I first encountered Aramis in the 1980s when I received a set of mini bottles as a gift. Since it was a small bottle I would only use it on “special” occasions. It was my favorite among what I had (Old Spice, Brut, Stetson, and a couple others). As a young teenager with little money, I certainly wasn’t going to buy a designer fragrance at a department store. I still have that mini bottle and I tried it recently, the first time in over a year. The last time I tried it I didn’t like it, but my sensitivity was high back then. This time, with considerably lower sensitivity, I was surprised at how good I thought it was, in particular the opening, which I had never enjoyed before. Undeniably, a strong leather note soon emerged.
Today I’m wearing some vintage Aramis Fortified Cologne, which I picked up on ebay a few months back. This is my third wearing, the first being a dab sampling and the last two being regular. This seems to be quite different, which no strong opening and an almost buttery drydown. The leather is much more subtle in this one, and I don’t’ understand how it was “fortified,” other than possibly possessing more amber. Here is the note pyramid for Aramis from Fragrantica.com:
“The opening notes are grassy green and fresh, spiced with cinnamon. The heart is woody with pelargonium, which possesses an intensive floral-spicy aromatic scent. The perfume ends with a massive leather note.
Top notes: artemisia, bergamot, cinnamon, gardenia;
Middle notes: pelargonium, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood;
Base: leather, oakmoss, amber.”
AFC does have a kind of grassy quality as well as the “floral-spicy aromatic” element, and I have no doubt vetiver is in here, but there is no “massive” leather note. A few hours later now, and the leather has not gotten strong. Instead, this is more of a “masculine floral.” Unfortunately, with an old splash bottle that I recently acquired from an anonymous person who knows what I’m smelling? I do think there is enough of Aramis to say that it is a variation, and also it’s strong enough so that it’s not likely to have been diluted. It definitely is rich and natural-smelling, better in those respect that most niche I’ve sampled but there isn’t much of a “wow factor.” Though somewhat frustrating in some ways this kind of situation does make one feel like a bit of a pioneer or treasure hunter. If anyone knows more about AFC, please leave a comment and tell us !
Note: Over at the http://frompyrgos.blogspot.com, we are told (in the entry entitled “Fendi Donna (Fendi)” that: “I don’t make it a habit to review discontinued perfumes, because people can’t buy them anymore, can’t find them anywhere, and wind up shelling out hundreds of dollars for something that might only cost $60 if the manufacturer randomly decides to re-release. It’s the sort of hilariously un-funny thing that happened to Red for Men fans when Giorgio Beverly Hills (now licensed by some other entity) decided to crash the ebay party of hawking half-used bottles for $150 each. Suddenly, there’s Red for Men sitting at Marshalls for $15 again, no more a hit this time around.”
First of all, as this person likely knows, there are regulations now that may make it impossible for most if not the overwhelming majority of scents from that period being reissued without significant changes to how the scent smells. Secondly, Red For Men was a very complex scent, and the cost to reissue it so that it smelled nearly identical to the original would be too high for the likes of a company that reformulates badly (EA Fragrances), IMO (though if you read some posts on the major sites I think you’ll come across others who are of the sample opinion). Third, the new version smells nothing like the original, IMO, and so there seems to be a very good reason why few want that version of it. The original is one of my “all time” favorites but I wouldn’t think of wearing the new one, even if I had none of the orginal (keep in mind I have a very large rotation and I do wear some reformulations along with their original counterparts). I’m quite happy that Red for Men was reissued and then “flooded the market,” because I was able to pick up a couple of bottles very inexpensively on ebay, since I know what to look for (the original boxes didn’t say Vaporisateur, from what I understand).
Lastly, I’ll mention that before Red for Men was released the same company marketed its first men’s scent, Giorgio for Men, which was essentially a smoother and more complex Givenchy Gentleman. One can also find many bottles of this one on ebay, selling for low prices. I mention this because the reformulated version shares little in common with the original, which has very strong patchouli in it. If there is patchouli in the new one, it’s minimal. I don’t mind wearing the new version of this one on very cold days, when I think I will be outside for more time than usual. And while I like the original, I find it difficult to wear under any conditions, though it clearly has high-quality ingredients (the balance is way off for me). Every batch of a scent is essentially a unique one; even if those in charge of getting it to smell exactly like the last batch do their job, that doesn’t mean you won’t detect a difference where they do not! And of course, over time bottles from the same batch can begin to smell different.
UPDATE: Now, over at http://frompyrgos.blogspot.com, we are told (in the post entitled “Canoe (Dana)”): “Has Canoe been reformulated down from what it used to be, back when it was sold in the more Art Deco-looking bottle shown above? Certainly, but it doesn’t matter.”
It may not matter to this individual, but I am contacted, I’d guess once a month if not more, but someone who is seeking the original version of these kinds of scent. Two days ago someone was looking for original Blue Stratos, for example. In something as subjective as this, how can you tell people that their sense of smell is somehow “wrong” and clearly imply that if you don’t listen to them there is something wrong with your ability to appreciate scent?