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Calvin Klein – Encounter: Overview, Smell, Notes & More!

Fragrances are deeply personal.

What one person loves and buys for years, another finds too boring or maybe too overwhelming.

So it’s a good thing that both men and women have access to hundreds of different scents from a plethora of perfumers working across the globe.

There is truly something for everyone. 

You may have recently heard people singing the praises of Encounter by Calvin Klein.

In this article, we’re going to see if it is really a great fragrance or just another overly masculine fragrance that’s not much different from others on the market. 

Do you love fragrances with cedar, mandarin, and rum? Encounter might just be the fresh, masculine fragrance you’re missing, so read on to see if it would be a good fit for you.


  • Brand: Calvin Klein
  • Fragrance: Encounter 
  • Release: 2012 
  • Gender: Men 
  • Perfumer: Pierre Negrin and Honorine Blanc 

Fragrance Notes 

  • Top Notes: Cardamom, Rum, Mandarin Orange
  • Heart Notes: Cognac, Pepper, Patchouli, Jasmine
  • Base Notes: Oud, Cedar, Musk

What Does Calvin Klein Encounter Smell Like? 

Some say that this perfume is comparable to Abre Rousse, which is similar but has a much boozier opening.

The Abre Rousse is about an 8 out of 10 on the boozy scale, while Encounter is not quite as intense — perhaps a 5 out of 10. 

Rum and cognac, those sweet, boozy, spicy notes, are reaching for the top of this fragrance.

But unfortunately those smells just don’t quite land to offer as much sweetness as one would hope.

It comes off smelling like dry fruit with a touch of cardamom and rum instead of a robust, florid boozy scent.

The middle notes of Egyptian jasmine and pepper add a welcome warmth to the scent. 

Coming through in the dry down are the sweet and earthy smells of patchouli spice and oud.

The oud itself is not very prominent, sitting rather delicately in the background. 

Oud is a great scent that, when used gently, can be very attractive.

The subtle balance of oud in Encounter is undoubtedly one of its best features.

How Long Does Calvin Klein Encounter Last? 

You will see some complaints about this scent if you do any research about it online.

And one of the areas people often complain about is its longevity and projection. 

But for many, longevity should not really be a problem.

It stays fresh for between 7-10 hours, which is more than enough for most people. 

On the other hand, the lack of projection in this eau de toilette means that it wears down within a few hours.

Not all the way to a skin scent, but people certainly will need to be closer to you to smell it. 

When and Where Should You Wear It? 

Calvin Klein Encounter is an excellent general, all-purpose, going to work, going out with friends, everyday scent for men. 

It’s probably not something you’ll want to bring out on a special occasion — although it might be enough, depending on your use and familiarity with perfumes.

It does get compliments; there’s no denying that!

 But it might not be your go-to perfume when you want to impress.  

The spicy musk notes lend themselves perfectly to cold weather and chilly nights.

This is a great cologne if you’re looking for a mild, masculine signature scent that can be worn daily throughout the winter.

Presentation and Value For Money 

You can find it in bottles of 30, 50, and 100 ml, and it often comes with face and body care accompanying it. 

It comes in a nicely designed, compact blue-tinted bottle that looks fine on a dresser or shelf.

The outside is like the inside: sweet but nothing to call home about. 

Regarding value for money, the average 100 ml bottle of Encounter will run you about $50, though you can often find it on sale. 

The Bottom Line 

The bottom line is this: Calvin Klein Encounter eau de toilette is a solid fragrance for men for this price point. 

The criticisms (watery, boozy, astringent, too light, too “ho-hum,” too “detergenty”) are valid, but many also celebrate its malty, rummy, woodsy, and citrusy tones. 

It depends very much on what you are into, and it’s always important to consider what your partner is into as well. 

Final Thoughts 

Fragrance enthusiasts were excited when this one came out in 2012.

A brand like Calvin Klein releasing a boozy, oud fragrance meant it could have easily been a winner, but it falls short in a few areas. 

But that’s not to say this is a bad fragrance.

For the average guy, this will indeed be a winner. 

Smell retention isn’t as strong as others, but the EDT stays fresh enough to be noticeable.

But for the enthusiasts out there who know what they are talking about and know their way around fragrance, it’s likely going to be just average, and therefore a pass. 

So, take that with a grain of salt.

The ladies like it, so do most men.

Not so much the fragrance fanatics. Which one are you? 

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