It’s incredible that a company known for its no-frills skincare put out such a complicated and witchy brew, but I am so grateful that they did. Created by Barnard Chant in 1975, it blazed a trail of dark patchouli, bitter herbs, rose, resins, and moss through the perfume world, setting itself in direct opposition to the clean, sporty fragrances that followed soon after but also breaking ties with the slightly mannered feel of green floral chypres of the fifties and sixties. It’s almost impossible to describe accurately, but then again, I really don’t have to, do I? Everyone knows this smell. Aromatics Elixir feels like something a pagan goddess would wear as she commands the elements from her forest. It lives in the small, private space between my clavicle and my sweater, because I am careful to apply this potent juice as I would a precious extract – sprayed lightly onto my fingertips and then pressed gently onto my flesh. Out of all the perfumes I own and wear, this is the one that says ‘Mother’ to me most strongly. It makes me feel both tender and fierce.
Despite its unfortunate name, this is a complex and quality creation.
Barbara Herman deemed it a "green chypre, the scent of dried pressed roses, with coriander and carnation over a warm animalic base."
This is totally accurate. I am reminded of Lalique's PERLES and CORIANDRE. The potpourri effect of the roses is dead center, surrounded by the dried spices. It is also quite green with a woody, mossy base, one of the best rose chypres I've come across.
Turin gave it 5 stars, called it a woody floral, but praised its "bold, herbaceous-patchouli-floral" effect, which reminded him of Cabochard and Cinnabar (I don't get this reference at all). He also highlighted its "bright, fresh, herbaceous and medicinal" qualities and deemed it a "masterpiece."
To find both Herman and Turin agreeing wholeheartedly on a scent is a rarity and this one does deserve it. The name does not do justice to the scent, but it is still one of the best dry rose chypres available.
First Edit adds the following notes:
Top notes: Bergamot, Coriander, Rosewood, Palmarosa
Heart notes: Rose de Mai, Jasmine, Carnation, Ylang, Tuberose, Orris
Base notes: Patchouli, Vetiver, Civet, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Cistus, Musk
03rd August, 2014 (last edited: 04th August, 2014)
Truth in advertising: Aromatics Elixir starts out green and floral with a bracing dose of aromatics adding their rasping accent to the principal accord. It grows steadily more floral as it develops, but the green and aromatic notes persist as counterpoint behind the flowers.
The whole composition remains crisp and dry, with a clean yet earthy “outdoors” quality that reminds me of freshly cut hay. A sharp, almost peppery wood and leather accord in the foundation adds depth without threatening the balance with excessive sweetness. Nice stuff, and no wonder that its managed to survive for decades.
Clinique - Aromatics Elixer
This is more like an anti-Elixer that tries to diminish the human vitality, and smells as dry and musty as half-hardened cement out of a cement-mixer, or an old gravel-road on a very hot day with no whiff of wind. This perfume misses refinement, juice and good quality natural materials. It smells strangely old and 'swollen' - like it has been cut open, striped from its vital organs and stuffed full with wadding before being sutured; there is no airiness, and nothing that makes it a bit cheerful. Good stuff to accentuate a bad day at the office or to wear on a funeral - it acts dull, with no living movement in sight. This perfume 'tastes' like a Californian pinot noir-wine instead of one out of Bourgogne - with its unrivaled velvety finesse and roundeur. Let Aromatics Elixer stay where it belongs...
complex and mysterious
Most amazing and complex unique fragrance, I remember my mom and my gram wearing it, so when I started working for Clinique I new it had to be mine, I first misted it directly on my skin, and it was all wrong, I discovered that if I used the body products it was even more amazing then I remembered, soft and powdery yet rich spicy and floral all at the same time.
Pros: amazing and unique
Cons: needs to be layered"