Perfume Directory

Aramis (1965)
by Aramis


Aramis information

Year of Launch1965
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 728 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerBernard Chant
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies > Aramis and Designer Fragrances
Parent Company at launchEstee Lauder Companies

About Aramis

Aramis was launched by Estee Lauder Companies in September 1964 in New York and then in the UK, exclusively in Harrods at first in 1965. It has remained popular ever since and is a true classic fragrance. The Aramis range has grown and includes a wide range of shaving, hair, bath and body products. Aramis Gold was launched in 1998, which has a scent based on the original Aramis.

Reviews of Aramis

Aramis, that woody leather stalwart; doesn't it smell kind of Old Man these days?
Well, maybe...

When I haven't worn it for a while, I remember Aramis as a mix of walnut burr and dark brown leather, the hoary old grandfather of a thousand chypres. And that's just what it is, sort of...

Aramis hails from 1964, which was a pretty dark year in many ways: Vietnam, race riots in the US, the police inciting more riots by breaking up Rolling Stones gigs ... and meanwhile in England, Pete Townsend was smashing up his first guitar on stage. But there was also a lighter side to '64: the effervescent Mary Poppins appeared in cinemas for the first time, the Moog synthesiser was born, and there was Beatlemania on both sides of the pond.

Looking at Aramis from the vantage point of half a century we can see how it reflects the times, both dark and light. It could be said that the dark woody leather of Aramis feels heavy and passé, rather old fashioned these days. But like Sean Connery in the role of James Bond, Aramis has a suave Cool that goes deeper than any trend, it has that timeless quality, Style.
And this is because, like the year, there is another, lighter side to Aramis that bursts out of the opening like the 'driing' at the start of A Hard Day's Night, a thrilling accord of citrus and aromatics that turns a dull leather chypre into something quite wonderful. Spray it on fabric and this blue aromatic overlay continues to leaven the brown woody leather for ages, giving Aramis the kind of finesse you would expect from a most refined fougére. This was inspired stuff from Bernard Chant, one of the best of his chypres, the genre he excelled in.

1964, what a year... Goldfinger, Hard Day's Night, Aramis: you wait ages for a masterpiece and then three come along all at once!


Modern FB
01st April, 2020
I decided recently to reduce the fragrances in my rotation to a handful of bottles... In the midst of purging, I made one exception and picked up a new bottle of Aramis. Having owned a vintage bottle in the past that I missed, I started reading & researching and came to two conclusions:

1. A surprising amount of reviewers I like & trust (& consider very discerning and informed) seem to respect this fragrance... Because of its popularity during my childhood (70's-80's), I'd kind of taken it for granted as a cliché, and not devoted much thought to its origins or influence.

2. Most of the things I really like are 30-50 years old. I have given up questioning this, and more or less accepted that I gravitate towards classics, especially those that embody an idea very definitively -- Aramis ticks those boxes.

I’ve been wearing it now off and on for a couple of weeks (and missing it on the days when I skip) and finding myself very enamoured of it... I’m still getting to know the composition but will say right now that I think that reviews that reach for hyperbolic masculine descriptors are misguided. This is a tight, straight-up stoic herbal leather chypre... so much so that you really won’t smell anything like it outside of some niche things; it's so "original" it's practically conceptual. It does remind me of Hermès’ Bel Ami and Chanel’s Antaeus in its use of Mediterranean herbs, patchouli, vetiver, moss and castoreum, but is less self-consciously 'artistic' than either of these excellent fragrances. Like its more expensive cousins, Aramis commutes a tenacious and convincing leatheriness with both humid and dry sensations, moving from a bitter opening to a comforting drydown. I think it's actually less helpful to compare it to something as deliberately beguiling as Kouros than it is to a focused thesis like Chanel Pour Monsieur... If you think of it that way (classically composed yet accessible, self-contained with hidden depths) then its close-grained texture and thoughtful development will match your expectations handsomely.

Aramis opens with a bitter edge of green artemisia/sour galbanum tinged with a fleeting whiff of bergamot; lifted into freshness by waxy aldehydes and sweetened by gardenia, the result feels almost like orange blossom...and lasts about ten seconds. Almost immediately the major players take the stage: a castoreum accord arrives with its animalic, nutty-boozy oiliness, while moss introduces a neutral ashy tonality. Vetiver, thyme and sage fill out a series of woody, angular and savoury flavours that challenge and complement the unguent sweetness of the castoreum, itself enhanced by a dogged smokiness (myrrh?)

For the first hour of projection, the perfume seems to gain in strength... A dusty sweatiness I'd associate with cumin appears (this is very appealing to me) and then gradually recedes, giving way to a soothing drydown defined by patchouli, pepper, a dry woodshop spicyness, and that is fast becoming one of my favourites. Markedly memorable and habit forming, it accompanies you as a wafting aura for another few hours before fading to traces that merge almost seamlessly with a body’s natural scent.

The dominant motif throughout is, as others have said, a very convincing worn-in working leather (broken-in work gloves or equestrian gear), polished by a cool, clove-tinged tannins that might remind you of the phenolic properties of chestnuts, pure chocolate or dark-roast coffee... like these tastes that one comes to appreciate neat, its appeals lies in its starkness; I completely agree with the reviewer below who compares Aramis to a pleasantly bitter cup of coffee. Someone has said that the whole point of a chypre is the balancing of opposites; this is both dark and uplifting, parched but with a polish that conveys seriousness lightened by easygoing allure. As such, it's a steady confidence builder.

A note about performance... I used to own a bottle from 2006, that might have been a touch skankier and more herbal in its opening but was otherwise fairly similar to what I have now (a 2016 batch, with ingredients listing tree moss but not oak moss.) I do not detect a huge amount of difference in terms of performance, as neither struck me as a powerhouse along the lines of, say, Polo ‘Green’ or Kouros; longevity is average to long-lasting (about 8 hours), but sillage after the initial couple of hours becomes pretty polite, dense but quite close to the skin as far as I can tell. It is possible that my bottle just needs to oxidize a little, and I also notice that my nose quickly becomes accustomed to it, so olfactory fatigue may be in play...but overall, my impression is that sillage is moderate. I do actually really appreciate the degree to which, as it fades, Aramis is not dominated by an obviously synthetic base... I’ll give it some time, but I think in its present form I am happy to spray liberally and allow a little to penetrate clothing as well (on a shirt warmed by body heat it is magic.) Despite its strong start, it reapplies decently later in the day.

Final conclusions:

A classical woody/herbal/leather for purists who are purists about more than just fragrance, Aramis eludes clichés more successfully than I would have guessed: smoothed out by aldehydes and skillfully balanced, it still holds a surprising amount of appeal. I don't find it smells dated for the practical purposes of daily wear, inasmuch as the context of its original popularity (a 1960's-70's, hairy-chested machismo) has largely vanished, with the 'cologne guys' of our present era having moved on to a totally different approach. Reformulation has likely smoothed and lightened its profile, but it is still a thoroughly functional and rewarding composition by contemporary standards that retains its vintage appeal. I think that Aramis deserves a great deal of respect as a survivor, but also as an acquired taste. Bernard Chant might have designed a masterpiece, but the challenge to appreciate something this far removed from the norms of our own moment is a creative pleasure in itself.

27th July, 2019
Drydown smells like sour sweat to me, frankly unpleasant. Sorry Aramis. If you want animalic that is not unpleasant, I recommend Antaeus, a magical fragrance.
01st July, 2019
My favourite since I got my first one in 2014. It was a blind buy since my brother gifted it to me. After using it I can easily understand why it is considered a classic. A 1965 perfume that refuses to go down. So much water has flowed under the bridge since 1965.This perfume has seen fads, fashions, style and so many other perfumes come and go. It just refuses to bow down. And for that it has my absolute respect and love.
29th April, 2019 (last edited: 30th April, 2019)
This is a review for the concentree version.

Amber, citrus and florals come out from the start: a light musk overhangs it all. Aldehydes for days. I think this may be the antithesis of a chypre. A natural leather comes through as but not at the forefront: it's mixed in well. I wouldn't call this a leather-prominent scent, it's lighter than that with bits of sweetness. Still, it's a masculine scent: no doubt about it. While it may have citrus in it, there's too much musk lurking around to consider it even unisex. While this may have been popular in the 1970s and 80s, I wouldn't consider it a relic. Do I find it oudated? No: however, I am not sure what an ideal time for it would be. A springtime walk with a significant other? Maybe, but it's a bit aggressive. Going to an outdoor sporting event? Just don't spray too much of it and piss everyone off around you. It's got the potential to be VERY cloying with overuse.

Projection is above average but not nuclear by any means. Sillage is...not great. 4-5 hours for me and then there's almost nothing left but an almost...Mountain Dew...scent? I do wish I got more sillage out of it (Concentree doesn't boost the sillage for me), but I paid only 35 dollars for a 3 ounce bottle at the time of writing the interview so I don't expect miracles.

Ultimately it's a good herbal chypre that can be cheaply purchased albeit with some flaws. At the very least, get a small bottle of this, my fellow parfumer: inhale a part of the olfactory pantheon and a uniquely historical scent that brought us here.

04th March, 2019
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
The previous reviews pretty much cover this one from every angle. Aramis is potent stuff, and if misapplied could lead to room-clearing offense. Moderation is key, and leads to an all-day, pleasant leathery and floral classic. I'm a big fan of the old school, yet I confess that Aramis, while still holding forth in a plausible manner, does wear its era more obviously than some others. I cannot imagine this being introduced today by a designer house. But the quality that Lauder has maintained is laudable, and is evident in Aramis. It may not scream Old Man, but it does shout Man.
12th December, 2018

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