A Sexy Classic: Review of Obsession Cologne for Men

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Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men has become an icon in the cologne world for its bold, seductive scent.

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Many younger guys probably remember this one on their dad’s nightstand. However all these years later, it’s still going strong.

After the debut of the women’s version of Obsession in 1985, Obsession for Men launched 1986. The creator of this famous Calvin Klein design house fragrance was perfumer Bob Slattery.

Along with Slattery, Pierre Dinand created the distinctive men’s Obsession bottle with its rounded minimalist appearance, brown, gold-ringed cap, large letter namesake with the oversized O, and its beautifully fashioned glass container, which provides a clear look into the bottle’s honey-gold contents.

Calvin Klein Obsession for Men

The scent is in the nose of the believer, and Obsession continues to have a faithful following that swears by this vintage cologne and its masterful blend of spices, citrus, and amber as well as its alluring nature. Obsession for Men has a reputation that precedes it. It was awarded for that notoriety with a 1987 FiFi (Fragrance Foundation) award for creative achievement.

These days, with softer, cleaner aquatics dominating the world of men’s fragrance, this definitely harkens to a bolder time for men’s cologne. It’s an oriental that exudes self-confidence, elegance, passion, and excitement for the world’s unknown.

When Calvin Klein launched Obsession for Women, he wanted to deviate from a flowery, sweet and understated scent. He was looking for something direct, provocative and sensuous, and those similarities hold true with Obsession for men. 

Obsession Men Cologne’s Composition

Top Notes

Obsession starts with top notes in bergamot, citrus, lavender, other fruits, and herbs, and its citrus explosion is what creates a first and lasting impression along with harmonization of sharp floral accents in lavender, coriander as well as spiciness through cinnamon.

Middle or Heart Notes

Obsession has heart notes of jasmine, nutmeg, flowers, and herbals. Carnation, jasmine, and wood show predominance but they are subdued through a base note presence of warm patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, and amber. Subtle red berries bind the structure and bring sensuousness and distinctiveness to the cologne.

Base Notes

Obsession has base notes of sandalwood, amber, patchouli, vanilla, and musk. The base notes in Obsession for Men, particularly in the dry-down stage, show a focus on powdery vanilla with a slight combination of amber and deep musk that outweigh the previous florals. The finish is one of warmth.


In spite of reformulations over the many years of Obsession’s existence, its lasting power has remained superior to almost any other comparable cologne and has a longevity of anywhere from 8-18 hours. Since it’s a heavier fragrance, one spray should do the trick. Its quality, hours after dry down, is the proof in the pudding, as that is the period when the magic of the fragrance reveals itself.

Sillage & Projection

The sillage or projection of a fragrance deals with how it is noticed at a distance. It is the bloom of the fragrance or the trail that lingers or is left behind. With Obsession, the sillage is pretty ​strong — this is definitely one that gets attention. Don’t wear it if you don’t want people to notice.


I know there are guys that wear this everywhere. Personally, I’d say it’s more of an evening or romantic fragrance. It’s good for winter, fall or spring — it’s a little too heavy for summertime where the intensity of the perfume would be over overbearing.

Review of Obsession Cologne for Men


I wore Obsession for my first date, so it’ll always have a spot in my heart and cologne collection. At this point, I tend to wear Prada if I’m looking for a warm amber scent. However, Obsession is one of those stand-bys that makes you feel like an old school boss. It’s a rich, intense, exotic and timeless classic. Its combination of layered notes has made it a chameleon scent for young and old alike. It truly is a fragrance that is unforgettable.

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