Take Aromatics Elixir. It's categorized as a floral chypre, just like Aphrodisia, Shocking, and L'Arte di Gucci, but unlike those scents, which have varying degrees of sweetness intact and are relatively easy to love, Aromatics Elixir is dry, herby/woody, and green. You can smell the rose and florals, but their greenest and most woodland facets have been emphasized rather than their lush and sweet sides. (I could imagine it on a man as easily as I could a woman; in fact, if it came out today, it would probably be in the men's fragrance section.)
Although it's beautiful, I think Aromatics Elixir is an acquired taste, or for someone inclined toward green chypres. That might just be me, though. When I was a perfume-obsessed tween at the mall, trying on everything I could get my hands on, I remember thinking that Aromatics Elixir stunk to high heaven and I wondered who would want to smell so harsh, so unlike a flower. That was then...
Aromatics Elixir smells like a mixture of dried, pressed roses, coriander and carnation whose arid herbiness has been reconstituted with a few drops of sweet flower essences (ylang-ylang, tuberose, jasmine). This contrast between dry and sweet rests on a warming, animalic, and spicy base of sandalwood, vetiver and a heaping dose of patchouli, with its camphoraceous-medicinal, oily darkness.
Top notes: Bergamot, green notes, coriander, rosewood, aldehyde, palmarosa (a rose-scented species of lemongrass also called Indian geranium)
Heart notes: Rose de Mai, jasmine, carnation, ylang-ylang, tuberose, orris
Base notes: Patchouli, vetiver, civet, sandalwood, oakmoss, cistus, musk
(Perfumer: Bernard Chant)
This beautiful and complex seventies classic is so different in style from the prevailing taste for clean and fruity (or at least the prevailing distaste for chypres) that it surprises me it's actually still at the Clinique counter rather than behind museum glass. It has that air about it that Private Collection by Estee Lauder has, that it would rather be admired than loved, described as chic rather than pretty. Given this scent profile, the only contemporary woman I could see pulling off AE would be Chloe Sevigny, the edgy beauty who makes retro style her own.
Who is wearing Aromatics Elixir these days? Inquiring minds want to know! In the meantime, check out some fascinating and hilarious Basenotes reviews. As you will see, Aromatics Elixir (how great is that name, by the way?) is a love-it-or-hate-it scent.
bbBd: [I]f you're looking for a woody, green floral that is simultaneously rich yet intricately layered then march down to your local mall and plunk down $35 for a 50ml bottle at the Clinique counter. This may just be the most interesting, most vintage-evoking perfume you can buy at the mall today. A thick layer of oakmoss covers a heart of jasmine and rose that does not relent through the base. Non-specific 'green notes' meander about and musk softens as the perfume progresses...Worried about this being too feminine? Forget it - this has more testosterone then anything at the boys' counter but still wears as a sophisticated and classy feminine.
Kevin Guyer: Like most of Bernard Chant's work for Estee Lauder, this is heavy handed...It plays its repetitive, repulsive/addictive, matronly modern duality like an angry child of a dysfunctional family.
Madame du Barry: This isn't perfume; it's Chinese herbal medicine. I dislike this cough syrup with a passion.
Kanasta: Strong, harsh, and nauseating.