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The Emperor of Scent
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The Perfect Scent
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A Natural History of the Senses
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The Secret of ScentLuca Turin's scientific look at perfume
Essence and AlchemyThe voluptuous history of natural perfume.
Aromatics Elixir by Clinique had been around for 20 years by the time I discovered it in the early 90s. I started off admiring it from a distance: even the most tentative spray hurled a lavish, densely-packed cloud of flowers, moss and woods into the air around me. I wasn't sure I could deliver on the promise of this perfume.
I began smelling AE on people I admired, creative, fiercely intellectual yet playful women who designed operas, archived films, curated art. I finally claimed it for my own a few years ago after hungrily sniffing at the voluptuous haze lingering around a friend. When she told me it was Aromatics Elixir, I understood for the first time how this juggernaut of rose, jasmine, and patchouli transforms the skin into an enchanted forest.
The smell out of the bottle is not the perfume on the body. This juice needs skin and heat to make it sing. It takes only one spritz of AE on the small of my back to send tendrils of witchy mystery out into the world. The initial denseness is dissipated by air and time.
Aromatics Elixir is a siren song muted by melancholy, my favorite flavor of mood. I especially love its abundant ylang-ylang, which smells lascivious and feral.
Perfumer Bernard Chant's masterwork may have been launched all the way back in 1971 (in the original "apothecary" bottle seen in photo above), but I've been tickled to encounter the occult allure of Aromatics Elixir in more recent releases.
Le Labo Ylang 49 is a brother from another mother, with perfumer Frank Voelkl swapping AE's rose for gardenia. And with Kinski, perfumer Geza Schoen takes AE to a party and gets her stoned on weed.
Whenever I wear Aromatics Elixir, it shimmers in the air around me. I know I smell good in it.
My favorite Aromatics Elixir compliment ever came from a friend as we ambled through a park.
“Stop!” he suddenly exclaimed, yanking my arm for emphasis. “Can you smell it? Some tree smells really good!”
Some tree was me.
For jtd's insightful analysis of Aromatics Elixir Perfumer's Reserve limited edition, click here.