Of bumble bees and British tweed… Aromatics Elixir by Clinique The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

No one was actually sure if she was actually British at all.

It might just have been that she was bossy, boozy, a bit of an intellectual bully and bloody well bizarre.

What everyone knew was that the tweed wearing battleaxe had definitely worked across ‘The Pond’ as a biochemist or arboriculturist, well something botanical, anyhow.

And if you dared ask her about that smell that stood five feet before her it was so bold, she’d reply

“Brewers’ Yeast: for the vitamin B. Keeps everything ticking along under the bonnet.”

Which apparently was British: meaning the engine under the hood was running okay.

But you know, all the same, the accent wasn’t right: more Bryn Mawr than Blighty if you ask me.

There was certainly still a little of that lab about her though, some people said she experimented to this day in an outbuilding round the back, away from prying eyes.

Yep, it definitely wasn’t just the sour fragrance of fermentation, there was a sort of organo-chemical kick that she carried along with her too.

I don’t know, maybe the aroma of asparagus maybe the smell of passing water after eating asparagus.

Either way it was an unwieldy sort of a waft.

She’d bought the farmstead up near the woods, a damp spot nobody else much took a liking too, because it reminded her of that unspecified ‘home’ of hers.

She lived self-sufficiently, after a fashion, collecting wood for the fire, scrapping off the bitter moss and leaving the fuel to dry in an old barn.

Sometimes as winter approached and it got too wet up there for safe storage, she made her own charcoal to see herself through the cold months.

She never asked a soul for help.

She relied on no one except herself.

Her garden was immaculate, her pride and joy, but she grew nothing she couldn’t eat, or so she joked.

All the same a woman who took eggs and the like up from the village, her only concession to community, the nearest thing to a friend she had, said there were often cut flowers in there.

Carnations or geraniums mostly, always red, like the out of joint lipstick she wore sometimes, mainly on her teeth. Blooms in a plain vase on a bare table in a cold kitchen, where hearth and stove were rarely lit.

Over chamomile or sage tea she gave nothing much away to her confidant, apart from that infamous aroma, deepened inside the hut by the patchouli oil she burnt. Only that when she went off in that station wagon of hers it was to teach science at some delinquent school across in the next county.

They only called her in when things were really bad.

“Never blame the children’ she said ‘it’s always the parents, that’s why they are, we all are, as we are.”

“They fetch me in when the adults need the fright of God put in them .”

She smiled knowingly and sighed.

‘The good Lord knows the smell of me would scare most people in this state from fifty feet out’.

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique is one of the most disgustingly delectable fragrances ever committed to scent.

Everything is absolutely wrong with it.

It is too sharp, too bitter, too sage, too hard.

It has too much oakmoss, too much darkness in the patchouli, too chemical an edge to the aldehydes, too much dirty wood smoke.

Too much everything and then some.

It really is the tough spinster with a terrible past who lives on the hill.

But it is unspeakably wonderful at exactly the same time.

It works precisely because it shouldn’t

Just as according to the rules of physics the bumble bee shouldn’t fly so according to the teachings perfumery this fragrance should never take flight, and yet the scent soars.

Rules 0. The Clinique All Star Bumble Bees 2.

Oh and as for the regulations concerning men’s and women’s perfume? Late goal.

Anyone with a personality as big as this bold old gal has earned the right to fill a room with it.

I make that a three nil win for Bees and Elixirs.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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17 responses to “Of bumble bees and British tweed… Aromatics Elixir by Clinique The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Lilybelle

    What a great review, and a great character! I loathe Aromatics Elixir, but I love it too. 🙂

    • Dearest Lily
      I know, it’s a ‘how I love to hate you, hate to love you’ scent if ever there were one.
      Generally I wear it when out walking, as it can illicit all sorts of unwelcome comments if worn indoors.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. fleurdelys

    An excellent, and accurate, description of this difficult fragrance. There are so many notes in there that I should like, but this strident old gal is too much of a kick in the head for me. Just a sniff at the tester’s nozzle is enough to keep me from going any further!

    • Dearest Fleur
      This is a veritable symphony of notes.. but a very modern, quite difficult one, without much in the way of melodies!.
      So many people say that they fall at the first hurdle and never get past sniffing the tester… maybe I have some S&M tendencies, for I can’t help going back for more!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. rosestrang

    I can’t believe I haven’t tried it yet! It’s on my list to test now, definitely.
    I think this woman is great – she can lead us all out economic disaster. I bet she knows how to build boilers and engines from scratch and grow vegetables in the harshest conditions. I’m clueless about such things but increasingly feel the urge to remedy this, must be all these community gardens springing up, not to mention the hilarious, mad characters you meet in survivalist documentaries – they’re looking less mad these days!

    Another character that leaps of the page/screen Sir Dandy, most enjoyable, I seem to be typing in clipped sentences now, which is how I imagine she speaks!

    • Dearest Rose
      I can’t believe you haven;t tried this yet either… it’s ubiquitous and (hugely popular so I’m told) though rarely talked of.
      As for our ‘lady in the woods’ yes, just the person to come to the fore and rallying the troops out of ‘the great recession’.
      I have her as a sort of young Margaret Rutherford crossed with Katherine Hepburn… does that make sense at all? Batty, feisty and bloody determined.
      Do you remember a documentary some years ago about a woman who (then in her 70s I think) had lived alone on the Yorkshire Moors(?) no electric, running water or tv and thought nothing of it?
      That’s her… but with less Christian devotion and more scientific spike!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Dear Mr Dandy

    You have hit the nail on the head. This is both repellent and wonderful at the same time. Worn sparingly, and in its late stages, it is lovely and I am often in the slipstream of many a woman who wears it. However, when it just goes on and is still wet, it could kill a man at thirty paces.

    In its drydown stage it reminds me a little of Youth Dew, another one that could go wrong, but doesn’t. My mother hates it but I am rather fond of it.

    Your friend

    • Dearest Iscent
      What I find so remarkable about such a challenging scent is that it is so incredibly popular.
      Staff working Clinique counters say they shift it by the gallon and it fetches handsome prices on online auction houses.
      Yet, this would never ever be released by a mainstream house today… indeed it would be quite challenging by niche standards.. fitting neatly into Byredo’s line I’d say.
      Proof positive then to this gent’s way of thinking that the perfume buying public’s tastes are much more Catholic and cosmopolitan than the overwhelming anodyne releases of today would have us believe.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Dear Mr Dandy,

        I couldn’t agree more. As perfume consumers, I feel we are constantly being underestimated and fed the tame stuff.

        I live in a medium sized Welsh town, not “posh”, and yet I smell more Grands Dames smelling of Aromatics Elixir than any other perfume. I never smell it on anyone under 60 and that’s a shame.

        The “old lady” scents knock spots off the youngsters. I will never understand why it’s an insult, it should be a compliment.

        Your friend

      • Dearest Iscent
        ‘A medium-sized Welsh town’… now you have my curiosity truly piqued.
        I would say that, generally speaking, women over 55 wear far more adventurous, interesting, high quality perfumes than all the demographics beneath them.
        And what;s more, what they wear, far from fitting an ‘old lady’ cliche is so diverse… from Diorissimo to Chanel 5 to Amarige to Bandit to Aromatics Elixir to Vol de Nuit and Narcisse Noir.
        Impeccable taste expressed across a range of fragrances (and scarcely a flanker in sight).
        I wonder if the perfume heritage of this age group will be as rich in the future?
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • Dear Mr Dandy,

        Your list of “Grande Dame” perfumes had my mouth watering: Vol de Nuit! Amarige! Bandit! Yes please to all. Sadly I fear the next generation of mature perfume consumers will not fare as interestingly.

        Your friend

  5. I have this as a candle (a job for which this scent is brilliant).

    • Dearest Nukapi
      I’ve seen the candle online but never in the flesh (so to speak) I can imagine that it must work marvellously…. does it bring something of the outdoors inside?
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • I suppose, yes 🙂 Or another way of putting it: you get the impression that someone wearing the scent has recently walked by. It’s less harsh as a candle. Less strong, too. It has actually been my favourite autumn candle. It definitely has something of damp soil and rotting leaves about it but in a good way. As a candle.

      • Dearest Nukapi
        I know exactly the sensation… for this is a perfume that leaves a trail! It’s now on my ‘must find’ list as The Dandy is a fiend for a scented candle.
        I’m also all for ‘damp soil and rotting leaves but in a good way’. Wonderful.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Alice

    I’ve always hugely admired this one, and even worn it from time to time, however it often really is a bit, well…just too much! Luckily the wonderful people at Estee Luader still do the 10ml bottles, so I can keep a little for those moments when I want just a tiny spritz. They also do a range of excellent matching body products, (if only others would, there are countless perfumes I would purchase if only they came in tiny bottles, even though I’m fully aware I am paying far more per ml – decants don’t do it for me, I want a Real Bottle, just small..I hope all you perfume companies are reading this!!)
    For some reason I always think of AE on dark winter days in London, when being jostled by Christmas shopping crowds, perhaps because it cuts through the fug and gloom.

    • Dearest Alice
      You find me in nothing but agreement here.
      Admiration rather than profound affection is undoubtedly the chief emotion this aroma inspires.
      Likewise one has to bow down to the wisdom of those marketing bods at Estee Lauder that came up with the idea of making this potent perfume available in so many sizes… of course Chanel now and again do something similar and at Christmas it’s possible to get Shalimar gift sets with a bonus ‘purse size’ companion, but why aren’t more available this way.
      Dark winter nights in London… yes that’s this scent all over, so I can see a few more wears coming its way over the weeks ahead!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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