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Monday, September 25, 2006

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Knize ten. It is a true classic and from a composition point of view perfect (at least for me). For sure not tropical fruity-flowerpower-vanilla girly thing, but a wonderful smoky and animalic perfume message from the classical age of perfumery

12:44 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I have to write "what Andy wrote". I've run out and it's been supplanted by the search for ever smoky and animalic (will I be rubbing myself with cats and burnt logs soon?). But it is a wonderful scent. I'm afraid the other ones are under "not so much"

1:34 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Mmmmmm! I'm off to Vienna next week, planning to stop by the Knize store and sniff 'em all... thanks for the timing!

7:41 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I really like Knize 10, although the citrusy/herbal top stops it from being one of my all-time favorites (just not great on me), and makes me want to wear it more in warmer weather. Like T, I am now craving ever more smoky and animalic fragrances. Nevertheless, your review spurred me to replenish my almost-gone supply. Never tried the others, and I don't know that I'm hankering to now. . .

8:10 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I absolutely agree that the two best scents from this line are Knize Ten (beyond fantastic) and Knize Two. Lavender phobic that I am, Knize Forest didn't work for me and for some reason Knize Sec, despite being created in the 80s, reminded me of something one of the characters Otto Preminger played in old movies would wear and I just couldn't get past the mental image of seeing his face every time I tested it. And you're so right about Knize Lady - yawn.

March, do get to the boutique - Adolph Loos (Neutra and Schindler were students of his) was the architect and it's brilliant. It's worth the trip even if you don't like the scents.

8:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It definitely has that "classic" feel, I don't know what exactly it is, but it's there. And gosh, it is not girly at all. It is the very polar opposite of girly. :-)

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What an image (cats and logs)! :-)I wonder how Knize Ten would be layered with CB Musk...

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oooh, I am so envious. I always wanted to see Vienna. Have a great time! Are you going anywhere else or just to Austria? I mean, is it a European tour?

8:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Is the beginning very agressively citrusy on you? It is citrusy but not sharp on me, no more so than that in the original KJ.

I am afraid to think where these hunt for increasingly more smoky and animalic will lead us...there is that German "perfume" sometimes mentioned on MUA...*scared*

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I had to google Mr. Preminger. Well, thank you, now I will see his face too every time I smell Knize Sec...:-) Actually, he looks more Knize Forest to me :-)

8:50 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Nah, it's not agressively citrusy--just kinda herbal/citrus (nice, actually, but i don't love that on me). What German perfume? Not the set from the movie????? Now I'm really curious??

8:51 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

A lovely overview, Marinochka...
Kisses to you !

Tom, when you get done with the cats and logs, come on over, ok? I'd love to smell you [heehee...]and maybe wrestle...

I'm with Herr Andy on this one- I believe it was David Niven's signature scent...

Please send me back a Klimt, or a little something Gropius, while you're at it ... atta girl !

Have a wondrous day, ma peeps...

8:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Not Mugler's overpriced thing, am stalling...well, ok, it's German, it's cheap, it's supposed to smell like woman's private parts, and it's called Vulva. There, I said it.
(OMG, the weird google hits I'd get after writing this word! :-D )

8:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh no, now I'd think of David Niven when I smell Knize...nothing against him, but not an image I want to see when I wear Ten :-)

8:57 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I forgot-
LOVE the horsey, more-than-faintly-S & M image- aka "the Miss Julie" look...

In Conservatory days, I did a lot of "pants" roles [en travesti], and one of my professors redfacedly confessed to envisioning me as 'kitten with a whip' [pooor sod !]- long black hair, English riding boots [which I actually wore a LOT] and riding crop [HIS addition, not mine...] !

8:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oooh, Chaya, as Miss Hilton would say, That's Hot! Very, very hot!

Now you gave me an layer Knize Tne with Demeter Riding Crop lotion...heh

9:05 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, that. I can't believe that's really good. It seems to be marketed, perhaps, to really lonely (straight) guys. . .

9:09 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

(clicked too soon). . .perhaps to scent their blow-up dolls! (doing my part to help with those weird hits:)

9:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

LOL eeeww...yeah, that must be it. I mean who else would need it, if there is a natural supply readily available? :-D

9:13 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This place is turning into a kinkfest, thanks to you leather loving lasses. Keep up the good work!

I can't believe people own blow up dolls, let alone scent them.

Knize Ten: it is an aristocrat, with a slight sneer and mastery of all his domain. I love it once in a while, but it's a chilly leather.

9:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Slight sneer- what a great description. A sneery scent, awesome!
*sprays Knize Ten and sneers*

9:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't resist a gentle nudge....who IS that Norman the Conqueror fellow? lol William will be disappointed to here he's not as important as he thought he was...

These sound like some veddy veddy interesting fragrances...stiff upper lip, pip pip cheerio and all that rot. Now I'm off for a spot of tea. :)

12:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Add Knize Ten to the ever growing list of things I'd like to smell someday.

12:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Glad the review was timely! I am thinking, for you...Knize Ten or Knize Lady. Or both :-)

12:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh the shame, oh the shame...I need a cuppa...

12:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

They are definitely worth a try!

12:19 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Have never tried a single Knize scent, shame on me, and didn't even know they made so many. I know Lusciouscargo is getting in one or more, but where else are they in the US? I'm assuming the answer is noplace since you're referencing F-I-F??

12:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Beautiful Perfumes still has Knize 10, I believe. Lusciouscargo is getting some? That would be nice, I wonder which ones.

12:52 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

You guys are all filthy. I have to go fan myself ;-)

M -- I'm going to Vienna and Budapest. I'm planning to see some Klimts and take a lot of long walks, followed by visits wine cellars, sachertorte makers and perfume sellers...

Elle -- thanks! I'd read that in my guidebook, it's supposed to be gorgeous.

1:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

OMG, Budapest! I love that city so much. The views, the food, the wine! I am so jealous. I so want to visit it again. *cries*

2:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It's not as if they are that well known, they are quite obscure really.

3:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


You guyes are KILLING me with all this Budapest talk! :-)

I agree, Knize Ten is a standoffish kind of scent. Quite aloof. Still I love it :-)

6:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Vika! They are all "quality" scents so to say, but I think that Ten is the most intersting of them. Well, Knize two is great too actually.

10:39 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for focussing on Knize scents! For so long I couldn't find anything on them. I still have the bottle from Lady Knize that I got from - Caswell Massey! In Charlotte NC! in the 80's and it suited me fine then, esp. the sandlewood and amber side. I like that it was a dry sandlewood and a dry light amber as well, so I could wear it in daylight. Now I'll have to go investigate Ten and Two - maybe for my husband as well.

12:19 PM EST  
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8:54 AM EDT  

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