Clinique : Aromatics Elixir

Created by : Bernard Chant

Date : 1971

Genre : Green floral chypre

Concentration : Perfume spray

Very little information is available on the web regarding the great Bernard Chant but we know that he created some incredible perfumes… Cabochard, Azurée, Aramis and the subject of today’s marvel, Aromatics Elixir.

Michael Edwards places Aromatics Elixir in his Dry Woods family (Chypre Cuir in French) and he gives it a green facet which sounds right. The Société Française des Parfumeurs calls it a floral chypre and I think that could be correct as well. And Luca Turin calls it a woody floral! The problem with classifying Aromatics Elixir is that it’s complex and layered and because of the layers, one can read almost anything into Aromatics Elixir… it just depends on which layer you want to focus on. It reminds me of my first use of a microscope and why the image kept changing as I focused on different layers of the object.

Listed notes are a beautiful rose/patchouli accord along with neroli, jasmine, ylang-ylang, oakmoss, musk, amber, sandalwood and more. The overall effect is a strong, wartime chypre… tailored and woolly… no frou-frou, no chiffon. And not surprisingly, a hint of leather lurks among the green and floral notes. It’s all there. I’m even getting a soapy note which might be from the musk. Describing Aromatics Elixir is almost impossible because it has no clear direction. It really is a symphony of accords which is extremely chic and dated but a hell of a lot of fun to wear! It might feel a little “dress-up” but if you’re looking for effect, Aromatics Elixir might be for you.

My only wish is that Clinique would take a page from Thierry Mugler’s songbook and create a lighter, pared-down version of AE, as Mr. Mugler did with his new Angel eau de toilette. Done correctly, an Aromatics Elixir eau de toilette for daytime (or for men) would be a winner.

On a woman, Aromatics Elixir is all business… no fooling around. On a man, it’s the opposite. He smells clean and dirty all at the same time. I think more than a few women could be seduced. So let’s end with THE photo of 1972… the year that Burt Reynolds decided not to show it.

Have a nice week everyone.

Top image : Jacques Fath suit photographed by Henry Clarke (1955)

Bottom image : Burt Reynolds centrefold for Cosmopolitan (1972)

Leave a comment


  1. FiveoaksBoutique

     /  October 16, 2011

    Nice writeup on a classic perfume! I didn’t realize Aromatics Elixir was categorized so differently by different sources. I think of it differently yet again, as an herbal chypre, because it has a pronounced camomile note, which, for me, is what differentiates it from some other chypres and makes it unique.

    ITA it could smell fantastic on a man and it seems to me more gender-neutral than strictly a women’s perfume. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if burt Reynolds was wearing it in the photo!

    • Yep… I saw camomile listed too! I may not be familiar enough with camomile to pick it out of a line-up. Thanks for bringing it up!

  2. I think AE is one of those fragrances that are etched in memory once you ‘ve smelled them.
    Regarding a lighter version, there is one you know. It is marketed as a masculine and it is named Aramis 900. You can find the original version quite cheap and it has been recently relaunched and re-bottled in the new Gentleman’s collection. Back in the time where it was not fashionable to have a “for him” and “for her” version, whenever a perfumer found a good formula they would fine-tune it towards a more masculine version and market it under a different name. Bernard Chant has done that several times so many of his Aramis releases are actually masculine versions of his Clinique and Estee Lauder masterpieces.
    Aramis 900 is a lighter but surprisingly more floral version of AE, at least IMO.

    • Wow! What great information! Thanks… I’ll look for it.

      I tested (on a scent strip) the new Aromatics Elixir Perfumer’s Reserve and I certainly got a fresh vibe from it but it didn’t seem lighter… although I hope to retest this week on skin.

      “a fresher, smoother, modern interpretation of Chant’s original.” Developed by perfumer Laurent Le Guernec; with rose, jasmine, myrrh, patchouli, orange flower and peach.”

      Thank you very much for that Aramis 900 hint.


    • OK… I stand TOTALLY corrected. As described above by Memory of Scent, a lighter version of Aromatics Elixir for men exists. Memory of Scent got it perfectly! Aramis 900. I just got back from Holt’s. In a 2 perfume line-up, the other perfume being AE, I’m not sure I could tell the difference between the two. I also tried Aramis. I thought it was beautiful beyond belief and so cheap! And JHL… and Devin. Beauty!

      Thanks again!

      • I am so glad that I helped you discover these gems. Of course the crown jewel from this line is Havana. Try to find this one too! Before the re-release a few years ago, vintage bottles would fetch uber niche prices on e-bay

      • Thanks again!

  3. Broadbent

     /  October 17, 2011

    @memoryof scent….you read my mind and beat me to it!
    The Aramis scents are all derivatives of Lauder fragrances. They are all winners in my book.

    • You know… I don’t know much about them. A whole new line to explore. Thanks for the comment!

      • Devin is the masculine version of Aliage and JHL is the masculine version of Cinnabar. I have also heard that the original Aramis is the masculine version of Cabochard but I cannot confirm it as I am not familiar with this one.

        It is quite interesting that sniffed blind, with today’s standard’s AE could have been mistaken for a masculine and Aramis 900 for a feminine.

      • My tailor used to wear one of the Aramis scents… the whole shop smelled of something very beautiful. I don’t know how I know it was an Aramis scent… he must have told me… but I wasn’t much interested in perfume then. I’m going to have to go on a sniffing expedition for those Aramis scents. He had incredible taste, this man… Roger Giunta.

        Thanks for the additional info… it would have taken me hours before making those links… if I made them at all! I’m totally intrigued!


  4. JoanElaine

     /  October 17, 2011

    Great post, Normand. AE a woody floral? Maybe on Jupiter! 😉

    You’ve inspired me to spritz on a little Aromatics Elixir. I promised a review of AE months ago on my old blog. Since I’m now wafting AE, perhaps I’ll start that review today.

    An edt concentration of AE is a genius idea.

    • That must have been an editing mistake. I don’t know how Luca Turin could get “woody floral” out of Aromatics Elixir. It doesn’t make sense.

      I’m dying to read your take on AE! And, on your new website! Hey everyone!!! JoanElaine (Redolent of Spices) has a new look! It’s classy. Clean lines… super easy and fast to read. Update your blog rolls!

  5. You’ve inspired me too, Normand! I have a bottle of AE at home that I bought for reference but I think I’ve never worn. I think I’ll try some tonight. Chypre or woody floral, it doesn’t matter, I’m a fan of both.

  6. Nippertyler

     /  October 30, 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, 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.

    • Vintage AE? Lucky you! I sniffed Aramis 900 at the store… I’m not sure how it holds up to AE exactly but it might be worth a try. Good luck finding more vintage AE. I bet your vintage AE is gorgeous.

  7. peregrinacultural

     /  November 27, 2011

    I have worn AE for years the past 20 some years … Cannot explain to anyone the dependency I have on this perfume. It reacts differently with everyone, but I feel it is absolutely perfect for my skin. It works for any occasion, any time of day. I do feel “unfinished” or “naked” when I don´t have it on. It is a masterpiece…

  8. OK I know I am not crazy but what has changed with my elixir. It doesn’t smell the same. My last 2 bottles have smelled different and I don’t like it. Help!!! Where can I get the original clinique elixir?????

  9. I’m way late to this party, but noticed StrawberryNet has AE in edt formulation. I remember this was available years ago and I think it’s still available overseas.
    I have worn the edp for years and consider it a comfort scent.

  10. jane Clark

     /  December 11, 2012

    i just tried the tester in town as i have nearly run out of AE…I can;t believe how much it has changed. I have been wearing it for over 20 years!! …i loved it… now i need to find a new fragrance!….. But I will try the suggestion above..Thank you

    • I don’t know what Aromatics Elixir smelled like 20 years ago… your heart must be broken. Reformulations are always with us… always have been. Let us know how it all turns out.


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