
I agree with one reviewer that this has just had its time. I am glad I tried it once, but it is a bit too synthetic for my taste. The grapefruit blast at the beginning is a bit much, but this fragrance then calms down into a very nice smell. Get the 50 ml bottle and reminisce a bit and then move on.
25th March, 2012
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
Undoubtedly, CK's Escape has been an influential product. It helped usher in the trend in masculine fragrances toward fresh, aquatic scents. It is not watery like many of its brethren. I agree with Shamu that it is not sweet, but the grapefruit is indeed prominent and while I detect the spice, I can't say that it is "super spicy" at all. The eucalyptus is vocal as well. Ultimately, this is not my kind of scent.

It was a bit more daring at the time it came out, but today it is somewhat less outstanding. I find it linear and, after a few hours, grating.

I don't have a particular axe to grind with Calvin Klein. I simply am not impressed by this offering. Longevity is tenacious so if you like this after an hour, have no fear of it wimping out for the rest of the day.
20th March, 2012 (last edited: 20th October, 2012)
shamu1 Show all reviews
United States
This isn't a sweet or fruity fragrance at all. Escape For Men is super spicy and dry, with a lot of woody notes in there to enhance its spiciness and dryness. The patchouli and oakmoss do a great job of balancing out the wood notes and preventing this from smelling like sandpaper.

Escape For Men is in an early Nineties, post-powerhouse style represented by fragrances like Lagerfeld Photo, New West For Him, and Horizon. It is totally masculine in all respects, so I don't understand the comments below about how women could pull off wearing this.

It might not be the most unique fragrance in the world, but it smells great, projects well, and lasts all day. What more can you ask for?

MY RATING: 8.5.10
26th February, 2012
With a Quick Whiff, Escape for men gives the impression on tropical cocktail waiting to explode. However when you rub/apply to the skin, the fragrance relax's it becomes smoother and fresher. It kinda relax's you when u smell it, the Eucalyptus note is probably the reason why. By dry-down it become a typical Vetiver, I'm really not sure what to give this Fragrance, but for those who bash Calvin Klein, Escape for men is yet another example their fragrance are not as bad as they are ridiculed
11th January, 2012
Shpati Show all reviews
United States
Going to have to give this one a thumbs down. Smells like a perfume, it is way to synthetic. Just a bad smell for a man. Like mos Calvin Klein fragrances, they hardly last long. Definitely pass on this.
21st October, 2011 (last edited: 20th April, 2012)
It smells like a Boss's kind of fragrance and i don't use to love those. This is a chip aromatic-green, watery and slighty aquatic. The initial blast of greens, citrus and grapefruit produces a sort of minty, metallic, "watermelon-green apple kind" sort of smell that becomes aromatic because of the mixture of birch leaves, conifers, thyme, rosemary, coriander, resins and other different kind of herbs. The smell at this stage is almost balsamic while the following development tames the mentholated feel as well as the scent becomes  mossy with an almost evanescent  patchouli insertion. Unfortunately under my nose the woodsy temperament is overstated by the synthetic role of the aquatic notes, by the metal feel and by the angular effect of strong citruses. This boredom  lasts till the end.
25th September, 2011 (last edited: 22nd November, 2011)
i normally do not go for perfumes with watery or oceanic notes as i find them boring and lacking in character. i might be biased here, but i find eternity strangely sexy (it could well be linked to personal memories) and virile-smelling. love it!
01st September, 2011
Escape, Obsession Night, Eternity & Contradiction are the only CK fragrances that I can wear. Of these, this is probably my second favourite after Obsession Night.

Wearing this is like drinking a tropical fruit cocktail mixed with soda water, while sitting at the edge of a rainforest, overlooking the ocean! It really does capture all the elements of a tropical escape. It reminds me of being on holiday in Cairns, in the tropical far North of Queensland, Australia.

What makes this a stand out fragrance for me is that the fresh & fruity top notes hang around pretty much for the whole life of the scent; except right at the end. It stays incredibly fresh for such a long time, which makes it perfect for outdoor summer weather.

Sillage: 4 out of 5
Longevity: 4 out of 5
Value for $: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

Although I find Escape to be a very easy to wear fragrance, you need to be careful not to over-apply as the grapefruit, mango & melon combination is quite strong & can be a little over the top. If you don’t like the smell of fresh tropical fruit, then I’d give this one a wide berth. Otherwise, go ahead and indulge yourself!
22nd July, 2011
While I'm usually one for darker and sexy scents on a man, I really do appreciate Escape for Men.

This fragrance is very Summery and fresh. However instead of being Summery in a citrusy sense, this is more accustomed to being green, spicy and slightly aquatic.

The melon and mango notes make the scent a little sweet but the strong herbs and spices keep the scent masculine.

The eucalyptus note in Escape is rather strong, and for all those fellow Australians out there, or people who have visited our country, the scent is very much like the Aussie outback in the middle of Summer, with large stretches of land covered with Eucalyptus gums, dry brown grass and rich, fertile soil. To me this is the scent of a rugged bushman. Since I grew up in the bush, Escape is comforting and natural for me.

Also, like the female version of Escape, there is a subtle oceanic quality, rather like sea salt lingering softly in the background. Certain parts of this fragrance certainly remind me of the beach.

All in all, Escape really doesn't get the credit it deserves. Although popular, very rarely will people see the composition itself, which is exquisite. I do really love this on a man. One of my favourite Summery male scents by far.

15th June, 2011
fresh and sweet, pretty signature scent, nice one.
29th May, 2011
Escape is a nice citrusy-"greenish" fragrance. It starts and keeps its freshness and citrusy/green smell until it vanishes. Mixed to it, I detected a light sweet note that reminded me watermelon. Although a lot of people think It's old fashioned, I disagree. It's still modern and wouldn't be surprised if someone linked it to acqua di Gio. Weren't they created the same year?
Longevity is medium to good on my skin and I don't think It's overly harsh or synthetic. Just don't expect any "arctic" or (put your modern frozen lab created note here), but cypress, eucalyptus, fir balsam, juniper and oakmoss do a nice job!
19th April, 2011
Very fresh, like a bowl full of fruits. Fresh, light, non offensive but yet it is not weak, it projects well and lasts quite a while. This scent really has some character, though I do think it could be worn by women too.
22nd January, 2011