Knize Sec

Knize SecEverybody 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  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.

  • Divalano says:

    Ohhh I sooooo would love a bottle of Knize 10. You got me ALL excited with that link to perfumenetwork & yes, it does *seem* to be on the site …. but it’s not. If you try to buy it, you get an empty shopping cart. Grrrrrrr!

    I was all lit up for a moment there.

    *runs in circles*

    • Vasily says:

      Try Colonial Drug … you can place an order via e-mail. As of last year, they had Knize Ten in stock.

  • snowcrocus says:

    Dill pickle alert~you know, I’ve only every gotten that vinegar/dill pickle note once, and it was in Liaisons Dangereuse from By Kilian. It doesn’t keep me from wearing DL, however, as I appreciate a bit o’ pickle in my rosy jam (borrowing from Tania Sanchez here).

  • violetnoir says:

    Ooh, Knize Ten does not work for me, either, March, so it’s great to know about Sec.

    Oh the one that got away…I remember some years ago sitting in a darkened movie theatre and smelling something…wonderful! I don’t remember the movie, but I do remember that tingling sensation of smelling something that was absolutely amazing!

    The movie ended, the credits rolled, the lights came up, I turned around to locate the person wearing that gorgeous mystery fragrance and…Well, you know how the story ends. He/she was nowhere to be found. ((((Sigh!)))

    Love ya, babe!

    • March says:

      I am the *worst* public stalker, just ask my kids. Of course, my mere existence is an embarrassment, but when I start hound-dogging and hassling total strangers about their perfume, well, the camel’s back is broken.

      The mystery scent. Wonder if you will ever smell it again? FWIW my stalker scents almost always turn out to be things I don’t like on me (J’Adore and Michael Kors.)

  • Francesca says:

    Wow, I just spritzed a little KT on the back of my hand and it completely obliterated the Bel Respiro I applied fairly generously only an hour ago. I do like it, though. Glad I found my sample.

    • March says:

      Yup, I think Ten would eat Bel Respiro for lunch. Be sure to wave your hand under Someone’s Nose…

      • Francesca says:

        he’s just about to come to my office to take me out for a Jacques Torres sorbet–we shall see.

  • Vasily says:

    I purchased my bottle of Knize Ten about a year ago from Colonial Drug in Cambridge, Mass.:

  • Elle says:

    This was the signature scent of one of my fave professors. Fantastic scent and I *love* wearing incense in summer, but don’t think I could wear this w/out feeling like I should have on a plaid tie – his daughter made them and, good father that he was, he dutifully always wore them.

    • March says:

      Lord, he wore those ties? Bless his heart. My 15YO has just fallen in love with Old Spice, btw, which I find very funny. But it’s not *sexy* to me because it’s Eau Dad.

  • Louise says:

    I haven’t heard of Sec, but sounds worth sniffing, though lavender always frightens me. I must also re-try 10-leathers are tricky for me, and I may have not quite been ready when I first gave it a spin.

    I like my incenses in the heat, too-today’s first scent if Tauer Incense Rose-the citrus in it stays strong on me and lifts the deep incense to summer wearability.

    • March says:

      Incense Rose smells sooooo good on you, and the sillage is amazing. The Sec, as we discovered, is too lavender 🙁

  • EileenS says:

    You would go find another incense scent for me to covet, you evil enabler, you! I’ve been trying to tell myself that I have plenty of incense for now and then *bam!* – perfume lust is triggered..

    I’ve been enjoying YSL Nu lately as a lighter incense scent in the hot weather, along with Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s essence oil Sacred. These don’t blast sillage from my overheated self, so all those other overheated souls around me don’t have to live through my scent choices.

    • March says:

      Har har — there is *never* enough incense. I suppose, if I had to pick the one note that dominates my desires and my scent collection, it would be incense. And you’ve reminded me I should dig up my ugly little disk of Nu, I think it’s hiding in a drawer. Great scent.

  • Melissa says:

    As much as I have heard about Knize Ten, I’ve never tried it, and Sec has never even made it onto my radar. As for the former, I don’t think that I have ever detected a pickle note from a leather scent, but some of them are just rough and migraine-inducing for me.

    Sec sounds very tempting though. I agree that incense scents can be great in the summer, but I forget to reach for them. Probably a result of cold weather overdosing. When spring (or what passed for it, given the weird weather here) rolled around this year, I absolutely craved florals, which was odd for me. But my desires have re-balanced a bit, so maybe I will reach for my Avignon decant when the temperature breaks 90 later this week.

    • March says:

      You and Louise and your floral kick. Y’all are scaring me. Should I be digging for pods in the yard?

      Well, I can hook you up with some Sec next time I see you. I couldn’t find my sample of Ten, I wonder if I gave it to someone with more appreciation than I had? I’ll keep looking… so it’s finally going to get warm? I’m enjoying these few days while they last, then.

  • dinazad says:

    I love Ten – I accidentally smashed a vial on the bathroom floor some time ago and wanted to marry my bathroom for the next week or so, the drydown was that awesome. But I’ve wanted Sec for much longer than that. It smells like an elegantly handsome, educated, well-read and well-dressed gentleman who turns out to be an ecclesiastical grey eminence and spy for the Vatican (one of the good guys this time, unlike the gents in the latest churchy conspiration novels)or something of the kind…. It smells classy. Love it. Now to try Knize Forest and Knize Two…..

    • March says:

      That’s a wonderful description of Sec. I wish I could have found a better list of notes; what I have sounds pretty threadbare and gives the impression of something pedestrian, which it’s not.

      Forest, Two and Her (or whatever it’s called) I know I tried but apparently weren’t too memorable. One of them (forest?) was very barber-shop, and the ladies’ didn’t hold a candle to the others.

  • Francesca says:

    Knize Ten was always featured in those fabulous old Casswell-Massey catalogues, when their lamented Park Avenue shop carried everything *and* the kitchen sink,fragrance-wise (Valentina’s My Own???) and as a kid I always wondered what it was like. Many years later, I read LT’s rave and decided to get a sample. I liked it a lot. Alas, my husband did not, and I got an eyeroll and a horrible face from my perfume guru at work. I have to find my sample and wear it.

    Sec sounds wonderful. I love G & T notes in fragrance, and all the rest of it sounds pretty good, too.

    I love incense; haven’t been wearing them lately because they just seem too wintery to me, though I did spritz on Kyoto the other day, since it seemed perfect for “will it ever stop raining and get warm already?”

    LOL on virtual-reality cathedral. What’s not to love?

    • March says:

      That Caswell store sounds wonderful… sigh. What fun that would have been to wander around in. And that’s funny about Ten and our discerning friend. Sec would definitely be worth the try.

      I love a virtual reality cathedral, but it’s all in the abstract for me. Apparently some folks who’ve lived the reality are a little creeped out by wearing very churchy-smelling scents.

      • Francesca says:

        Well, you know my religious persuasion; we’re all about teh incense 😉

        • March says:

          I *think* it’s mostly the lapsed Catholics complaining, right? Glad I don’t have any negative incense associations!

          • Joe says:

            There’s not a Roman Catholic bone left in my Polish-Italian body, but I don’t really get PTSD flashbacks from Avignon or anything. 😀

  • Silvia says:

    What a timely review !!! Going to Vienna tomorrow for 4 days and planning to visit the Knitze shop. Happy to buy whatever you wish and hand it over to Patty in London. Just let me know.

    • dinazad says:

      Definitely do visit “Le Parfum” just beside St. Peter’s church off the Graben. Their selection of scents is awesome! And just around the corner, at the back of the church, is a small shop called “Schokoladekönig”. One of the prettiest shops ever! Used to be a button shop and now sells handmade chocolate. And chocolate buttons. You’ll miss out if you don’t see it! On the left side of the Stephansdom (when you’re facing it) is a small wine shop which sells a selection of scents based on vine blossoms – very unusual…. Oh, and skip “Demel”. I have no idea why this coffeehouse is so famous, but it’s definitely not because of the quality of its cakes……

      • Silvia says:

        Wonderful tips, you are super kind xxx. It looks like we’ll have 4 days of solid rain so will need plenty of shops to find refuge and food is my other passion after perfume.

    • March says:

      Hey, thanks so much! I think I am all set up with Sec for the immediate future (you should see the decant!) but I appreciate the offer. See Dinazad’s note below… I vote for a visit to the glorious Meinl food store near Knize (to your right as you face Knize). When I was there, there was another perfume store almost next door to Knize, with some unusual stuff, and TWO great perfume stores immediately across the Graben.

      • Silvia says:

        Oh, no problem at all, love running perfume errands. I have reviewed your original Viennese post from a couple of years ago and have made lots of notes, many thanks.
        I was last in Vienna in 1983, doing a school project on Roth’s Kapuziner Crypt; I remember vividly eating krapfen till I felt sick…

  • Joe says:

    Have not tried any Knize, but I still harbor a deep desire to visit Vienna ever since I toyed with going there for an advanced German course in college. Talk about one-that-got-away fantasies.

    I love incense but I’ve also gotten maybe a bit “burned out” on them (no pun intended, really). I bought FBs of Avignon and Wahr-zah-zahtt a few months back and have barely taken five sprays out of either of them. I may try them in some heat this summer, just to be masochistic, but I fear my love may need to wait until a cold snap in November before it’s rekindled.

    • March says:

      Vienna fan girl here. Our trip was totally spontaneous and driven pretty much solely by the fact that my friend and I got super-cheap nonstop tickets from D.C. I knew nothing about Vienna. It was glorious — interesting cultural stuff, very walkable city (important to me personally, I love to walk), easy public transportation, excellent food. Two thumbs up. We went in October during sturm season and the weather was gorgeous.

    • March says:

      Whoops, hit reply too fast. You too on the incense, eh? I thought my incense love would never wane, but I know exactly how you feel. I think if you lay off it will get better. You know, I still can’t spell Ourzazate…. I wonder if that’s right? Guessing.

  • tmp00 says:

    I think there’s quite a Miel de Bois note to Knize Ten; I’m surprised that so many love Knize but recoil from MdeB

    • March says:

      Really?!?! That honey/furry thing? It would make sense, there are supposed to be florals in there with the castoreum and ambergris, or whatever that skanky base is…

    • Shelley says:

      Hmmm. I need to try again. I remember Knize Ten as a straight up leather…nothing particularly skanky in the drydown. Or warm. Or anything different from the leather it starts as…just hide. Yes, I know, leather isn’t a smell of hide, it’s a smell to conceal the hide…but it’s the thing I now know as the strap of leather.

      • Shelley says:

        Well, apparently Shelley 1 needs to talk to Shelley 2. Yes, pretty straight up leather…but what do you know, it morphed into something I’d call flowery. Pretty in an [ack!] old fashioned sort of way…the inside of my aunt’s little used “nice” handbag. Not the bottom; the whiff upon opening before you go scrounging around.

        I hereby resolve to never post when I’ve had two hours sleep the night before. (As if that will stop me from sounding, erm, ignorant. 😉 )

        • March says:

          So, not the deep, dark, rich birchtar leather? More a flowery thing? That’s interesting. I think I remember LT saying it was more floral than he remembered…

          • Shelley says:

            Yeah…not. If it were deep dark birch tar, I’d be huffing like a glue addict. Definitely floral, in the midrange. Are you thinking there may have been a tweaking? Man, I’d love to live around the corner. “Hey, March, you got a cup of sugar? And here’s my Knize Ten…take a hit on it, and tell me if it smells like yours.” 🙂

  • Musette says:

    You want to try it when it’s 90? C’mon down/over here. It’s plenty 90+!

    I was abashed to find that I, lover of so many leathers, do not love Knize Ten. I felt the veriest freak for, as you say, EVERYBODY loves it. Sec(heh! I typed ‘sex’ first. ya. okay)….anyway SEC sounds interesting. I love Passage d’Enfer and you’re right, this does sound similar.

    We just had a freak windstorm here and it dropped about 30 degrees (not joking). I was dithering about what to wear, post-shower/pre-bed….I think I will wear Passage just cuz I can!


    • March says:

      I remember that really intense weather when I lived in Missouri — the speed at which it could change never ceased to amaze me. I’m feeling a little better about my Ten loser-dom, it looks like some others feel the same!

      • Musette says:

        Hot weather Update: do you remember the scene where the alien ship comes out of that cloud over the Brooklyn Bridge in ‘Independence Day’? Well, that’s the sort of cloud (minus the ship) that we had last night, heralding the windstorm. Scary enough that folks all up and down the street came out of their homes to see what the fuss was about!

        Perfume/Heat Update:

        Passage d’Enfer ROCKS in the heat and humidity.

        I had no idea.



        • March says:

          Ugh, I hate those windstorms. And yes, the heat does pretty amazing things to Passage. Brings out the lily on my skin, and I am not even a huge lily fan. I always forget what a great scent that is until I put it on. My first L’Artisan, btw.

          • Musette says:

            I love those windstorms, provided they don’t come with property damage and/or tornadoes. This one brought much-needed relief, though it was sort of scary.

            Lily sneaked up on me in the weirdest place – Lys Mediterranee! I got a lovely samp from the lovely Rex and decided ‘wth’ and spritzed it on.

            Instant adoration. Prior to that I don’t think I would’ve known a lily scent if it hit me on the nose. The overblown-minimalist copy (only FM can get away with those El Bulli-like hooters, btw) calls it ‘radiant’.

            I concur.


            ps. I said all that to say that now that I know Pd’E has lily in it I will have to spritz again, see if I can discern it.