Perfume Review: There Is Something About Knize...
Established in Vienna in 1859, Knize is a distinguished label of fine-tailored menswear. It is said that ten days and 7000 hand stitches go into producing each bespoke Knize suit. The Knize scents have the same impeccably-made, solid, expensive feel. They have a certain “English-ness” about them (or at least what a foreigner like me likes to imagine to be “English-ness”), a certain traditional elegance of a tweed suit and Burberry coat nonchalantly worn with wellies, an expensive casualness of the class that owns country houses, hunts and has stiff-upper-lip double-barrel surnames.
Knize Ten, created in 1924, is the one Knize scent that perhaps has the most plummy accent. This leather classic, with its traditionally-sharp citrusy top, spicy-woody heart of sandalwood, cedar, geranium and carnation, and the warm, powdery, slightly vanillic drydown, is obviously wonderful on a man. On a woman it has the same austere and provocative elegance as Tabac Blond. When I wear Knize Ten I feel like one of those English Ladies one sees in movies (mostly televised mysteries, to be very honest), who date their ancestry to William the Conqueror, wear riding boots, love dogs and horses, smoke, drink, swear, and, without giving it any serious thought, are always extremely well put together. It is no wonder really that Knize Ten is my favorite Knize scent and one of my favorite leather fragrances in general.
Knize Two, created in 1978, is less of a “landowner” and more of a Lord Peter Wimsey kind of scent, a scent to be worn by a refined city-based person of noble birth, with a taste for books and a fondness for the piano. It is an understated green scent with a surprisingly prominent violet note and has the same dry elegance as Violette Precieuse, Iris Bleu Gris and Grey Flannel. This sophisticated and subtle, woody, mossy and most definitely unisex fragrance is my other favorite from Knize.
Knize Sec, created in 1985, has an appropriate dry, elegant, cold, albeit not too fascinating, citrusy beginning that makes me think of gin and tonic heavy on gin rather than tonic. The most interesting part of it, and the one that makes Sec full bottle worthy for me, is the drydown, which seems to me to be heavy on labdanum, and has an unexpectedly dark, incensey quality.
Knize Forest, created in the 1993, is my least favorite of the “masculine” Knize scents. It is a fougere, with a bracing lavender-bergamot beginning, herbal, slightly spicy, ambery heart, and an earthy and rather chilly drydown of woods, vetiver and musk. I am not a big fan of fougeres as a fragrance family, so it is perhaps understandable that I am not able to fully appreciate Knize Forest. It is, however, as elegant and well-made as the other Knize scents, and should definitely be tried by those who like this genre.
Knize Lady, originally created in 1938 and re-issued in 1955, is Knize’s polite nod to the spouses of their clients. It is a pleasing, certainly very feminine floral bouquet, quite sweet and heady and not too imaginative. Rose, tuberose and jasmine are lush and languid, slightly spiced up by coriander and resting on a base of lovely, soft sandalwood and amber. It is pretty and cheerful and seems just like the kind of thing a busy gentleman would pick up as a present for his wife, because he likes her to be pretty and cheerful or because he thinks that, as a woman, this is the type of scent she will enjoy…for all I know, she would enjoy it. It’s not my cup of tea at all. Give me my Knize Ten and my riding boots and I will be quite chuffed.
Knize Ten, Sec, Forest and Lady are available at First in Fragrance €43.00 for Lady, €72.00 for the other three. Knize Two was available there only a month ago, but seems to have been sold out.