Everybody loves Knize Ten. You. Your grandma. Your neighbor down the street with the annoying dog that barks late at night. Luca Turin loves it. I´d read Marina’s review of the Knize line right before my trip to Vienna, and I was ready to join the choir and sing out my praise for Knize Ten too.
Knize Ten has all the right ingredients – leather, check. Animalic, check. Knize Ten was going to be my leathery souvenir from Vienna. I went to the elegant Knize store on the Graben several times, trying to talk myself into the Ten, but … well, no. Knize Ten is animalic and leathery, but on me there is also a faint, persistent note of something resembling pickles that I just couldn´t work around. That pickle thing pops up in odd places (chypres, men´s colognes) and I don´t know what causes it, but it´s like having a pebble in my shoe when I´m running. For something so small, it begins to annoy me all out of proportion.
Instead, Knize Sec became the fragrance I wished I had bought in Vienna. But I never went back for it, and have spent the ensuing two years with a wistful longing any perfume fancier has probably had, the scent edition of the One that Got Away, whether it´s being outbid on eBay or searching in vain for that funny little fragrance boutique on the Left Bank with a quirky name that you can´t find the next day when you go looking for it.
My own particular longing was answered recently with a generous decant from a lovely friend who knew about my Sec desires, prompting today´s post.
First in Fragrance says Knize Sec has sage, lavender, exotic woods and white musk. The reviews on Basenotes indicate its male fan base, but it´s not any more manly to my nose than, say, L´Artisan Passage d´Enfer, which Sec reminds me of just a bit. Marina says the opening reminds her of a gin and tonic; it makes me think simultaneously of lime seltzer and that crypt-keeper note in Etro Messe de Minuit. I find Sec´s initial unfolding odd, but in a way that´s interesting rather than unattractive. I can pick out the lavender if I´m looking for it, but it´s so seamlessly blended there´s nothing potpourri about it. Sec is warm and cool, simultaneously, and a little strange. I am with Marina that the drydown is my favorite bit; she smells labdanum. There is certainly something very incense-y about it. The drydown reminds me a bit of Christian Dior´s Jules, but less dark; like many of my favorite fragrances there is nothing really that close to Sec. I´d recommend Sec for people who like incense fragrances, but also as a gateway scent for people who want an incense but gag a little if it´s too churchy or dense. Sec is elegant and it´s clearly a dress-up fragrance, first and foremost, not a virtual-reality cathedral. I´m finding it a perfect fit in our not-quite-seasonal weather, but there´s something about it that makes me want to try it when the thermometer climbs into the 90s.
My ardor for incense fragrances had cooled over the last few months, probably as a result of overexposure. I haven’t worn anything incense-y for awhile. The benefit now is, I can sample some of them in the summer weather. I think incense in the heat can be surprisingly refreshing, like walking out of the sun into the cool interior of an old stone building. I want to give Armani Bois d’Encens a go when it’s 90.
Knize fragrances are hard to come by in the U.S. I know there´s been some complaining about Knize Ten’s lack of availability recently, although it seems to be available from perfumenetwork.com. Sec and Ten appear to be available from First in Fragrance, a relative bargain at 75 euros, although I don´t know what shipping is.