Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Encounter by Calvin Klein

Total Reviews: 30
Calvin Klein Encounter (2012) is the first new masculine oriental from the house since Obsession for Men (1986). The 26 years or so that have past between them has been quite the roller coaster for the house that virtually invented both the "fresh fougère" masculine style that came from the release of Eternity for Men (1989), and the "smells like nothing" synthetic minimalism that would come to dominate mainstream fragrance as well after releasing cK One (1994). Calvin Klein understandably became partly to blame for the death of traditional perfumery in the eyes of purists on the hobbyist level, long before IFRA made it an industry requirement to restrict natural ingredients, since Calvin Klein was literally popularizing the use of synthetic substitutes both for artistic and economic reasons, with IFRA rulings simply making it impossible to return to how things were after the trends CK helped create died down. Twenty years after the release of the game-changing Eternity for Men, it looked as if CK was finally done beating the "freshie" horse to death and started playing around a bit with more savory smells, starting with cK One Shock for Him (2011), and following with this. Encounter, as the first new masculine non-flanker fragrance since the unofficial "Age of Eternity" ended, is also designed with the first bit of "me too" thinking CK has had since pouncing on the youth-courting trend with the ozonic Crave (2002). In this case, the bandwagon CK jumps on is the Oud craze, a style usually reserved for niche houses and "Prive/Exclusif" lines (like vetiver was years ago) due to the expense or acquired taste appeal of the core ingredient. Oud has been used by designers for masculines before going all the way back to instances like Balenciaga Pour Homme (1990), but only in slight quantities. Montale/Mancera, Tom Ford, and Dior are usually the big pushers of Oud, but with all examples being close to or over the $200 mark, it's something the average fragrance-buying guy heard about but seldom saw up until the point this hit department stores. Pierre Negrin and Honorine Blanc from Firmenich were tapped for this, but without sounding too crass, it really isn't evident.

Just the fact that CK attempts an oud scent for men in this price range was akin to the Death Star blasting Alderaan in a test of it's super-weapon: millions of niche perfumistos cried out in pain then were suddenly silenced, since now they had to share their ace in the hole accord with Joe Schmoe. Make no mistake, this isn't some populist perfume victory, and the concept of populist perfume itself is just marketing anyway (ask Lush about that one). In fact, it really doesn't quite hit the mark as an Oud fragrance, which is probably why they just used Alexander Skarsgard as the face of the stuff and quietly listed oud in the pyramid, and what you have here is an ambery sort of oriental with an oud finish. Encounter has a mandarin note in the top, which is typical of an oriental to use, as anyone who's smelled Aramis JHL (1982) or even the aforementioned Obsession for Men will tell you. A cardamom and rum note are also purported to be here, but they get mostly buried by the scratchy pepper middle. Jasmine and cognac are rolled into this heap of black pepper too, which comes to dominate all the other notes to the point that only the orange in the top and the base notes are detectable around it. Amber, musk, cedar, and finally some oud come out to play only at the end. The amber, musk and cedar pin down what little oud is there, but once we're in the final phases, it's a dry hardened tar-like oud, not oily and virile like Dior or zested up like Mancera. Encounter is a decent enough oriental but like a lot of drugstore and designer oriental masculines of this type made in the 2000's, it confuses what are scratchy and sneezy notes for something seductive and spicy.

This conclusion is always reached by designers like CK trying to be alluring but still polite, which bars stuff like animalics from use (or their synthetic proxy). They also can't get by with heaps of moss, clove, patchouli, and kitchen spice either like the older scents in this style due to restriction or expense, which also explains the tiny oud amount. Ironically, the even-cheaper Avon would do this style better both without oud in Passion Dance for Him (2003), and with oud in Avon Premiere Luxe Oud (2016), the latter of which also marries a pepper note to oud much more effectively by not surrounding it in superfluous notes that make it scratchy. Calvin Klein Encounter isn't bad for a discount price, and respectable enough from a house that hasn't done anything for men outside of fresh synthetics for over a quarter century, but there's just so much better for the price, I can't give it a thumbs up. I can commend CK for trying to bring a mass-appeal oud to market for men, but the mass appeal for said market just isn't there. Reveal Man (2015) would see the house playing with a vetiver-themed masculine for the first time ever, and is leagues beyond this as a "sensual and romantic" scent for guys thanks to it's cashmere-like demeanor. There's definitely collector's appeal for Encounter as folks a decade down the road will probably mention "that time Calvin Klein tried marketing a cheap oud", but we're in "famous flop" territory with that statement, which doesn't inspire wearing the stuff. If you absolutely need a cheap oud you can use without regret, and it has to be something you can find at a department store counter, then go ahead and reach for this, but outside the cool bottle (something CK always delivers on), encountering this one is entirely at your own discretion.
30th May, 2018
Encounter smells like a three-car collision of current masculine styles. If you can imagine mixing a thinned- out Escada Pour Homme with Magnetism from the same house, you might get some idea of how confused this release is. Instead of blending the components well it feels like they tried to make every prominent note the star of the liquid. It is cloyingly sweet and the top notes stick around just long enough to fairly be listed in the pyramid. The 'Oud' in Encounter is to Oud what a knockoff purse labeled 'Guchi' is to the real brand. This whole thing is just a mess. I think Calvin Klein needs to slow down for a while and focus on quality over quantity.
11th September, 2016
Encounter is one of the better Calvin Klein fragrances. The rum combined with the oud makes for a pleasant opening. After the opening it goes down hill. The rum and oud take a back seat to a generic woody base. Projection and longevity are abysmal and I question whether this is an EdT and not a weak EdC. Another decent work fragrance if you work in a fragrance free environment.
19th August, 2016
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Fresh, light, clean, boring, not at all worth the $80 pricetag.
19th March, 2014
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A nice mandarine-citrus opening that exudes freshness. Cardamom and a rum note lead to a drydown where a peppery patchouli leads into a woody base. Very synthetic and unexciting overall, but not without being pleasant. Limited and projection, but the longevity of four hours is not too bad. All right for spring.
30th December, 2013
Rum, Cognac on a Agarwood plate

Its the decade of oud/ agarwood for sure, oud abosolut, immortel oud ,extreme oud , pure oud....sounded like a Bykilian clone on paper

Anyway its a nice soft blend of Rum,Cognac and a tiny spritz of Oud.

After an half hour the scent is totally settled as a skin scent.

Not my cup of tea a bit too much of everything.

Pros: Easy on the nose
Cons: Sillage & Longevity are too, mediocre and will not last"

25th August, 2013
the perfect fall/winter scent

I have been looking for the perfect fall/winter scent forever. I have many great ones, but I wanted something spicy, woodsy, masculine, warm with some sweetness. I was in Macys the other day trying some of the new offerings, when out of simple curiosity I tried on ck encounter. I have not like a new ck cologne in years, save for certain ck one summer offerings. I had remembered a write up describing this as woodsy, so, with not much of in the way of expectations, I sprayed some on my wrist.

What I smelled shocked me. It was all there rolled up into one, everything I wanted. Spice, rum, woodsy (a bit of pine), sweetness in moderation, musk. The saleswoman looked at me surprised that I loved it, clearly encounter was relegated in the background while made to measure, eros, one million intense hogged all of the attention, and sales pitches. I walked through the mall to see how it progressed, how it dried down, and I was back to make a no-brainer purchase without one morsel of buyers remorse and "do you really need another bottle?" rattling around in my head.

This reminds me some of Claiborne spark, a refined, toned down, mature version of spark. I loved everything spark tried to be, but found it to be too much, too synthetic. Not so with encounter, while I do recognize that this is synthetic, it really does not matter because everything is so well blended together in harmony, all the notes play together to make a wonderful symphony. This is so versatile because it projects strongly in the beginning, but then mellows to a near skin scent leaving you feeling like you just walked through the woods on a brisk fall day.

It is autumn, the air is brisk, the sun is beginning to set as you walk through the woods. The breeze is cool and constant, bending the trees while the leaves on the forest floor dance around you in a stunning dress of oranges, reds, and yellows. You can see your breath, cheeks are rosy and a bit numb, but that is exactly why you went for this walk. To take in the very essence of fall, to clear your mind, your lungs, and to gather some kindling and wood for the fire at home. Once home, the roaring fire is fed, a bourbon in hand while you warm yourself. , the smell of potpourri, a freshly baked apple pie fill your nostrils, along with the bourbon that you slowly drink in.....This is what this scent encapsulates from start to finish for me, my absolute favorite time of the year.

I must say, I see all of the negative reviews here, and I have to ask...why? I get it if this is not your thing, it doesn't work with your chemistry, but I sense something more here, perhaps a bit of cologne snobbery perhaps??? I do not own a tom ford, or a creed cologne, nor do I see myself doing so. Green Irish tweed may wind up being the exception to the rule one day. I do have over 100 colognes, some cheap, some expensive, I cannot describe every note I smell, but I still feel comfortable calling myself a colognessiur (I think I might patent that word). I honestly think this cologne gets ridiculed like it does because one, ck has been putting out some real crap in the past decade or so, and two, the price point is far beneath some of the people on this site. If creed attached their name to this, there would be a 55 person thread signing encounters praises...The price point is what hammers my point home even you have a versatile, masculine, well-balanced, age-neutral fragrance that can be had for under 80 bucks including the body spray, even less if you shop online. I wear what I like, whether it be cheap or expensive, because its not the price tag or the house that makes the cologne niche or unique, its me, my body chemistry, my preferences that make every cologne I own a personal, me only experience. I wish more cologne collectors understood this, because this site and others are full of people name dropping in an effort to impress or show total strangers how exquisite their tastes and noses are.
Again I know this is synthetic, but I ask you, do you realize how many colognes try to pull this off, but fail, or fall short just a bit? Burberry London?..i own it, its wonderful, but unless it is very cold, it can easily be too overbearing, until it disappears of course, two hours later. One million? I own it, a wonderful scent that I adore, but super duper sweet with the focus on the blood orange note. Pure malt, pure havane, A men, taste of fragrance, pure leather? I own them all, and I love them all, but each one is very sweet, and lacking the woodsy notes necessary to make them the perfect fall scent (malt comes close, but the wood and scotch note are not strong enough to rein in the A men base). I could go on and on, but suffice to say this already is in my top 5, and this will always be in my collection. Go to your nearest department store and try this with a clear mind, no prejudices, no expectations, and you may just encounter a fragrance that you will fall in love with

Pros: wonderful combination of rum, woods, spice
Cons: longevitty could be a bit better"

19th August, 2013
Great scent, poor performance

This fragrance has an awesome smell, too bad its ruined by its terrible projection and longevity. If they fixed that, this would be a great fragrance IMO.

Pros: Great scent, awesome dry down.
Cons: Poor projection and longevity

13th June, 2013
vawallpa Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A nice fresh, slightly peppery summer scent with poor projection and average longevity, nothing groundbreaking here but it is pleasant.
08th April, 2013
I recently acquired this when I was out of state, and I immediately fell in love with the scent! I am actually surprised that people are not liking this as much as I thought it would be. So let me go on the scent breakdown.

According to this site it's fairly accurate. How much you apply actually affects the top note's scent. A couple of spritzes will yield a stronger citrus mandarin scent, whereas spraying 8+ or more sprays will really give off a boozy quality. Either way I really like how it's done.

As it dries down it becomes sweeter, at least to my nose; I almost want to say vanilla but not completely sure. I suppose the Oud has something to do with this, and in terms of longevity it actually lasts quite long on my skin at least. I see others saying ten minutes... It's more like ten hours for me. But it does get close to the skin after a couple of hours.

I'd also like to note that straight at the beginning it does remind me of a similar deodorant that I can't pinpoint, but it's pleasant either way.

A very underrated scent, just like D&G's Light Blue Homme is. I recommend this and I'm glad to have added it to my collection. Give it a try!

P.S. If you truly have longevity issues, spray it on more heavily than normal. The price is reasonable so it's not as if you're spraying away a large sum of money.
19th March, 2013
One thing's for sure: it smells extremely cheap, and synthetic, though not redolent of disgusting metallic/toxic/aquatic molecules at least. It's due to that I almost gave this a neutral -- but not quite. In my opinion, Encounter is an attempt to make a bland version of Zirh Ikon. Ikon's cheapness is sort of charming, and the construction is very bold with big spicy patchouli. Encounter takes the cinnamon, patchouli, cedar, and cardamom of Ikon, and adds a thin, synthetic medicinal "oud" (not terrible but certainly not impressive) and a sweet floral-fruity accord (truly vile). Double Ikon's musk and voila, another marketing executive concept meeting / focus-grouped bathroom deodorant.
14th December, 2012
It's really good if u using it in winter/autumn (cold weather).
Individual flavor, ambitious, not for everyone.
For some, the smell may be irritating, but women love the feel of it on men (from my observation : )
11th December, 2012
Pushing back scent. Smells like puke. Disappointing fragrance by Calvin Klein.
27th November, 2012
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This one is okay. Scent is okay, longevity is okay and projection is okay as well I guess. Wouldn't buy it, would probably wear it around the house if it was given to me. I received 2 samples of this and I didn't expect much from it and thats just what I got. Another boring CK frag. Next!
10th November, 2012
I like this. Yes the pyramid is promising and the scent does not deliver, is not a horrible scent. It is boozy and sweet, and it does last, just depends on your skin. i like it because it is great for fall. masterpiece? def not. This could be a neutral rating, but I really like it. I would have marketed it as Euphoria Night or After Dark, but considering how silly those names sound, CK went in a different direction. smell and judge for yourself, and not just on first sniff, test wear it for a whole day and see what you get.
22nd October, 2012
Light, synthetic and cheaper.
Smels like a "plastic wood" in the opening and lasts about ten minutes.
Another CK waste of money.
14th October, 2012
Basically, an encounter with a medicine cabinet. Smells like the camphor note that's in so many old-timey "notions". I guess if you like that smell, then Encounter is fine. But most of us will recognize it as Calvin Klein's eleventh hour attempt at the fig thing, mixed with the currently rising in popularity accord of mint. I really wish this house would stop churning out these lame concoctions. Remember "calvin", Calvin? Remember Obsession for Men? I think the last good juice from this house was Eternity, and although it's not a favorite of mine, at least it was original and set a trend. This company has re-re-branded itself in the clothes department by going back to it's roots and dumping the "CK" thing. Now if they'll only do the same with the scents.
So there.
10th October, 2012
It's new, and it's bad.
Not good-bad, bad-bad.
Intensely sweet. Drugstore cheapo. Wretched attempt at spices. Boozy notes are ghastly. Wood notes are non-existent. Cloying, heavy, clumsy. Musk is overdone.
Can't see any redeeming features here.
03rd October, 2012
Encounter? Ok. So, this is how I see "encounter". This is an encounter of two comprehensive school, soon to go to high school kids who are about to kiss for the first time. There's gonna be a lot of drooling and it's gonna be stupid but also exciting and fun...if you're a kid. If you're an adult - there'll be no such kind of encounters. So, dear CK, after "Obsession for men" and "CK One", maybe just maybe "Contradiction" and recent "Shock" too, you no longer have anything to give, but please do prove us all wrong. Please do so.
01st October, 2012
It is not very original and the quality of the ingredients is questionable, to say the least. I don't understand what they are trying to get across with this release.
26th September, 2012
Nowhere near as promising as the notes would have you believe.
Has a faint boozy edge and cardamom floating about.
But what is it with scents being so weak? After 2-3 hours it just sticks close to the skin. No one seems to want to make anything with any specific sort of projection.
12th September, 2012
Ahhh, how fragrances can take you back in time, remember special moments... for better or for worse... When I was a young kid I lived next to a seedy nightclub, and sometimes whenever a customer came out with his escort a nauseating "breath" of booze, cheap perfume and tobacco would invade the street... And CK Encounter brought that memory from the dark recesses of my mind... Try this at your own responsability...
11th September, 2012
Very mediocre at best. The opening gives me the typical CK crap, an array of synthetic smelling fruity notes, mashed together. After 20 minutes it's gone..

After 40 minutes it's back? Odd. I get oud. Yup, I said it.. there's oud! Is it good? No, not really, but it's an attempt of maybe better things to come. I couldn't just sit there and smell my hand, because it would smell like it was gone. I had to take a whiff.. clear the nasal passages, and then take another whiff some seconds after. The oud eventually mixes with a sharp spicy cedar, and some sort of incense. While it may sound good, it really isn't, the notes are there, but the quality is horrible.

Almost thumbs down worthy, in my book. Unbalanced and unorganized scent. The dry down improves it, but it still lacks quality. Regardless, the question is answered. CK can do oud. A for effort, A for oud (not this oud, but the demonstration of oud in general), F for everything else.
04th September, 2012
Tried this on my skin today. Its a well blended woody and aromatic scent and I'm actually a little surprised to see it being classified as woody oriental here and there. I guess that should be due to presence of Rum, Cognac, and Cardamom which gives me an aromatic impression but they are probably 'officially' Oriental notes!

It starts with fresh, crispy and boozy accords and settles to a nice scent which leaves an overall impression of something shampoo-i or soapy. It's a little synthetic and even cheap but still a lot better than most of main stream scents that I recently tried.

Good longevity and moderate projection. Overall: 7.5 out of 10.
30th August, 2012
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A ho-hum oriental of the type you've smelled a thousand times before. Smells 10 years old already and it's only just been released. That aside, it smells reasonably inoffensive at first, spicy and fruity, although I think these two components clash somewhat, like two separate fragrances mixed together rather than blended properly. Then the drydown turns into Eau de Brillo Pad, a sort of metallic detergent smell. Minimal sillage. Longevity about 4 hours.
28th August, 2012
I'll rate it neutral because it just smells neutral. The note pyramid originally pulled me in (particularly the Oud), but the amount in it is fairly minuscule, and all the notes come together to form a very linear, clean, nothing-y scent. Longevity of about 3 hours. Nothing really new from CK here, another meh fragrance just in time for Christmas.
28th August, 2012
The juice is not bad itself and at the end of its journey turns out as a sharp and uncompromisingly masculine spicy-dark (ambery?) concoction definitely conventional in its woodsy virile dry down. The modern "encounter" of almost fizzy boozy notes, citrus, prickly  dustiness and light cedar produces a sharp, slightly fluidy (i would say sparkling), alcoholic, averagely cool,  fruity (even due the pleasant note of mandarine) dark depth with the sophisticated spark from the floral note represented in here by an obscure jasmine. At this point i catch a vague reminiscence of the first Ungaro III lighter stage when the sparkling vodka splash is still swirling in the air. The floral-citrusy  booziness is kind of aqueous-sporty-dynamic and the woodiness from the oud is definitely not stark or medicinal but simply astringent, cedary, dusty and masculine. The juice, in its soul, is a compromise between a classic woodsy-floral masculine and a modern watered down (lighter)  citrusy ozonic (although it is not an ozonic one). The dry down reminds a classic woodsy-ambery and spicy powerhouse base but in a less heavy and more modern (cozy, chic, cool, boozy, dark)and alcoholic  way. Cute bottle. 
27th August, 2012 (last edited: 22nd December, 2013)
Has the typical Calvin Klein watery texture with added booze. Of all the sweet fragrances I've tried this is on the lighter side. Not a scent I would keep sniffing, but it's alright. Try it for yourself

Scent 5.5
Sillage 5
22nd August, 2012
Got to try this one at Macy's today. The sales associate said they had just put it out a few hours before. I tried it, it was nice, fresh, clean, but smelled too familiar. I was hoping for someone more like A*Men Pure Malt, with the cognac and rum, but instead it smells like an Eternity or Euphoria. Not terrible, not exciting.
12th August, 2012
nothing particularly exciting, duration seems to be limited, sillage pretty good, can't say it's bad!
10th August, 2012