Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

Total Reviews: 105
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
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
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.
07th January, 2017
Either u love it or hate it. This scent is not for everyone. I love it because it's different. It's powerful strong a little goes a long way trust me. A little spray here an there that's all u need. A scent that calms down to a wave of spice an musk luxuriousness that lasts. I call this my fall/winter fragrance but I wear this anytime of the year. It's a "dare to be different" kind of fragrance. I LOVE IT!!!
05th December, 2016
I remember this one from my childhood, because two of my older sisters wore it constantly – they let me try it, and I loved how it smelled on them and I guess because of that I still think of it as a “grown-up” perfume, even though I am a grown-up (mostly!) now myself. You know when you run in to somebody you really like – as a friend, not romantically – whom you haven’t seen in ages, and you talk and talk and talk and you find yourself thinking “I really like this person, they’re lovely, why did we lose touch?” That is how I feel about this perfume. Many, many, many, uggghhhhh MANY moons ago, I think I OD’d on this. I came across my two little miniature bottles of Aromatics Elixir (gifts with purchase from a long time ago) buried in my drawer, each with maybe a teaspoon of juice left in them, the dear little things, so I pulled them out and tried it again. They’ve each aged differently – the juice in one is much darker and has gone thick, almost like an oil, while the other is a bit lighter, but not as thick. I tried the darker one yesterday and the other one today, and while the darker one smells a bit sharp at opening, thankfully they smell much the same. I get the chamomile, the sandalwood, the incense and the jasmine straight up; herbal, woody, sweet – beautiful. It feels cool thanks to the oakmoss and clary sage, but warm as well because of the sandalwood and incense. It’s another one of those perfumes that could be too much because of all of the different notes, but it’s not, and that is obviously down to the skill of the person who created it. It’s smoky and sultry, spicy but also sweet, comfortable and familiar but surprising all at the same time. I’ll be wearing this, enjoying the spiciness, then it changes and I get a lovely waft of sweetness drifting up with the spice. For some reason, it makes me think of a long, slinky, yellow-gold silk dress, with a dramatic V-neck with vintage lace trim. I’ve never seen this dress before, but that’s what springs to mind. It’s a classy, feminine, almost old-worlde fragrance – I can’t help picturing a swarm of elegantly dressed women, circa 1940’s (complete with long strings of beads and those long cigarette holders), sitting around a table in a beautifully landscaped garden, enjoying an early champagne brunch. I’m thinking I’ll have to treat myself to a full bottle of this at some stage in the not too distant future. Welcome back, old friend – I’ve missed you.
17th August, 2016
Understandbly the love for this warranted. Even today it holds a mark high for a well constructed naturally fresh Camphorous Floral Oakmoss savon. Beats the hell out of the floral musk muck of today.

Better though is the younger Vintage Genny,similar and it's richer quality unpasteurized butterfat content. A little "dirtier clean"
15th July, 2016 (last edited: 21st March, 2018)
This scent is so classic, so beautiful.....but unfortunately it's off limits at my office, because a coworker hates it with a passion. LOL So, it's only for evenings out or at home, because it's a strong one that you either love or hate. I LOVE IT!
09th February, 2016 (last edited: 30th March, 2016)
Aromatics Elixir grabs your attention like a carmine trench coat.

Its rose - coriander - patchouli profile is unique and instantly recognisable and it still divides opinion today, 45 years after it was created. Many people are confounded by Aromatics Elixir and detest it; others appreciate the challenge wearing it poses; some find its strange beauty almost mystical.

Aromatics is a kind of Herm, a milestone that Parfumista's may encounter on their journey; the experience can be for some, like me, a rite of passage.

It is, without doubt, a perfume of huge significance; an outstanding achievement that's transcended its era to attain canonical status in the history of perfumery. But is it really a masterpiece?

For a work of art to be a masterpiece it should either be an utterly sublime rendition of a perfect (Platonic) form, or it must be a revolutionary tour de force capable of articulating a new type of beauty. Unfortunately Aromatics fails on both of these counts because a) the profile is still perfectible - it lacks a certain refinement, and b) its structure is derived from the chypre - and so it embodies no unique vision.

Consequently its very good indeed, but not a masterpiece.

07th February, 2016 (last edited: 08th February, 2016)
an herbal MONSTER...but a classic. Its not going to appeal to those who look to be appeased, right from the start. Its bitter, and very green and somewhat screechy, in the beginning. But like a lot of powerful herbal scents, it does wind down, while it shows off all that it brings to the table. Its primarily an oakmoss scent, smothered in, chamomile and dandelion and aldehydes.
24th November, 2015 (last edited: 09th February, 2018)
It's funny - I've never asked to smell Aromatics Elixir without the Clinique salespeople actively trying to discourage me from smelling it. I'm amazed it's survived this long. I can see why - it's a classic, dense, difficult mix of old fashioned smells that likely smells repulsive to those with more modern, mainstream taste.

So what does it smell like? A loud burst of sneezy white powder over vinegary clove and white flowers and soap. It's also got an "oriental" mix that's sort of like amber, but with openly poopy musk instead of vanilla. In terms of smell, it falls halfway between Coromandel and Bal A Versailles, but much cheaper.

And that's my real complaint: The concentration feels cheap. This could feel like a grand, expensive perfume with higher concentration of the base notes, but instead, it starts off ridiculously loud and fades very quickly, so it just doesn't stand up to the perfumes that clearly inspired it. Thumbs up just for being classic, widely available, and very much worth a sniff, but with the caveat that you can do better.
17th November, 2015 (last edited: 03rd January, 2016)

She is bold,with style to boot!both chic and chypre floral brings to mind a rebellious woman with extreme elegance,an icon with devastating sedeuction. ARPMATICS ELIXIR is a scent of mystery.evoke mystery with this exceptional scent inspired by the mysteriouse space between the terrestrial and the celestial. Tempting,Glamorous,Classic,Rich,Woody, Powerful,Sophisticated,Elegant and Mysterious like the women who choose to wear it.

This timeless scent created of top quality magnetic with aldehydes and chamomile notes toping,a heart of a passiononate bouquet floral like rose and ylang ylang and seduces with classic incense and depth of patchouli and oakmoss for a incredible scent with oompht and complexity.the dry down is interestingly irresistible.not for the faint of is best used for a femme fatale in a unforgettable winter evening.


Longevity?Great on my skin.

13th July, 2015
I always found AE attractive but also overwhelming for me to try it on my skin. Years after smelling it on a dear friend yesterday I came across a sample. I am wearing it 5 hours now and it is still very potent although nothing compared to the super heady opening. Everyone says that AE is a floral and/or green chypre. For me this is a sweet, floral with green undertones and a kind of dirtiness (or maybe this is the leather accord others talk about). This accord is the most staying impression I have of what I am wearing right now. The silage is really powerful and over-applying will give you and the people around you a headache. Longevity seems above average. I will keep on using my sample but I am not taken by AE. I am certainly glad that I tried it though. It is a must try for perfume lovers and although AE has lasted the test of time I do think that it is dated. Can sensuality be dated? Somehow, I think it can. This may be the holy grain for many but not for me.
21st March, 2015
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

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.
09th September, 2014
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)
Genre: Leather

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.
09th June, 2014
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...
28th May, 2014
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"

08th August, 2013
The perfume called me

When you can't stay away from a scent, there is often a good reason. The first time I smelled this in a store it stayed in my memory, and I knew I had to come back to it. The second time I knew that we had a connection. I showed it off to my friends, I was so excited about it. I ordered it online a few weeks later. I don't usually buy full bottles of perfume (samples or trial sizes are usually enough to satisfy me), but this was probably my first "full bottle" purchase for myself. It has a richness, depth, and personality that I haven't encountered since. Initially it always smells a little synthetic to me, which is the only thing that makes me hesitate about it, but that soon dissipates and I am left with a warmth and mystery that keeps on giving (and this scent has a LOT of staying power).

Anomie et ivoire wrote in her masterful review (below), "This wondrously notorious elixir is the seductive, independent woman with brains and heart in spades who got burned at the stake by the angry villagers. Witch hunt ... my search is over, though. This one chooses you."

I couldn't agree more.

30th May, 2013
If there were an umami of taste, this would have it. Like umami flavours, marmite, blue cheese, and miso, Aromatics Elixir is an acquired taste. Once acquired, it is absolutely addictive. It is a very refreshing change from all the candy sweetness of so many contemporary fragrances.

I first encountered AE in the 1990s during my L'Eau d'Issey years. I really did not get this fragrance then. Now with more life experience under my belt, this is one of my favourites. It somehow feels as though it is good for you, just as any elixir should.
24th February, 2013
I love green chypres: Nikki de St. Phalle, Jacomo Silences, Coriandre. I think I have met the greenest chypre I have ever encountered today - Aromatics Elixir. I'm enjoying it's density, it's twists and turns and longevity. Another one for my "to buy" list.
18th November, 2012 (last edited: 15th January, 2016)
Be careful, very, very, careful, when you uncork the mystery inside the bottle. The rep at the counter where I purchased mine said she can't stand it. But I had gone back so many times to resniff it, I couldn't understand what kept making me want to stick my nose on it. I don't do perfume, but I do body wash, which is what I purchased and so far the results have been fabulous. My husband loves it and it has a soft linger in my bathroom, that I enjoy. Whatever is in there, is like a genie in a bottle; you are either going to be horrified and jump back, or pleasantly thrilled and surprised.
15th September, 2012
This wondrously notorious elixir is the seductive, independent woman with brains and heart in spades who got burned at the stake by the angry villagers. Witch hunt ... my search is over, though.

This one chooses you. So Hello, My Future Signature. I'm a witchy woman, bookish, a lover of 1970s vintage clothing and pop culture. Feminism is still necessary, and when I say 'peace' I actually mean it. Of course Aromatics Elixir also works on responsible, traditional more grown-up women, on men with personality and pizzaz, and countless other types who value character and substance. Still, it's not quite all serious business: there's a bit of a dark humor and hedonism here mixed in with the no-nonsense.

It takes guts and patience to find the right amount to spray and to sit through what amounts to a sour opening on many. Although AE is definitely accessible and democratic, its "paced" and "challenging" nature is both classical like a slow-moving black and white movie and avant-garde like a conceptual chamber piece that refuses to compliment your ears but grants you the dignity of assuming you might like to think and be involved rather than stay flattered.

But flatter too Aromatics Elixir does: it suits and settles into a not-animalic-per say animalism. Earthy, just aloof enough but still warm potion. Can be worn everyday in lotion form or in the light walkthrough spray method, but it's so unique and mystical that Aromatics Elixir brings something of the earthly sublime even in repeat wearings. If you love patchouli, incense, your roses dipped in wine, chypres, complex classical perfumes, and if you always respect yourself in the morning... give Aromatics Elixir a try. Three tries even. That's how many it took me. Start with spritzing the air and walking through or you may get burned.

Rating: 10/10 for the vintage perfume, 9/10 reformulated perfume, 8/10 edt.
Longevity: Undefeated champion.
Sillage: if you apply sparingly, somewhat intimate. Otherwise likely to fill half a room in the first hour until drying down to a nice arm's length.
Gender: So above and beyond that shiz.
Occasion: Daily. Honoring the "old ladies'" who get so much hate, honoring mother nature and your own nature.
04th September, 2012
One of our very glam Managers wafted past me 30 odd years ago, wearing this fantastic perfume. I scrimped and scraped to save enough money from my pay to buy my first very small bottle of this beautiful perfume.

It is known as my signature, as over the years, our family and friends always know when I am around!

Unfortunately, I cant wear this for work anymore, as my current boss get a migraine if I do!

I absolutely love this perfume, and always stock up at Duty Free, whether I need it or not!
19th August, 2012
I went to a macy's to test this fragrence. The female SA thought it humorous that I (guy) would want to try on this perfume. But nonetheless let me try.

The perfume starts out herbally, nothing special and drys down into something I though was a herbal musk which was alright if you like this. Try it before you buy.

Sillage 5
09th August, 2012
From the moment I "caught" this scent on a co-worker, I had to own it for myself. I have used this for over 20 years and still love it. Although I do wear a variety of fragrances and love to try new ones, Aromatics Elixir will always be my favorite!!!
05th June, 2012
Old school but timeless. A creation of fabulous confidence and poise, which is aptly called an elixir: it feels like instant uplift. Patchouli (not a note that inspires much love in me) rounded by florals takes centre-stage, but the magic is in the almost medicinal herbal decoration and the balsamic notes that burnish this creation into a glowing radiance. Also distinctive is a trail of unctuous, of-the-earth, ylang ylang which shows now one side, now another – dreamy. One needs to wait about half an hour for the dirty animalics in the opening to finish wiping their bottoms, but once they settle, you're floating.
Further great news – this is also available in affordable, small sizes. If only other companies would follow suit yada yada.
18th May, 2012
A few years ago, I followed a well-kept, suited woman around during a conference just to catch a whiff of the air surrounding her.

Some exotic blend of a smell like a sun-warmed hillside in Greece?

She shared that she was wearing Aromatics Elixir.

Before dinner that night, I taxied to the mall and bought some of the body creme. I would put it on before bed when traveling during that hectic year. And then left the little bit left in the container somewhere south of Richmond, Virginia during a rushed hotel check-out.

And promptly forgot all about the beloved smell.

Then, I got infected with the scent obsession last year. Again. And it came back on me like a bad case of an antibiotic-resistant super bug. I collect. I plan stops during travel at promising little thrift stores run by odd little men who want to smell me. But that is a whole nother story....

This story is about my return to Aromatics Elixir. During the past months, I have bought, scrounged, traded to get my hands on some vintage juice. Shalimar and Chanel 5, old gnarly bottles, sit proudy in my dark little shelf alongside weird thrift store finds (Houbigant) to a pristine bottle of Caron Narcisse Noir for less than the price of a hamburger.

Last week at one of my local tj maxx haunts, I saw a gorgeous, still shrink-wrapped set of Aromatics Elixir (perfume, or parfum?, and body smoother) for discounted price of ten dollars. I grabbed it fast.

And fell in love.

This scent smells like sun-warmed herbs, with a few crushed underfoot releasing a bit of a sharp green goodness along with that slighly sweet smell of warm, dry hay. And somebody crushed just a small handful of white wild rose into the mix. And then the sun goes down and a fire is lit and the hay, and herbs, and roses go a bit smoky and rise like incense into the gloaming sky.

Aromatics Elixir works best on me as the lotion/body smoother. UNTIL, I tried getting a bit of almond oil, spritzing some of the perfume into a small bit of oil in my hand and smoothing it over my hands and arms. After reading the reviews here, I plan on experimenting with some high quality essential oils and maybe a bit of neroli to brighten it a bit for day wear.

Now I am on a hunt to find other fragrances that do this same full sensory, nearly narrative magic to me. Suggestions? I am female, but wear both male and female fragrances, and even mix them at times (one on each arm on really interesting days).

What else out there might do to me what this one does? I also love gourmands and niche, but this little Clinique charms me. Others to suggest?
29th February, 2012
I would love to give this an elaborate review, because I feel it deserves some kind of respect for the composition. But in all honesty, the scent was overall repulsive to me as I felt it was choking me. It's not even shocking or "bad smelling", it's just too much, I felt like I was eating a full plate of expensive incense stick. I could not figure out anything, it was plain sensory overload.
22nd December, 2011
I've had a half a bottle of pre-reformulated AE for over a year now that a friend had passed on to me. I only accepted it because it used to be my aunt's favorite when it came out (1971) , but I disliked it tremendously. However, it was mentioned in a blog I was reading last week so I felt compelled to spray it on my skin for the first time. OMG! I can't explain it, but I was immediately smitten. I chock it up to having experienced so many vintage perfumes in the last few years that my nose learned to understand AE. Now my half full bottle suddenly looks half empty and I need more! I shudder at the thought of testing the new stuff. Now I'm on a search for some vintage AE and that Aramis 900 just in case I can't find any.

Impressions of the scent: a mystical shapeshifter that really can't be categorized. Off of the top I'd call it an herbaceous (spelling?), leather chypre. It's very dry and strangely herbal/spicy with a timid floral note that starts to peek through somewhere in the middle. This is one of those times when a scent SHOULD NOT be categorized as masculine or feminine because it's firmly in the middle. It has been compared to Aramis and Aramis 900, but I've also picked up facets of it that hint at Mitsouko and Patou 1000 and it layers well with both. Octavian has also compared it's structure to Kouros.

For those who love those powerhouse vintage chypres, this is not to be passed on and if you can, get a vintage from Ebay to experience the perfumer Bernard Chant's original intent (he also made Aramis). Sillige is so big you only need one spray, any more will go too far and everyone around you may hate you, including you.
30th October, 2011