Where Men Can Become Better Gentlemen

Review:

Aramis Classic

Fragrance Producer

Aramis, Estée Lauder Inc., New York City, New York, USA.

Fragrance's History

Estée Lauder started a cosmetics company for ladies in 1946 and with her chemist uncle John Schotz and husband Joesph Lauder, formed a “brother” company with products for men. Launched in 1964 (1965 in the UK) this new branch of the company, and its first cologne for men, was called “Aramis.” The original name for this scent was “Aramis by Aramis”, although most refer to it simply as “Aramis” or (in light of subsequent Aramis variations added across the years) “Aramis Classic.”

Based on their 1959 perfume for women called Cabochard by Grès, it is thought Aramis was initially intended to be ladies perfume and as a result, was the first fragrance for men with the same concentration as ladies Eau de Parum. Targeted as a high-end fragrance for the mature and wealthy, it was also the first men's fragrance to be sold in department stores, no wonder this made people look and take note at the time.

Although relatively unchanged the composition of Aramis was reformulated (we believe) in around 2005. This was in direct response to guidelines produced by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), whereby the use of some natural animal products (such as castoreum from beavers, as used in the original formula for Aramis) had to be replaced with synthetically produced chemicals instead. Although this created some differences in the Aramis scent, it is fair to say Estée Lauder did an excellent job in minimalizing this change, ensuring it has remained true to it’s original character.

Today Aramis Classic is sold in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, and is still going strong. For over half a century this clearly classic fragrance, particularly well known in the USA, has passed through the hands of over three generations of men and shows no signs of stopping at the next generation either.

Nose

The “nose” or perfumer behind this fragrance was Bernard Chant. Born in Grasse, France on 23rd September 1927, he studied chemistry at the University of Lyon and the Sorbonne in Paris before joining American based perfumers Morana Inc. (first incorporated in 1909). Morana became known as International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) in 1958 and after 14 years in the business, Chant was made their Chief Perfumer in 1968. Unfortunately Bernard Chant died in January 1987 at the age of 59, but he had become a legend in his own lifetime and has left us with an enduring legacy for today.

Bernard Chant is best known for his ladies perfumes (although some are considered unisex), made in collaboration with Estée Lauder, including: Aromatics Elixir, Azurée, Beautiful, Cabochard, Cinnabar and Estée. Men’s fragrances included: Aramis 900, Aramis Devlin and JHL - we believe it is fair to say Chant made some great perfumes and Aramis is a true masterpiece from a world class nose.

Fragrance Family

Woody, classic leather chypre fragrance.

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes

Aldehydes, artemisia, bergamot, cinnamon, clover, cumin, gardenia, green grass, myrrh, natural gum, thyme.

Middle (Heart) Notes

Cardamom, clove, jasmine, myrtle, orris root, patchouli, pelargonium, sage (clary sage).

Base Notes

Amber, castoreum, coconut, leather, musk, oakmoss, sandalwood, vetiver.

Fragrance Description

The top and middle notes of this fragrance are filled with a combination of white floral, green grass, orange citrus and warm peppery spice notes which develop into herbal, musky and woody aspects as the base notes start to glimmer. Most of these dissipate within the first few minutes to an hour and make way for the long lasting manly base notes of animalistic leather, woody patchouli, warm amber, suede-like castoreum and (although not noted by ourselves) coconut (as some people do find it, especially in the reformulated version). With the base notes in place, and remaining for a long time, you may find the only just discernable forms of the initial floral, herbal grass, peppery spice and citrus notes appearing from time to time in the shadows. There is also a little sweetness to be discovered in the finish of the reformulated version, which was never found in the original.

This is one of those scents people seem to either love or hate, and for this reason alone should never be bought as a gift, without knowing in advance if the recipient already likes it. The haters respond to the animalistic qualities of this fragrance and it is not unheard of for people’s descriptions of Aramis to include words and phrases like: sweaty armpits, skanky, cat urine, something died, fecal matter, body odor, skunk juice and bad 1970’s porn. Meanwhile, the lovers enjoy the deeply masculine traits and use descriptions like: Alph-male scent, worn leather, musty books, firewood, smoky incense, cigars, musky post-coital sex, sexy testosterone and essence of gladiator. The best thing to do is to try it yourself but remember to spray lightly, if necessary ignore the first hour of wearing it and see if you enjoy the base notes over the following 6 – 12 hours!

Sillage (Projection)

This has a very strong sillage and, depending upon the amount and recency of application, can easily reach over 10 ft away (and much further in some cases). In the average-sized room this can be oppressive to others in the vicinity, so great care is required in its usage. New users should initially try the After Shave (rather than the Eau de Toilette) and decant into an atomizer if necessary.

We suggest the first experimentation with this scent is to spray once on your chest, letting it dry before getting dressed, with the aim of creating an aura rather than a blast zone. Some find they need to wait an hour after applying Aramis, before going out into public spaces, it can be that strong. The reformulation did decrease the sillage a little but it still has superb projection by comparison to many other men’s fragrances. If the post shaving fragrances are too strong you might like to try the other products scented with Aramis instead (see Price below).

Longevity

This is an extremely long lasting scent and it is not unusual for people to be able to detect Aramis at least 12 hours after applying it, and even up to 24 hours later. Clothing impregnated with this fragrance may retain the scent for numerous days and maybe require 1 or 2 washes to remove it from the fabric, so decide carefully where and how you spray it.

Sensation

This intensely masculine scent is boldly self-assured and can easily transfer this feeling to the wearer, like a mantle of confident success. Aramis has maturity and class creating a sense of comforting security to those within range of its sillage. Its warmth is both provocative and inviting, something you want to snuggle up with, like a favorite (olfactory) pet. With notes of incense found in places of spiritual worship this fragrance genuflects at the high alter of manhood.

Season

This is best used during the colder months of late Fall, Winter and early Spring.

Occasion

Time

Casual evening, romantic night or relaxing bedtime fragrance.

Venue

In a gentleman’s club, while in a man cave, at a bar, relaxing on the couch, in bed, sitting on the verandah or around a fire.

Company

With friends, lovers or on your own.

Activities

While reading, listening to music, playing a board game, watching a movie or sports game, chatting, dating or sleeping.

Complimented By

Simple food (burgers, chili etc.), drink (beer or dark spirits) and/or cigar (tobacco).

Name

The scent is named after the fictional character “Aramis” found in the work of the great French writer Alexandre Dumas. Aramis, alongside the other characters of Athos, Porthos and d’Artagnan, are the hero’s in three books: “The Three Musketeers”, “Twenty Years After” and “The Vicomte of Bragelonne.” This final book is sometimes titled “Ten Years After” and is frequently divided into three separate pieces: “The Vicomte de Bragelonne”, “Louise de la Valliere” and “The Man in the Iron Mask.”

Throughout the books we gleam not only the life of Aramis but also some of his character: Although a Jesuit novice when first encounted, and ends up as Superior General of the Jesuits, he chases and loves women and has several society mistresses who support him financially at various times in this literature. He is successful and audacious while being a firm and loyal friend throughout the stories and perhaps this is some of the nature to be found in this fragrance – pious and spiritual but clearly naughty and passionate.

Flacon & Packaging

Made of clear rectangular glass with the name "Aramis" stamped in the middle, it has a tall cold colored cap and is packaged in a brown colored box with a dark wood pattern depicted on it. This simple design is indicative of the 1960’s and has been left untouched since its launch.

Price & Products

$ per oz of EDT.

Aramis is widely available in many countries, although the supporting toiletries (shower gel, deodorant etc.) are more difficult to find. Availability online is fortunately a little better and certainly more convenient than hunting in numerous stores.


Body Shampoo (Shower Gel)

Available online from FragranceNet.com, Macy's and Amazon.


Body Soap

Available online as a bar of soap on a rope from Macy's and as a soap on a rope or in a case from Amazon.


Hair Thickener

Available online from Macy's, Nordstorm and Amazon.


Body Splash

Available online from Nordstorm, Macy's and Amazon.


Deodorant & Antiperspirant

Available from Amazon as a Deodorant Stick, Antiperspirant Stick or as a combined Deodorant & Antiperspirant Roll On.


Shaving Soap

Available from Amazon.


After Shave

Available online from FragranceNet.com, Perfume.com and Amazon.


Eau de Toilette

Available online from FragranceNet.com, Perfume.com and Amazon.


After Shave Balm

Available online from FragranceNet.com and Amazon.

Recommendation

This is an amazing, expertly devised, classic chypre fragrance and if you like other scents from this family there is no reason why you shouldn’t love this one, it might even become your favorite. What makes this one stand out is its ability to balance between the two juxtaposed positions of elegance and sexual abandonment – it needs to be handled by people of maturity (in outlook rather than age).

Even if you have never tried it, or tried it some time ago, it is worth sampling especially as the price is incredibly low for its quality and proven standing across time. Of course, it will not be to everyone’s liking or personal chemistry and must be handled with care, but it would be a crying shame to be put off by its perceived dated image, compared with the lighter style of fragrances around today.

Now…let’s talk about sexual attraction! We do not have empirical data for this but we do have first hand personal experience, plus second hand knowledge of what we have seen and heard from close friends. This raw unmeasured information (based on the original Aramis formula) suggests there are two small groups of females, at opposite ends of the spectrum, either liking or loathing this fragrance. Those who loathe it will give wearers a very wide berth while those who like it, really do like it, and will get as close to you as possible to drink in the aroma. If you have ever heard of or encountered pheromone sprays, you probably have feedback telling you they are a waste of time. Well for the small percentage of ladies who like Aramis, they respond in a way you wished a pheromone spray could induce them to react! Doing the rough math we guesstimate around 2.5% of women respond in this way and, providing they are attracted to you, it makes progress with dating rituals much easier. We suspect some of this comes from the projected manliness of the scent and some from the warm comforting security it generates. Perhaps it brings up memories of fathers and big leathery scented embraces – who knows?

We really love this fragrance and very highly recommend it but, let’s leave the creators with the last words, taken from an advertising campaign they ran during the early 1980’s (we think): "Aramis was created to be the most elegant men's cologne in the world. Somewhere along the way it became the most provocative. Aramis, the impact never fades."

Alternative Fragrances

Here’s our pick of fragrances that are not too far removed from Aramis but might appeal if it’s not quite for you (or if you want to try something a little different):

  • 1 Million by Paco Rabanne (some similarity but with more citrus)
  • Antaeus Pour Homme by Chanel (similar)
  • Aramis Gentleman (much more contemporary)
  • Bel Ami by Hermes (similar)
  • Boucheron Pour Homme by Boucheron (similar)
  • Chanel Pour Monsieur by Chanel (some similarity but with more green notes)
  • Coriolan by Guerlain (similar but lighter and less animalistic)
  • Cuir Mauresque by Serge Lutens (similar but with sweet exotic notes)
  • Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior (fairly similar but with more freshness to it)
  • Fahrenheit by Christian Dior (similar)
  • Gentleman by Givenchy (similar)
  • Knize Ten by Knize (fairly similar but with more citrus and floral freshness to it)
  • L’Homme by Versace (similar)
  • Quorum by Antonio Puig (fairly similar, with less complexity)
  • Tuscany Per Uomo by Aramis (a little more contemporary in style and is good for Summer)

Mentions in Literature

Christopher Moore is a great writer with comedy and drama maintained throughout his many novels. In the first book (of a trilogy) called “Bloodsucking Fiends” you’ll find this quote:

“She could smell dead fish and diesel fuel in the fog, the decay of Oakland mudflats across the bay, old French fries, cigarette butts, bread crusts and fetid pastrami from a nearby trash can, and the residual odor of Aramis wafting under the doors of the brokeridge houses and banks.”


Although not read by us, we understand Aramis is referred to in the book, “The Happy Hooker” by Xaviera Hollander. An infamous prostitute and madam from the 1970’s, apparantly her favorite scent on a lover’s skin is Aramis…and German Shepherds!



Another book unread by ourselves is “The Perfect Scent” by Chandler Burr, in it he refers to this fragrance, saying: “Aramis makes a fine garage floor sterilizer.”

Read or Watch


Spray on some Aramis, grab yourself a drink, light a cigar and now…

Settle in for a perfectly relaxed evening by...


Being entertained with the works of Dumas and his fictional Musketeers (including the eponymous Aramis).


Find out more about Estée Lauder and their Fragrances for Men.



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