Introduced by Estée Lauder in 1964, Aramis is said to be the first prestige men’s fragrance offered in department stores. It was first released in New York then became available in Harrod’s the year following its release.
Today it is now sold in over 120 countries and is often associated with 1970s disco culture. The nose for Aramis was Bernard Chant and was something of a precursor to many contemporary fragrances today.
What makes Aramis particularly unique is that it’s a Chypre for men. Although this was once relatively commonplace, today it’s rather rare. A Chypre is often characterised by a bergamot head, and a heart composed of oak moss and labdanum.
In Aramis’ case, the Chypre structure is somewhat altered and accompanied by a leather accord. This is created through smoky, burnt wood and musky notes.
Aramis’ bergamot head is immediately contrasted by bitter notes of artemisia, which create a compelling opening. Aromatic thyme follows along with a spicy touch of black pepper.
Next, the head fades to reveal dark, earthy patchouli sweetened by a jasmine essence. Aromatic notes of clove and sage linger to provide an element of complexity.
As the patchouli lingers before fading, fresh oak moss emerges along with powerful notes of labdanum and sandalwood. These notes work together to create a vivid amber accord. Meanwhile, a long guaiacwood finish develops overt notes of leather.
Finally, the resulting accord developed by the base is reminiscent of an aristocrat’s old drawing room. Worn leather chesterfields wrap around a Persian rug. Meanwhile, polished wooden antique furniture host a plethora of curiosities and books. Opposite a roaring fireplace is a cabinet full of refined spirits such as cognac or whisky.
The One’s Life-Cycle
Needless to say, Aramis follows a very conventional dry down in which the head, heart and base evaporate in an orderly fashion. Nevertheless, the fragrance is far from linear and a number of complex accords interact to create its unique ethos.
Nevertheless, the head itself is very fleeting and achieves only its function to introduce the scent. The heart that follows lingers somewhat before the iconic base steps in to take its place.
Wake & Strength Of Aramis
Overall, Aramis is very much a power frag by definition. Both the sillage and projection are overly strong, which are held in place by an enduring longevity. This is a fragrance that will happily last you throughout the day and perhaps even the night that follows.
Although it performs exceedingly well, the wearer should take extreme care not to over-apply. Over-application is a little too easy with Aramis and the result is a very bitter and off-putting wave of artemesia and labdanum.
Aramis is a delicate fragrance to pull off. As the feedback has shown, its perception is relatively polarising. Overall, it appears that the fragrance is enjoyed more by men than women. However, there are a few women that do enjoy its musky masculinity. Nevertheless, in this day and age, the number appears to dwindle in comparison.
Meanwhile, it appears to be more successful among older men who would enjoy wearing it. Consequently, this is a very mature fragrance that is best worn by men approaching or within their forties.
With regards to its seasonality, this is certainly a fragrance that performs best during the cold months. Given that it features such a rich woody bouquet, it’s unlikely that it will be as appealing during summer. Chances are that this is a fragrance best reserved for the winter given its leather and amber accords.
In addition, this is notably an evening fragrance. It’s not a fragrance that would accompany the daylight particularly well. Furthermore, it’s more of a romantic fragrance.
However, great care should be taken as it is very powerful. You’ll want to use it sparingly and even then, it may not meet with your date’s approval. Similarly, this is a ridiculously masculine fragrance. To quote Anchorman, 60% of the time it works every time.
Presentation and Value For Money
As a nod to its pedigree, Aramis comes in a similar bottle to that of its release. A very conventional bottle, with “Aramis” concisely yet elegantly written across the front in a serif font like a plaque. The clear glass allows you to admire light amber liquid and the atomiser is concealed by a gold-coloured plastic stopper.
Furthermore, the atomiser performs very well. This is quite fortunate as given how strong the fragrance is, you need something that allows you absolute control of what you apply. The spray is very decisive and misty, giving an even dispersal.
However, the packaging is not particularly attractive. In fact, it’s reminiscent of the boxed used for Tabac Pour Homme, another fragrance of the same era. It would seem that reddish cardboard was in at the time. However, today it looks quite dated.
Finally, Aramis’ value for money is nothing short of excellent. With an RRP of $32 per 100ml (3.4 Oz), you get a lot of bang for your buck given how strong it is.
Charles-Philippe's work has covered a broad range of subjects from cigars and fragrances to wine and spirits. Fascinated by how history and culture together form the unique contemporary identities of alcoholic beverages, his articles follow an in-depth exploration of their development through a combination of tradition and innovation.