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.
I keep coming back to this, but it's a tricky one. It's so strong there is a fine line between great and nauseating. This can be manged through creative application. I spray once over my body (in underwear) in a swoop and it lasts all day. Sprayed right out of the shower works, too.
That takes care of the cons.
The pros are that this fragarance is unique and simply beautiful; balanced between sweet and sharp, floral and herbal/chypre. I continually get compliments when wearing this. The body smoother is wonderful, true to the fragrance and when applied on arms or shoulders is a softer way to wear this scent. The spray device allows for control to apply a mini-spritz. The bottle is attractive and is easy to handle. The price is well within reason for a quality fragrance.
This is one scent that makes me happy just to smell it.
i love this. great sillage. longest lasting fragrance ive ever used. smells like fall/winter. woods and fire place and also new york city all in one. smells like the 1970s to me. i just love it and wear it and appreciate it. have owned many bottles of it in my life. strong, bold, winter-y, and sophisticated. love.
How opinions can change! The first time I encountered this fragrance - in my early twenties - I thought it was vile! I received it as a sample with other Clinique cosmetics. My intitial reaction was that this smelt like fly spray, it made my eyes water and filled my nose up like Vicks rub... Not the best of starts... A few years on, and ready to give things a second chance, I have really fallen for this perfume. it is definitely floral, but floral with clout.
This is no saccarine sweet girly floral but one that needs to be perservered with a little to let it settle. It is certainly unique and instantly recognisable with a real presence about it. This is no shy and retiring scent but something of a bombshell. This is certainly not a perfume you need or would want to douse yourself in. I find it works best when misted on the wrists. Anymore and you'll have people complaining of headaches and allergies - you might even have one yourself! (Not to put anyone off!)
It is a clean fragrance that nearly reminds me a little of the herbal smell of certain natural cold remedies, however it eventually settles into a lovely warm fragrance that has heads and noses turning (in a good way!). A good example of an acquired taste but a very fine fragrance and wirth spending the time with. Maybe that's what it is - floral and herbal. is there such a thing as a 'herbal' family in perfumes?
On my list of 2012 of perfumes to buy!
I have a few of these laying around the house. The fragrance is so strong it can peel paint. I would never put it on my body but have used it to repel strong room odors..lol.
I usually use this when my husband cooks cabbage!
I give this fragrance 3 lippies for originality--and for the fact that women who wear it well, wear it VERY well. I have known two women for whom this was a signature fragrance, and they rocked the classic AE chypre sillage: haunting, dry, and woodsy, leaving the recipient wanting more.
However: I have never found any form of this that I can comfortably wear without getting a splitting headache. My skin can't get past the opening blast of aldehydes (reminiscent of Lysol or toothache medicine) and the middle notes of funky, semi-fecal jasmine and chamomile. I've tried walking through a tiny bit of spray; decanting the spray into a roll-on; wearing just the lotion; cutting down the amount again and again; it just doesn't matter. I can't seem to get to the delicious basenotes, I just get hours of nausea and the desire to scrub every inch of myself.
So, I am left with a deep respect for this distinctive classic, which is a masterpiece on the right person, but I rank it among the most difficult-to-wear fragrances ever.
This perfume is overly powdery and sweet. My aunt wears this and it leaves a smelly trail wherever she goes.