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October 13, 2010


Anna in Edinburgh

I love Aromatics Elixir and I'm curious about Clinique's attitude to it's stablemate, Wrappings. Why do they keep it under wraps? I'd love to try it but how to get hold of it in the UK? .... If you have some, I'd appreciate a review.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh


Hi Anna. I vaguely remember the oddly-named perfume Wrappings (is that supposed to allude to Christmas?). I don't know anything about it, but after reading its notes, I'm curious about it. I'm a green fragrance freak, so it sounds wonderful to me. It seems like Estee Lauder and Clinique have retained some wonderful vintage-y scents. We should reward them for not discontinuing them by buying up Estee, Azuree, Aliage, and Aromatics Elixir!


Wrappings is usually available as a gift set (edp and lotion) around Xmas time here in the US. It's lovely, pine-y green, flowery, and somewhat fresh without going too far in any direction. It's very distinctive and, like Aromatics Elixir, a little dab will do ya.


Sorry to post one after another, but the Wrappings gift set is up on Clinique's website right now. Click "Shop Holiday" and then "Shop Fragrance Sets". :-)


Thanks moongrrl. I will keep my eye out for it. :)


Good question. Who wears AE these days? It is SO out of fashion, SO divisive in its effect on people, and SO cheap. I marvel every time I walk past the tester at my local department store. And it seems so out of kilter (sp?) with the typical Clinique customer, who seems usually to be a conservative soul just looking for solid, reliable, inexpensive and fuss-free cosmetics and skin care products.

Well, I am a Clinique customer, and I love AE. I love green chypres. I love vintage perfumes. I love Private Collection. I can't afford Serge Lutens. Simple as that.

Anna in Edinburgh

Wrappings is available as an exclusive gift set in one exclusive store in London this Christmas - a fact I've brought to OH's attention. (The post and packing had better utilise gold leaf and winged chariots for the price given!)

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh - an AE fan.


I have a funny but true story about Aromatics. For a few short months I worked at a Lancome counter and it sat between Estee Lauder & Clinique. Very few of us wore our own scents (which they obviously wanted us to do) and opted for the competition. For example, one of the Clinique SAs loved Youth Dew Nude, the Estee SA liked Tresor, while I liked AE. The funny thing is, I was threatened within an inch of my life by the Clinique counter if I sprayed it. It was a unanimous decision at that counter that it was the foulest stuff ever invented. I tried to educate them that the secret is a light application, but it was still burning torches and angry villagers if I even looked at it. Of course now that I think of it, I got the same response with Magie Noire. WOW! I was ahead of the perfume curve before I even knew there was one!! And as far as men wearing AE, they sort of have their own version in ARAMIS 900. It's almost exactly the same but not quite as tenacious and a tad bit dryer.


I wear Aromatics Elixir. It is gloriously demanding, and I love that characteristic in fragrances. Bernard Chant is one of my favourite noses, I also love Aramis, among others.


Anne, thanks for "coming out" as an AE user! ;) I admitted I hated it as a child (I mean, you'd have to be an awfully sophisticated child to love this!), but I have a push-pull relationship to it now. I love its greenness, but I fight with what to me feels medicinal. Let's put it this way: after a day of sniffing niche lines at Barneys and every perfume known to womankind, my nose should have been exhausted. But AE woke it right up, and became the star of the day. These green 70s scents are so down-to-earth and tough-talking, yet exotic and beautiful. I love that combination...

Its interesting how you're reconciling Clinique's solid, reliable, and fuss-free brand with AE. Ironically, AE seems practically avant-garde as a fragrance now.


Anna, I'm definitely on the Wrappings trail. I'm gonna get me some at Christmas!


Meliscents, thanks for the Confessions of a Perfume Sales Associate story! That is hilarious that the Clinique ladies hated AE. It's beautiful, but weird and challenging, even for me! And I love Magie Noire, too. :) Thanks for the heads up on Aramis 900. I keep hearing about that. I guess it's different from Aramis, which I love. And yes, Bernard Chant rocks!


Pimpinett — AE is gloriously demanding, but you're right — this is a good thing! And Aramis rocks my world. :)


I love love LOVE this, but I no longer have any - it's just so strong. Back in its heyday I could get away with it, since everybody was wearing even bigger perfumes like Giorgio, but not now!


Flora, I think Meliscents is right in saying that the trick is light application. One spray is almost too overpowering! Maybe half a spray or even just the body cream early in the day will last you all day. I've already gotten compliments on it. My point? Get out your Aromatics Elixir again! You have permission. :)


Oh - I had AE wayyy back, a small sample only. And it went a long way, as I could only bear to use a minute dab of a micro drop.
Nowadays I can not use it any longer- I get kind of "nose-aches" from this scent

Vintage Lady

I really don't know why don't like Aromatics Elixir. I like deep fragrance smells. But this one seems to me too citric or something I can't really figure out.


Vintage Lady, thanks for stopping by. AE is not an easy perfume, and it makes sense that not everyone likes it. I have an uneasy relationship to it and find that it's easier to like if I have very little on!

Deborah Bloom


I used to wear AE when I was in my early to mid 20's (early to mid 1980's). I love your comment "AE. It's beautiful, but weird and challenging..." I loved it then and it drove the men I was around wild. I've never received so many compliments on any other perfume that I've ever worn. Maybe you have to be beautiful, but weird and challenging to love it. I certainly am...well, I'm at least attractive....

The trick is definitely a light application....one spray on your torso or decolletage, then quickly caress your wrists across that.

Something else to consider...age and hormones affect how we perceive scents and how our bodies react to them. I don't think I could wear AE today...though my husband might love it!

Question for our host....do you think that over the years they might have substituted some of the natural essences in this scent for synthetic ones? That might also account for some of the differences in people who used to like it, but now don't and vice versa.



Hm, I am a regular reader of your blog; it fascinates me, though to understand your conoisseurship is beyond me. I just love reading your descriptions.

I'm a one-perfume (per season) woman, and I wear AE. I can't understand why people should hate it so much. Yeah, it's strong at first spritz, like any perfume. But it calms down very quickly.

I'm 35, working class, very approachable judging from those who approach me. I've gotten quite a few compliments on AE. Even my husband likes it, and this is the first time he's approved of my choice of perfume.

I love how it's dry, soapy, sweet but not too sweet, and rich. I bought the soap, too. But OK, the body cream smelled like DEATH. I tried it on my hands first, thinking it would settle down but it almost made me sick, all day. Glad I didn't buy it.


Hi Deborah Bloom,

Nice last name for someone who likes perfume. ;) Glad you like AE! In doses, I like it too, although it does scare me a bit, and I usually have out there tastes! No wilting flower could wear AE, that's for sure, and I think any man who likes it is unique as well. It's got an herbal, medicinal edge...

As for your question about reformulation: I wouldn't doubt if it hasn't been reformulated. (Now that oakmoss is banned, most definitely.) I usually only review vintage versions of scents that are still out there. I'll try to get my hands on some vintage and compare. Either way, something tells me they didn't reformulate the "beautiful, weird and challenging" out of it!


Thanks for stopping by, kips. I think the people who hate AE do so for varying reasons. 1) It's not their type. Maybe they like straight-forward florals or Oriental fragrances that are more traditionally feminine. 2) These days, what's popular for women is either a clean, citrus scent or some fruit bomb gourmand scent. AE most definitely doesn't fit into this style. As a chypre (with bergamot, florals and a base with oak moss, patchouli, etc.), it's quite out of style, a little masculine. For those of us who love this perfume category, and I am one, this is a plus!

AE has notes that only some people can handle: carnation, oak moss, patchouli, vetiver, civet, coriander, etc. Also, I think you're right when you say it "dies down." Maybe it's the first sniff that freaks people out.

All I know is, we like what we like, and I'm glad you like Aromatics Elixir! You definitely stand out in a sea of women wearing boring perfume. :)


I love Aromatics Elixir! I think it smells kind of like an attic. It's sexy in a peculiar way; I always get compliments on it!


"Smells like an attic" is a compliment only a perfume-lover could appreciate! I love it.


The initial spritz is so bracing, it is like an olfactory atom bomb, with people running for their lives and shouting "Clear the room!"...while off in the dark corners, one or two perverse souls close their eyes and inhale deeply, mouthing "Ooh la la" under their breaths. I enjoy Aromatics Elixir, espcially the initial stages which are so polarizing, but I can't say it's a huge favorite of mine.

I'm lately finding that for me there is a huge dividing line with the chypres that I am passionate about, and those I merely like. The dividing line is the introduction of Damascenone aromachemicals, first introduced around 1970. Aromatics Elixir, Coriandre, Rive Gauche, Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop, Chanel No. 19...all of them have the same distinctive Damascenone rosiness in them. I find that I prefer the murkier, warmer rose notes that came before Damascenones were introduced, like in Shiseido Zen Classic, Ma Griffe, Miss Dior, YSL Y, etc. Damascenones are definitely more realistic smelling than what came before, but they just smell so immediately identifiable and cold. I dunno. Just my two cents.


Hi Robin. Interesting to hear your take on this most polarizing of scents. It's also interesting to hear about its use of damascones (or Damascenone). Aromatics Elixir is very medicinal to me in a way I find interesting, but unwearable. (Having said that, when I was writing about it, I left it on and got a lot of compliments, so maybe it smells good to others after a while?)


Back in the mid 70s my best friend's significantly older sister kept a bottle of Aromatics Elixir in her bedroom. Whenever the coast was clear I used to sneak into her room and secretly spritz (I was 10 at the time). My best friend used to say to me, "How can you like that stuff? It reminds me of cough syrup!". I did not purchase my own bottle until I was in my early 20s. While wearing it a friend of mine would always grab it out of my bag and spray it on herself. Finally I got her a bottle for Christmas. Needless to say it became her signature scent, so I had to stop wearing it!


I used this "back in the day" and I loved it. Does it still smell wonderful? It must have mixed with my chemistry because other people loved it on me too, several of my friends bought it because they thought it was so nice on me. I'm wanting to revisit it.... So, is it still lovely? Chypre, I love chypre....

PS: When I declare bankruptcy, I wonder if I can blame it on perfume...


I love it Cathlyn, but some people find too medicinal. Check it out at your local mall! The fantastic thing is it's still around.


Thanks, I think I will have another go at it. I know that the best way to wear this one is a small spritz and a "walk through" right after a shower. I remember that I loved the way it smelled. I am just so addicted to perfume.........................


Being addicted to perfume is something I completely understand, Cathlyn! You might want to try the Aromatics Elixir perfumed cream. I got a sample of that and it's a subtle way of wearing what might otherwise be an overwhelming perfume...


This is all cultural, I'm convinced. Interesting discussion, thanks for prompting it!
In Greece Clinique's Aromatics Elixir is neither cheap (it retails the same as any typical scent from Dior or Yves Saint Laurent does) nor is it unpopular; on the contrary, it's firmly in the top-5 at all times, worn to death by all ways of life (but usually from the over 25 years of age group) and immediately identified in the street. The sillage off strangers is even more delicious than wearing the thing on its own!
It's so very popular that a Greek company issuing perfumes has made a comparable scent that is heavily inspired by AE (only it's easier to wear, being a little less strong)
I suppose chypre and eastern mediterranean mix well :-)


Hi Helg from the awesome perfume blog, PerfumeShrine.com! So the ladies in Greece love Aromatics Elixir unreservedly? Interesting. Any theories? (When I tried it on, the Clinique counter sales associate told me that the SAs from Lancome etc. begged her never to spray the stuff. They hated it!) As for your comment, "The sillage off strangers is even more delicious than wearing the thing on its own!" I think you might be onto something. I gave a little to a friend, and when I caught a whiff of it unexpectedly on her weeks later, I thought she smelled amazing. Its initial blast is a bit much perhaps, and it mellows out? Thanks for stopping by!


i like it ok ...but no perfume i have ever worn gets the thumps down from woman sooo much ,,,and thumps up from EVERY man ...and in the end ,,,,man won lol

Lisa Robertson

PS- Straight out of the bottle, AE is overwhelmingly sharp and medicinal. It goes without saying, AE really *must!* be given time to BREATHE and SETTLE on the skin / clothes / hair, to develop into the beauty she is, before you attempt to interact with people! And, of course, this perfume is incredible value for the dollar- A very little bit, goes a very long way! I always lightly dab on all over, using a small cotton swab (like the kind used for removing nail polish)- & then tuck that swab inside my bra... And, especially w/ AE, always remember the primary laws of perfume physics- Scent rises!

Best, Lisa :)


aromatics elixir has me stopped constantly and asked are you wearing essential oils?? you smell fantastic!! so great not to be fruity or floral. the smell is heavenly and it appears to be making comeback. I hope Clinique NEVER discontinues it. while it I love it or hate it, aren't all scents?


It is good, ila — both the current formula and discontinued. That doesnt always happen! And yes, Im glad Clinique still has it. Its a classic!

Jacqui Grainger

This is one of my all time favourites and I wore it exclusively for a long time, taking a break when a work colleague wore it, having moved on - time to reclaim.

Also playing around with Tabu at the moment.


Jacqui, I stop in my tracks anytime I notice someone is wearing it. It is wonderful

Sent from my iPhone


Hi, I linked into this blog via Jezebel and I just love your writing and can't wait to read your book. Aromatics Elixir is one of my all-time favorites. It doesn't work with everyone and can be a 'difficult' scent, but for those fans of it, there is nothing else out there like it, and it hits all the right notes with the die-hards. On me it's a fully-developed masterpiece of a fragrance, as it has its bright florals, creamy boozy notes, of course the green chypre, and deep amber, vetyver, and patchouli at the base. There's a chaos to it that resonates with those who don't it safe with fragrance. I don't wear perfume just to blend in with the wallpaper. It's a mandate from a hippie childhood and being raised in part by a 20s flapper. I hope it never disappears, and, luckily, the current composition is very faithful to the original.


Thanks for stopping by! I think Estee Lauder is one of the few lines that gets their reformulations right. Aromatics Elixir still smells amazing. Ive come to realize that every time I stop a woman now and ask, WHAT are you wearing? I already know the answer; I just want confirmation. Its AE. Distinctive, elegant, and sexy. What more could you want??

Jill Sim

Indeed, re: AE- and thanks for the reply. I've plugged your book on Fragrantica, where I live part of the year (smile). One of the other 'residents' has already read it and loved it.

See: http://www.fragrantica.com/board/viewtopic.php?pid=1623833#p1623833

Happy Holidays, and Happy 'Fuming,'



Wow, Jill. What a compliment! Thank you so much!!


Also, did you see this, Jill? http://www.fragrantica.com/news/Scent-Subversion-Decoding-a-Century-of-Provocative-Perfume-by-Barbara-Herman-4853.html By Ida Meister.

Marie Green

looking for the pureless and strongest aromatics since the 1820's. cant find it. Can you help me find it. Ihe oldest is the strongest and better smelling. Please responded as soon as possible. [email protected] Don't forget : the pureless and strongest since the 1820's.

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