Aromatics Elixir 
Clinique (1971)

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Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

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About Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Bernard Chant

Aromatics Elixir is a women's perfume launched in 1971 by Clinique

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

There are 111 reviews of Aromatics Elixir by Clinique.

Aromatic Elixir is among the legendary fragrances of the 20th century: instantly recognizable, profoundly polarizing, but for the right person, simultaneously intoxicating and grounding (if that somehow is possible).

It seems that more men might be gravitating to this beauty, perhaps since the mainstream women under the age of 35 are terrified of anything that isn't sweet, edible, light, and fresh. AE is none of these: it makes its presence known, shows a depth that it is rarely found even in the most flossy of current niche fragrances, and has qualities that immediately make the wearer feel wrapped up and comforted (even if its over-application comes at the expense of the wearer's company). For this masterpiece of modern perfumery, a light hand is critical: sillage, projection, and longevity kicks the hineys of 98% of fragrances in existence.

AE is one of my all-time favorites, so forgive me if I gush, but from its very opening of aldehydes, chamomile and clary sage, you immediately know that you are in for a ride, but thankfully, not a bumpy ride. Its opening deceives the wearer into think this might wear a bit lighter, but give it about fifteen minutes and the florals, patchouli, woods, and moss just bloom (Gucci has NOTHING on this kind of "bloom."). The florals are evident but not foofy or feminine, they are rather narcotic and yellow. Carnation and rose are indeed most evident, but ylang-ylang is quite apparent as well, lending a ripe floral quality that makes this stage of AE more unisex than feminine.

However, it is the base that anchors it all which makes this so memorable. It is the hallmark of AE, and merely listing the notes does not do it any justice, it must just be experienced to understand. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, after all, and here it is just its own entity, with no one element yelling over any other. It's a harmonious chorus.

I must stress again that this is not for the faint of heart, and it may seem like more of a "dare" for someone and a horror story for others. Alas, time shapes tastes, and unfortunately tastes in scent have really gone in a less dynamic and complex direction, as evidenced in the many designers saturating the market with insipid or even offensive bilge containing overdoses of tonka, ambroxan, and iso e super. Older designers such as these, even reformulated, are something to relish while still in production, because the general public isn't really showing much of a shift back to these kinds of fragrances any time soon. Perhaps the niche crowd or those more passionate about fragrance, but I am afraid to say, something like AE's days are numbered. Grab bottles while you can. I just bought another (a 100ml) for spare change at one of the Lord & Taylor locations going out of business here in the northeast.

God I love Aromatic Elixir. See also: Aramis 900, its lighter, rosier sibling that was marketed to men, which is also phenomenal. Bernard Chant = utter genius.


Wearing this for the first time 2 decades ago I was swept of my feet by this deep and somewhat austere symphony of botanical delights, there's nothing that I've tried since that has topped this.

I also want to note that the "original" Aromatics Elixir came in a bark brown same shaped bottle. The scent was ever so different, maybe softer, creamer until the FDA changed the fluorocarbon rules....

A very strong floral and oriental fragrance. So vintage. Good.

Aromatics Elixir (1971) spearheaded a new house for Estée Lauder, the third since the company itself launched in 1946 and appeared with Estée Lauder Youth Dew (1953), following the male-only Aramis house in 1965, created after the 1964 launch of Aramis by Estée Lauder (1965) proved a smash success. The house of Clinique formed three years prior to the release of Aromatics Elixir, which itself felt like both a sequel to Estée Lauder Youth Dew and Estée Lauder Azurée (1969), which both took the floral chypre in animalic oriental and green leathery directions respectively. Aromatics Elixir was considered a non-conformist fragrance for women with sharp green opening notes, and a soapy clean finish that was miles away from the rich spicy orientals, or dusty tame florals women came to consider as the standard fare for a lot of the 20th century. Chanel and YSL was already to go with this new direction too, but stateside Aromatics Elixir was easier and a bit more affordable to come across. Estée Lauder itself would riff off of the Clinique-labelled Aromatics Elixir to make Aramis 900 (1973), which is for all intents a dialed-down and more-hesperidic Aromatics Elixir "for men". Estée Lauder via Chant and other perfumers was infamous for retooling its successful feminines as masculines but renaming them to sound unique all throughout the 70's into the 80's, but here it is super obvious. Unsurprisingly, Aramis 900 and Clinique Aromatics Elixir smell pretty close side by side, and both are wearable by any gender in the 21st century, but Aromatics Elixir edges out its "masculine" redressing in power and complexity.

The fragrance opens up with aldehydes, bergamot, galbanum, and a soft chamomile counter-balance that screams out of the sprayer super green and citric before slamming on its brakes. Rose is very quick to follow much like The Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose (1972), but rather than settling in with just that rose, Aromatics Elixir works in some jasmine indole, orris, muguet, and ylang-ylang, bringing to mind a vibe similar to Azurée. Tuberose is here but not in the amounts that it would be in the 1980's, letting the soapy white florals mix with the green top and create a vivid clean sparkle that dances on skin for hours and hours. The oakmoss bite expectant of a chypre is here, backed by a slight tinge of animalic civet, but not enough to steer it out of clean territory, while patchouli, vetiver, and labadanum keep the green/gold chypre color palette, like a soapier and rosier take on Azurée mixed with a dab of Youth Dew musk. There's nothing particularly woodsy about Aromatics Elixir, but wood notes in feminines outside of sandalwood pretty much died out after the 60's, so having something like a cedar note mixed in would have turned this right quick into a men's fragrance from the perspective of the conventions found in the decade. Longevity is good, and sillage is mighty like a lot of Estée Lauder classics, so be careful with application as a little goes longer than expected, especially when compared to it's softer-spoken brother, Aramis 900. Best use is spring through fall outdoors, but really anyone can wear this anywhere with the right application, as it it quite versatile, if old-fashioned by modern conventions.

Aromatics Elixir really only survives today because of its cult following, and has had many limited edition repackages reminiscent of Calvin Klein cK One (1994) and a more recently an explosion of flankers all trying to adapt a new skin over the aging framework of the stuff. Worn in the right company, anyone will definitely stand out in a crowd with the electrifying opening and fresh, clean dry down, without the fear of heavy animalics making one seem as they're trying too hard for attention or affection. I don't know if it "goes far beyond the role of perfume" as it's advertisement states, but it is a certain kind of confidence bottled up for enjoyment, not a bravado or gung-ho confidence, but like a clean suit or dress and favorite tie or necklace. Aromatics Elixir is like a security blanket disguised as a powerhouse, because it moves in with sharp angular opening notes before becoming something comfortable and poised, with a sharp bite in the finish that never lets you forget that there's power being held back, which is saying a lot for something originally spun at the "fairer" sex, but such is the wonderful dynamic interplay that is the debut fragrance from Clinique. Simply a classic that must be tried, Aromatics Elixir is another wonderful example of that old former "Lauder DNA" where everything had this green, gloriously resplendent, and luxurious feel within the chypre context. This one deals more with soapy accords, oakmoss, and rose more than some others of this era, but is equal to just about all the old Lauder family fragrances by Bernard Chant and the gang. Thumbs up

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