For years, I didn't get this fragrance at all, but for whatever reason (they changed it? my body switched gears? whatever) I'm going through a real Aromatics Elixir craze. The first time I layered it with the body lotion, I thought it smelled just hideous. Gotta give it dry down time. Now I'm very careful not to hose it on, and am really loving it myself. No reviews from others, pro or con, have come in yet, but if I get any real rant negatives or rave positives, I'll update. The advice to try it on yourself before buying is most appropriate with any chypre, IMHO.
Aromatics Elixir has what I would call, somewhat anachronistically, the Angel effect. It is a blinding epiphany on rare individuals, but many are apt to react in horror. Earth goddess patchouli in full force, quite gritty and brooding unless you've got a taste for it, like muddy, fetid leaf drift. It's only when you apply very sparingly that its other qualities shine: a dense herbal undergrowth of geranium, chamomile, and clary sage, a brightening via rose, the green light of oakmoss, black-leather vetiver, and smoky resinous sandalwood. It only goes to show how varied an olfactory family can be: Chanel Cristalle captures an intense, arid luminosity, while the elegant YSL Y is a languid green glow, but Aromatics Elixir is an essay on dirt. It's not a meaty, animalic darkness, but quite mineral, with a little vegetable accent. The result is quite stark, almost a hippie 70s cliché, which is perhaps not exactly in tune with Clinique's clinical pretensions, but it remains one of the more unusual in the battalion of commercial offerings, neither floral nor sweet, but wild, dark, and earthy.
It smells horrible on my skin, but I've definitely encountered it on the right person, and it's simply marvelous.
SUBHUMAN85 wrote everything,nothing for me to say,an oriental feminine parfume,i love it,nobody can forgets you when you wear it,this is a parfume job,it is your signature.And yes,i was always against Unisex fragrances.
This is a love/hate scent imo. Normally I love chypres but this one is just too pervasive for me. It has a HUGE thwack of patchouli and a woodsy drydown. Very distinctive, once smelt never forgotten but headache juice to me I'm afraid. Ladies who love this one pleeeeez do not cover yourself in it - a little goes a long way. And you might want to consider carefully before wearing to a restaurant or theatre. There are some, eg me who would rather enjoy their meal/the show without having to taste your scent too. many thanks.
I do believe this is the worst fragrance that I have ever sprayed on myself! UGH! Unbelievably BAD!
For a woody oriental gal like me, Aromatics Elixir was a disapointment.
The SA promised woody, earthy non-sweet and urged me to try this on, but forgot to mention chypre.
In the true old chypre way.
Just what Aromatics Elixir is.
Chypres doesn't work on me at all.
And unfortunately, this is one of my skrubbers.
If I was only able to pull out some of the flowers at least - but no - only repulsive patchouli and a decaying vetiver on the base of bitter, bitter, bitter oakmoss.
It smells horrific on me, and brings out images of old ladies, their old medicin cabinets, and my fathers old travel bag.
Right now I'm not able to imagine that this will smell great on anybody else, so hopefully someone will prove me wrong one day and show me how delightful it may be on them.
By all means, go ahead and try it - please try before you buy!
But for me:
Thanks, but no thanks.
Well what can I add to subhuman 85's substantial review below? It is a classic with reason, and I just love it. Only disadvantage is that my very allergic sister will sneeze constantly when I wear this perfume, probably because of the oakmoss as subhuman 85 explains.
If you like very earthly, patchouli scents, try this one.
Aromatics Elixir hearkens back to a time when a) perfumes were meant to be worn and evaluated at length, not sprayed on paper and judged in the first five seconds; b) feminine fragrances weren't afraid to have a little swagger in their step and an edge to their beauty; c) natural essences and fixatives weren't restricted and outlawed like contraband; and d) lasting power and potent sillage were a matter of course, not an anomaly in the fragrance market. Aromatics Elixir is utterly, and blessedly, not of this era.
It goes on bitter, bracing, and borderline revolting at first. Much is made of old-school chypre fragrances filled with piss and vinegar, but AE smells literally OF piss and vinegar to a modern nose like mine. At least up close, and immediately after applying. But wait a few minutes, walk around, and catch some whiffs of its sillage. Hey, not bad - floral, a bit sharp, slightly green and citrusy, with a wonderful undercurrent of patchouli, oakmoss and leather. It gets better. Half an hour after spraying AE on my arm, I'm in powdery floral heaven - it's simply gorgeous and elegant, bringing to mind a pricey hand cream. Eventually, even the spray site on my arm, which smelled bilious only a short while ago, has become a soft, herbal, warm, and (no, really) sensual essence. Oakmoss has been restricted in perfumery use as of late due to its allergenic potential, but it's irreplaceable in classic chypre compositions like this one, and it lends a lovely intimacy and warmth to AE's drydown. I'm a patchouli lover, and AE is catnip to my nose - the patchouli in AE is a far cry from the sanitized, clean version popular today in fragrances like Coco Mademoiselle and Midnight Poison. AE's patchouli is more like that of Thierry Mugler's Angel: rough, sharp, earthy, and wonderfully grounding.
I simply can't emphasize enough the need to test AE on skin (don't bother with paper strips), and with patience, in order to fully appreciate it and get a true sense of its character. I'd go so far as to recommend spraying it on your hand and not sniffing for at least five minutes, preferably 10. Hit up the Clinique counter, spritz, and go about your business. The sillage will hit you soon enough - it's utterly pervasive, and trails like nothing I have ever experienced in a fragrance - and only then will you see exactly what Aromatics Elixir has to offer. Its potency and reasonable price (25 ml for about $40 here in Canada) offer an excellent value, especially in this age of designer fragrances that evaporate faster than the credit card transactions that paid for them. And, in 21st-century terms, AE is totally unisex - not too butch for a woman to wear, but not at all too sweet or floral for a guy to pull off, and with an herbal, mossy edge that smells great on both sexes.
Aromatics Elixir is a classic for a reason, and a must-sniff - whether you end up loving or hating it - for all fragrance fanatics.
I don't know why I like Aromatics Elixir but I do. It's very different from any other fragrances I wear and I can find it a bit overpoweringly heavy but still, I like it. To me, it's very much a fall/winter time fragrance - that is the only time I wear it - and I never wear it at work just because it is so heavy. But still, I like it.
Add me to the LOVE column. I just trialed this and I can't get enough. Unfortunately I just purchased a bottle of parfume (a lovely hermes scent) so I cant justify getting this yet. But its definitely on my list. I am usually good at pulling out the different notes but on this it just feels like everything rounds out so well you cant pull it apart. It reminds me of one of those hideously expensive Aveda oils in its scent. I love it.