Aromatics Elixir fragrance notes

  • Head

    • Bergamot, Galbanum, rose, chamomile, Coriander, Rosewood
  • Heart

    • jasmine, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, Carnation, Tuberose, Orris
  • Base

    • patchouli, musk, amber, sandalwood, Vetiver, Civet, Oakmoss, Cistus

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Latest Reviews of Aromatics Elixir

Sometimes I love this, but usually I only like it. The chamomile may just be too much for me, as there are few instances where I like chamomile in perfume (Fougere Royale is one). Leaving that note aside (if possible), this is a masterful embellishment of the Chypre structure. Specifically the florals in the heart are just abstract enough to not be distracting, but not too abstract as to become vague. The oakmoss of the base is in great condition in the current formulation, and is accompanied by a showstopping patchouli. On days when I do go for it, I use one spray very far from my face (wrist, or even better on a long scarf). It manages to be enormous, but is still legible and not too opaque.
25th March 2023
The opening of this fragrance may be challenging for those who are accustomed to "modern" scents, but the drydown is fantastic. It features a damp, earthy, and slightly dark patchouli aroma, similar to other modern fragrances such as Diptyque's Tempo and several other patchouli-dominant scents. I can see why this fragrance has stood the test of time. Although the aldehydes and ylang-ylang in the opening can be intense, the scent eventually settles into the same patchouli fragrance that many other modern fragrances have. There is a clean and green element that still shines through despite the occasional feeling of dampness and dirtiness.

Performance is quite good, although I cannot speak to any reformulations or changes. I am testing from an 8ml decant in 2022.
29th July 2022

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.

8th March 2022
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.
23rd February 2022
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....
11th November 2021
A very strong floral and oriental fragrance. So vintage. Good.
9th November 2018
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
17th September 2018
This is extraordinary stuff. I'm learning that chypres fascinate me, and as far as I can tell AE is a true test of your love for the genre: it's a chypre in the challenging, confrontational, old-fashioned school. It opens with a powerful blast of funk mostly composed of old-fashioned bitter herbs, but there's just enough of something friendlier in there to balance it on the line between repellent and intriguing. When I tested the EDT version the confrontational bizarrity evaporated far too quickly and left a base of wanly polite florals behind; where others might have felt relieved by that, I found myself wishing it hadn't rolled over and apologised. The EDP, however, does exactly what I hoped - it reeks and reeks and does not quit, and I still cannot tell for one moment whether I actually think it smells nice or not. Which absolutely rivets me to it. As it wears on, every once in a while the florals try to elbow their way to the fore but are promptly squashed again by that unholy top end; it's like watching a civil war among opposing factions of wood faeries, and I'm hooked. On the wishlist.
14th December 2017
My kindergarten teacher wore this. 36 years ago. Yes, AE is that unforgettable. So, I tracked down her signature scent, intending to make it my fabulous signature, too. Wrong. I wore it for about 6 months, but this is way too strong on me ... a little goes a long, long way. Too loud to pull out and describe nuances, when a simple "no" will do just fine.
9th September 2017
Call it a "Celebration of Life" if you want, but a wake is still a sad occasion. You've lost someone you love. It's especially heart-breaking when it is too soon.

At my friend Luke's wake, we were stunned, always assuming that he would join the rest of us into middle age and the autumn years before our final resting stop. We all spoke, cried and ate. A final group hug, however, evolved into something from a comedy. "Uh, not to be weird, but somebody smells good, really good," said one of the hugging mourners. To solve the mystery, we then proceeded to sniff each other, in public, at a wake.

"My God, what are you doing?" someone asked, seeing the bizarre sniff-fest scene. "I know it looks weird, but SMELL her-- yum!" One by one, the other mourners did just that. Sniffed me, and then said "You're right!" It was then that Luke's partner said "This is so pervy and inappropriate-- Luke would have loved it!" We all broke up in laughter because it was true. Luke was a free spirit who had little regard for stuffy conventions.

Thank you, Aromatics Elixir.
20th March 2017
This has one of those unique openings - chamomille tea, hints of bergamot, and a darkish rich rose with a good lashing of bitterness courtesy of the dyad of coriander and of an oakmoss, which in the days of pre-IFRA diktats was the real thing - with a few olfactoric brushstrokes a masterful - or mstresful - opening is created. Unmistakbale.

In the drydown we are talking floral business, which infuses the darker, harsh and intense opening notes with white florals - I get mainly lily-of-the-valley and a sweetish ylang-ylang, with jasmine and a very discrete carnation also present. The base adds a darkish patchouli that is not too harsh with touches of sandalwood, and it ends on a warm and well rounded herbacious woody-floral note.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and nine hours of longevity in my skin

The original version is a complex and formidable classic, an iconic scent for cooler evenings, and nowadays it is still very respectable indeed. 3.75/5.
7th January 2017