Calvin Klein – Downtown

Calvin Klein Downtown was developed to “capture the essence of the confident woman.” Fronted by actress Rooney Mara in a commercial produced by David Fincher, Downtown focuses on the younger (ages 25 to 35) female demographic as an aspirational, edgy, and cool scent.

Those who “see downtown as the place they wish to be” will enjoy this perfume. It has been many years since Calvin Klein has been able to bottle edgy youthfulness, which Downtown manages to do nicely.

Fragrance Overview

  • Brand: Calvin Klein
  • Fragrance: Calvin Klein Downtown
  • Release: 2013
  • Gender: Women
  • Perfumer: Ann Gottlieb of Givaudan

Fragrance Notes

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, Italian lemon, Pear, plum, Tunisian neroli.
  • Heart Notes: Violet leaf, pink pepper, Gardenia.
  • Base Notes: Incense, musk, vetiver, Texas cedar.

What Does Calvin Klein Downtown Smell Like?

Downtown is marketed as a woody floral scent, although several of the top notes could categorize the perfume as more edible. The opening notes represent sweet fruit thanks to the bergamot, pear, and plum; but the fruit smells are nicely cut through by aquatic notes that keep the perfume from being overly sweet.

Early in the scent is a persistent yet mild undertone of cotton candy, which stops just short of smelling reminiscent of pear shampoo.

The heart notes are the typical nondescript florals with a hint of pink pepper and plum. These notes do not really define the fragrance and are considered more filler than functional.

The base delivers a musky, pale, and spicy finish. The combination of velvet musk, muted woods, and flowers continue to warm with longer wear as the sweetness evaporates.

How Long Does Calvin Klein Downtown Last?

Many find the perfume to be fairly quiet after an hour, with heavy reapplications needed to get some sense of the later dry down. Of course, the staying power of many fragrances depends on your body chemistry.

When Should You Wear It?

Downtown is marketed as a woody musk floral fragrance, the likes of which are typically worn in the fall and winter. However, we recommend wearing this gorgeous scent throughout spring, summer, and into fall. 

The top note scents evoke thoughts of warmer weather with flowers in bloom while the heavier pepper base reminds one of the leaves changing. The combination of floral and woody tones make this a perfect transitional perfume to take you from summer to fall. 

Where Should You Wear It?

Downtown! The goal of this perfume is to evoke cool-girl vibes as you go about your daily routine.

But this really is one of those versatile fragrances that could be worn daily to work, on dates, out at night, or even to a ball or gala. It’s diverse enough for regular use but at an affordable price compared to the more upscale, niche exclusives found at Saks or Barneys.

Presentation and Value for Money

Downtown is available in either a 30, 50, or 90ML bottle, as a 10ML rollerball for travel, and in a 250ML Body Mist. With matching bath and body products, price almost doesn’t matter as there are a wonderful variety of price points.

The packaging is rather basic for a fragrance attempting to be aspirational. The bottle is a simple cylinder with light pink accents to highlight the flowery aspect of this fragrance. 

However, the package does not support the downtown aspect of the marketing strategy, as it makes me think more about being in a field than a concrete jungle. The bottom of the bottle has a round and feminine shape to it that looks like an effort to reinforce that this is a woman’s perfume — or maybe it’s a nod to the pear scent in the perfume.

The shiny silver cap is topped with an eye-catching jewel plaque that helps round out the appeal to the female consumer. The invisible dip tube from the pump is a high-end detail, instead of seeing a clunky stick in the middle of the juice.

The secondary packaging is grounded by deep pinks underneath white text that is set in a slim, feminine font.

The $52 price tag for a 90ML bottle is an absolute steal. While it takes re-application to remain fragrant after an hour, you can easily carry the $15 10ML rollerball in your purse for random touch-ups.

The 30ML is priced at around $30 and the 50ML costs around $37. For this reason, the best value is the 90ML where you are getting much more for your money.

The Bottom Line

Downtown is a fresh perfume for younger consumers who are looking for something fruity. While it may be too sweet for some, the subtle pepper notes could make it the perfect compliment for others.

At a very reasonable price point, this is a great entry-level signature scent for younger consumers. With a $15 rollerball, consumers can make a small investment to test out the fragrance on their skin.

The fragrance is not terribly unusual or interesting and may not meet the super aspirational claim, but someone who wants to smell nice might find that this fragrance is just what they need.