For Dionne, Anne Klein II (1986) was an integral part of her journey into perfume and also of growing into her skin. As we shared emails about the fragrance and as I read her moving story, I learned that Dionne loved incense and woods. She said, “I discovered that even though many florals go sour on my skin, incense and iris and woodsy notes smelled wonderful.” It was then clear why Anne Klein II with its sumptuous blend of patchouli, sandalwood and dark smoky notes would fit Dionne’s perfume personality. Although it was a bit intimidating to find anything approximating such a special and meaningful fragrance, I decided to plunge right into it.
By the time I tried Anne Klein II, it was already off the market, but it seemed so unusual–dark, sultry, but a bit austere too–that I held onto my sample. As I learned more about it, I became even more intrigued. Perfumer Yves Tanguy authored Anne Klein II, but he was also responsible for the bewitching Lancôme Magie Noire, groundbreaking Aramis New West for Her, and my absolute favorite, Jacomo Silences. Some of Tanguy’s fragrances were done in collaboration with other perfumers, but when I smell Anne Klein II, I get the lush darkness of Magie Noire and the wistful green freshness of Silences. It is like a pleasant moment of recognition when you see a familiar face in the crowd.
The green notes of Anne Klein II are its distinctive feature; juicy and dark, they span the whole range from sliced green peppers to crushed leaves. The green apple note of marigold adds a heavy sweet accent, which makes me think of sticky buds that appear on maple trees in springtime. Give the fragrance some time, and you are rewarded by the deliciously dark layer of patchouli, vanilla, and smoky woods. The fruity warmth of ylang ylang and jasmine gives Anne Klein II its appealing retro flair.
So, a fragrance that would satisfy a lover of Anne Klein II would have to combine the same dazzling green with the seductive richness of vanilla, patchouli, and sandalwood. And a bit of oakmoss, if you must have it all. Well, it’s a tall order in our IFRA-regulated, oakmoss-free world. One idea I would like to suggest to Dionne is Calvin Klein Obsession, a bombshell oriental that has a gorgeous green note. Another is Must de Cartier, which is a sibling of both Guerlain Shalimar and Obsession. Must de Cartier lacks the mossy chill of Anne Klein II, and it is much richer and sweeter all around.
As I was wearing Anne Klein II and matching it to various orientals in my collection, I hit upon Guerlain Angelique Noire. Comparing this fairly streamlined composition to the voluptuous Anne Klein II, I nevertheless found that it satisfied some of my cravings. Angelique Noire has a splendid blend of amber and wood at its core, with the bright green angelica and pepper ornamenting the top notes. It’s modern and transparent, but those who love the contrast of green leaves and vanilla scented woods should try it. Finally, if you want a perfume with the same syrupy richness as Anne Klein II, then Magie Noire is a good choice. It may be more animalic and less floral, but this Lancôme can make a splash even in its post-reformulated state.
Anne Klein II includes notes of bergamot, galbanum, marigold/tagetes, peach, lemon, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, carnation, iris root, vanilla, musk, patchouli, benzoin, and civet. Discontinued and very difficult to find, alas.
Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.