Perfume Directory

Aromatics Elixir (1971)
by Clinique

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Aromatics Elixir information

Year of Launch1971
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 424 votes)

People and companies

HouseClinique
PerfumerBernard Chant
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Aromatics Elixir

Aromatics Elixir is a feminine perfume by Clinique. The scent was launched in 1971 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Bernard Chant

Reviews of Aromatics Elixir

A very strong floral and oriental fragrance. So vintage. Good.
09th November, 2018
Aromatics Elixir (1971) spearheaded a new house for Estée Lauder, the third since the company itself launched in 1946 and appeared with Youth Dew perfume in 1953, following the male-only Aramis house in 1965, created after the 1964 launch of Aramis cologne 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 balsamic directions respectively. Aromatics Elixir was considered a non-conformist fragrance for women, with sharp green opening notes, a rosy heart, 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, pushing the art of the decidedly-French chypre category in a bold, loud, clean and "American" direction which would also help set the pace of the 70's in women's perfume design. Chanel was already to go with this new direction too, launching the leathery galbanum-lead green rose chypre called No. 19 (1971), but stateside, Aromatics Elixir was easier and a bit more affordable to come across, inspiring competitors like Revlon Charlie (1973) and Halston (1975). Estée Lauder itself would riff off of the Clinique-labelled Aromatics Elixer too, not once but twice: Private Collection (1973) would go in a much soapier and even greener direction, while the exclusively-male Aramis line would see Aromatics Elixer perfumer Bernard Chant, who was also responsible for the original Aramis, retool his own work to make Aramis 900 (1973), which is for all intents a dialed-down and more-hespiridic Aromatics Elixir "for men". Estée Lauder was infamous for retooling its successful feminines or unused feminine formulas as masculines but renaming them to sound unique all throughout the 70's into the 80's but this is where it started. Unsurprisingly, Aramis 900 and Clinique Aromatics Elixir smell pretty close side by side, and both are wearable by either sex in the 21st century, but Aromatics Elixir edges out it's "masculine" redressing in power and complexity.

The fragrance opens up with bitter bergamot, galbanum, and a soft chamomile counter-balance that screams out of the sprayer super green and citric before slamming on it's brakes. The 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 lush floral white soap. Tuberose is here but not in the thermonuclear 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 pathcouli, vetiver, and cistus labadanum keep Aromatics Elixer in the green/gold olfactory color palette, like a soapier and rosier precursor to the much-later Lauder for Men (1985), which also had a green/gold hue to my nose. Maybe in the 1970's this was considered feminine, when compared to all the deep herbal mossy leathers and fougère accords circulating, but in the modern context, this is just a beautiful but quite serious floral green perfume with an office-safe soapiness suitable for anyone who loves a clean outdoorsy fresh trail. 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 where this first stalked the earth. Longevity is good, and silliage is notoriously 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. The soapiness of this really sets Aromatics Elixir apart from many floral green chypres of the decade, as many focused on leathery finishes, spiced fruit tops, or dry pencil-shaving bases stuffed with bitter oakmoss compounds.

Aromatics Elixir really only survives today because of its cult following, and has had many limited edition repackagings 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, since it seems more men these days are talking about Aromatics Elixir in mainstream perfume circles than women, with the latter relegating this to "grandma scent" because in the 21st century, it's very well possible that somebody's grandmother wore this. Unlike the really old stuff from the beginning of the 20th century which now rides back into the limelight on a wave of retro-chic hipsters, Aromatics Elixir is too old to be cool, and not old enough to be cool again, making it's cult of fans all the more appreciated as many others of it's generation have become endangered species or outright extinct altogether in discontinuation. 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 and favorite tie. 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.
17th September, 2018
Artemis, hunting in the forest, lithe and alert, fleet-footing over moss and dry ferns, draws an arrow from her quiver. There is a soft-sharp contrast in Aromatics Elixir that reminds me of woods in winter, with dry leaves crackling underfoot, and under the leaves a pungent, truffley soil is sleeping. Yet there is such refinement in the composition, and such a bright aura of powder and light, that AE isn't worn by the woman kicking through the leaves, but the one in tailored tweed in a first class carriage on a train passing by, looking out the window at the setting sun strobing through the trees.
13th August, 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.
09th September, 2017 (last edited: 11th 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

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