You Sniff It Friday

We gave y’all three scents to sniff, and we are posting your reviews on those scents. Y’all had a lot to say, so this was really fun for us to do!

Clinique Happy


  • Am I going to hell if I say I like this fragrance? It’s cheerful. I always get compliments on it. It’s one of those summer scents that works if you want something undemanding and fun, like a gal-pal you don’t make plans with but always have a good time with, spending a Saturday morning window shopping.
  • Happy is a harmless floral, best on a very young woman. Keep in mind that it doesn’t keep well; the citrus top notes fade with time.
  • Once smelled this on a waitress at a local restaurant, and it smelled divine on her. But on me, Happy is not so, well, happy! It smells harsh, strong and chemical.
  • I had the misfortune to try Clinique Happy in a Foley’s (back before Macy’s) when I was young and impressionable and was lead to believe that Clinique was an upscale makeup line…*shudder* My thoughts were somewhere between “Does this contain DEET?” to “The horror! The horror!” Nothing but mosquite repellant.
  • Pretty and inoffensive. I smell a not-quite-realistic orange (more like powdered orange drink mix) and some sweet, clear florals (freesia?). It reminded me of something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on…and then it came to me. Bond No. 9’s new Union Square! Not exactly the same, but very similar in style. Plus Tang.
  • Soapy, shower fresh scent. Easily wearable. I’m kind of over this one, but I don’t dislike it, it’s just that I used to like it much more.
  • orange. If you want to be a giant orange…
  • I dislike the initial fakey blast but once it settles down it’s very pretty, milky skin scent is really pleasant.

Clinique Aromatics Elixir

  • For 20+ years I’ve tried to love this fragrance. I hate it. Picked up a bottle of Pure Parfum (perfect condition) last week at an estate sale for a whopping 30 cents. Sprayed just a touch in the air just inside the front door. THANK GOD it was a warm day. Fans going for an hour, with all the windows open….me outside. El O came home and said “wow! the house smells nice!”. Proof that there is something for everyone.
  • Why spend a zillion bucks on Tom Ford Moss Breches when there’s Aromatics Elixir, its original? Be sure you give this only to someone who can carry a strong chypre. Someone gave my then-eighty-year-old mother a set, and it was just loud perfume overload.
  • I used to hate this one, because it smelled so overpowering on everyone who wore it. But I discovered a secret: Just one spritz to the chest will do. It lasts all day, and smells like a fine French fragrance. It does, it really does!
  • I have never hated a perfume as much as I hate Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir. Since I sold Clinique way back when, I HAD to wear it at the counter and I thought I would die. Anytime I read that something else smells like AE, I automatically know that I will hate it to death.
  • I’m glad that I gave this one a good, long try. On a paper strip, it always seemed rather rough and scary. But on my skin, it turns into a smooth, velvety, classic chypre. It’s herby and casually sophisticated in a finely-tailored-tweed-suit sort of way.
  • Hard core. This is a scent for people who want to announce their arrival with a megaphone. I hadn’t tried this in a really long time and it blew me away. There is a lot going on in this one. This screams 70’s all the way. There are some massive flowers in there (ylang ylang and jasmine, tuberose) that along with the oakmoss (and some really green notes too) really overwhelm. This is not a fragrance for the faint hearted. Bottom line, it’s a classy hippie scent that really makes a statement, but I would never wear it. Actually, I did put it on my wrist, but I was not happy.
  • Harsh vetiver, florals barely discernible. When this is compared to Montale’s Vetiver Oriental, it’s enough to make you weep for the abuse of the note.
  • I love Aromatics Elixir! I’ve worn it off and on since it was introduced in the early 70’s. My nose isn’t capable of defining each individual component of the fragrance but on me, the patchouli note is the most predominant. My friend also wears it; on her the rose and jasmine comes forward and it is much sweeter. I get undertones of that softness too.
  • I’m very happy with my sophisticated chypre and tend to wear it when I want to feel “tailored,” whether I’m wearing clothes for the office or jeans.
  • This will never appeal to me no matter how many times I smell it. Its astringent, green twiggy, herbal quality smells to me like an treatment for poison ivy.

Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl

  • Perfume Shrine and Scent Signals have some thoughts on Tommy girl today, so make sure to check it out.

  • This is a great weekend fragrance! I wear it when I´m kickin´ back or hanging out with my family. It´s fresh and uplifting with a slight spiciness to it (must be the tea) that makes it interesting and fun.
  • I really like Tommy Girl. It’s such a perfect scent for jeans, T-shirt and All Stars day. Fresh and clean without being annoying. I get transparent florals, which I love. This perfume exudes confidence and doesn’t try to be sexy, because of this, to me it is. It’s like the way some people are the sexiest when they’re dressed down and in jeans – not trying too hard? That’s the way I feel about Tommy Girl. Oddly enough, my Mom steals spritzes of this one every once in a while, so I guess you could say that it’s not an exclusively “young” scent. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think it’s exclusively a “girl” scent either.
  • I have a coworker who always sprays on a generous amount of the same perfume every day. I always assumed that it was something by the Gap. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it did strike me as harsh. One day, my curiosity overcame my shyness and I asked her what it was. Her answer: Tommy Girl. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t recognized it! Tommy Girl was my first real perfume, a Christmas gift when I was thirteen years old. I still have my near-full bottle from back then, so I must not have worn it much. I have some current Tommy Girl on my wrist right now, and it is the same as my bottle at home. I can describe it in one word: Soap. If I have to be a little more specific: Flowery soap. It smells like I’ve just washed my hands. It’s not a bad smell, by any means, and as clean-shower-fresh-soap scents go, this one is quite good, but if I want to smell like soap, I’ll take a shower!
  • I gave this to my 16 year old daughter a couple years ago so I’ve been smelling it wafting through the kitchen at a very early hour for a couple of years now. On a good day it is bright, fresh and pretty — perfect for her age and I like smelling it on her. Tommy Girl has a high headache factor though and there is no way I can agree with the experts that it is extraordinary, or a “masterpiece”. It’s not interesting enough for that.

nose image:

  • Girl-Woman says:

    What a fantastic review of fragrances!!!! Please do that type of review again.

  • minette says:

    i came very late to all three of these… and of the trio i most like AE. it has spunk and backbone. in the right dose it’s lovely. and even though i don’t like TG much at all, i like H even less. i was actually surprised by the way it smelled, having read about it for so long. it was more watery and soft than i expected. it didn’t punch my “hate it” button the way TG did, and that may be why i like it less than TG. at least TG put up a fight!

    • March says:

      My recollection is I liked Happy for Men better, but … who the heck wears Happy for Men? I mean, I think if I handed it to my husband he’d think I’d lost my mind, but what do I know? Maybe we are the wrong demographic. /:)

  • Jenavira says:

    The scent of my high school years are Happy and Tommy Girl; I always preferred the scent of Tommy Girl well it’s sillage anyways, I on the other hand was determined to be different by wearing Lolita Lempicka. Still have yet to try Aromatics Elixir; it scares me a little.

    • Public service anouncement then: if AE scares you, then you should try Apivita Earth which is very much similar but more wearable.
      I had reviewed them side by side on my “Twin Peaks” feature last winter, if you want to go read.

  • Flor says:

    Massive fun reading everyone’s reviews!

  • donanicola says:

    Will sniff TG again next time I see it just to make sure, but the one time I did I thought it was pleasant enough though most definitely NOT my thing. Happy just looks nuclear and irritates my inner goth with its relentless cheeriness. AE I like alot but don’t wear as it is STRONG! I used to love/wear the body cream and have fond memories of the trouble I got into at a couple of parties back in the time when I wore it (it was like catnip to some guys) 🙂

    • March says:

      I have never tried the cream and you are the second person to comment on it. I don’t know a lot of their classics (although of course it would come in body products.) I am surprised to hear it’s catnip, but then men like all sorts of interesting smells! Or as LT and TS said in The Guide, what men want: bacon. 😉

  • Kim says:

    That’s it! Judith up above nailed it!! I keep thinking I should love AE since I Love Chypres – but AE doesn’t excite me, seems a bit generic. So yes, you can put together those words – standard chypre! :-j
    For me, AE just doesn’t compare to Paloma or Sisley’s Soir de Lune let alone Sous le Vent. (and Soir de Lune got only 1 star in the Perfume Guide? Go figure? I think it’s a great chypre, better than AE, but what do I know?)

    • March says:

      Kim, come back on Monday and let’s discuss the Sisley. They are not my thing, but I was very surprised to see Sisley Soir de Lune and Eau (I think both?) got one star.

      AE to me feels like …. it’s like a power signature scent. Like Youth Dew. You wear that and that’s all you wear, and everything in your life smells like it. It doesn’t seem like something you’d wear casually.

      • Kim says:

        definitely agree – AE is a power scent but I wore Paloma alot for years so maybe my nose is accustomed to it? Or it says something about my love of strong scents !! Mind you, Guerlain has a few like that (Shalimar comes to mind) – strong in a very different way, but strong none the less! Looking forward to Sisley’s on Monday – I have really only tried Soir de Lune and would love to hear some other opinions!

        • March says:

          Well, if you like Paloma too, yes, you like some strong scents! 🙂 I am going to ask everyone on Monday who’s read The Guide to throw out any topics/particular fragrance/ratings for discussion.

  • Erin T says:

    I tried on Tommy Girl yesterday in a desperate attempt to have something to say about it. I’d sprayed it on a strip and it smelled rather interesting, although not particularly distinctive (I don’t remember when it came out, and therefore can’t properly credit its originality.) On my skin in was APPLE and not much else for some time and that was just disturbing. But then I went to a cafe and two people told me I smelled wonderful, which never happens to me. One was a man and the other was the counter woman, who seemed politely distressed that I did not tell her the name of the fragrance. I would have, but I didn’t know whether they were commenting on Tommy Girl or the Kenzo Jungle Pour Homme I was wearing on the other arm. I would like to report it was the Kenzo, but I reached over the counter with my right hand, and so I think I must report it was Tommy Girl. Odd. BTW, like AE, and always have.

    • March says:

      Ooooh, completely distracted by Jungle PH!!!! What does THAT smell like?!?!? What is wrong with me that I haven’t tried it? And given the popularity of Tommy Girl, clearly a lot of people think it smells *great.* Apple would disturb me too, though.

      • Erin T says:

        Groovy spicy number, with lots of nutmeg and ginger up top, and a very, very creamy base (“buttermilk backdrop” I think TS wrote, and that seems accurate.) It’s no surprise that *I* like it – right up my alley – but I think you would like it, too. I believe Dusan is a fan. Not as wacky as the old Elephant, but very comfortable and just generally better done than your average masculine. The bottle is a hoot, it has a little brushy zebra mohawk thing on the cap – kind of cutely cheesy.

        • March says:

          Lord … I see an unsniffed purchase in my future.

        • Dusan says:

          Erin, yes, I *am* a fan of Jungle PH, how cool you remember! 🙂
          Just got back to town and see I am long overdue for a reply to your lovely email. You know, it just made my day! 😡

  • Judith says:

    I guess I am feeling Elle-ish today. I am not sure what Happy and Tommy Girl smell like. I like AE fine, but (surprise!) I can’t say I love it–or wear it. It doesn’t seem overwhelming to me, just a standard chypre (I can’t believe I just put the last two words together, but it feels very generic IMO; while it has all the elements–including its chypre-ness–that should excite me, it simply doesn’t).

    • March says:

      Patty on here somewhere suggested AE should be remade into a candle, and as soon as I read that, I thought, that is SO PERFECT.

  • Elle says:

    I have a thing for underdogs of any sort, so given the almost universal panning of AE, I’ve always felt I *should* be able to give it some love. Sadly, no. Actually, I’m simply neutral about it. I shall continue to try it in hopes that I can work up some stronger feeling about it one way or the other.
    Hmm…am trying to think if I’ve smelled Happy or not. I don’t think I have. Nor have I smelled Tommy Girl, but I absolutely now have sniffing both of them on the top of my list of things to do next time I get to a mall.

    • March says:

      Happy I can never remember the smell of, which as I said to someone up there doesn’t bode well. Tommy Girl I can remember, but I’m still not on board with the accolades. However, part of my problem is that it doesn’t smell good on *me* — the opening is sour and unpleasant. You have plenty of other things to wear anyway. 😉

  • Marina says:

    I have only this to say about Tommy Girl. An ex used to wear it. He considered it superior to Tommy Boy or whatever the male version is. And it did smell great on him.

    • March says:

      I do like the fact that he would wear Tommy Girl without any concern for what it might do to his masculine image. That’s great.

  • You obviously had a giggle by now with my little spoof and with M’s survey on “Tommy Girl”, so I won’t repeat myself. <:-p "Aromatics Elixir" is one fragrance I always, always, always compliment on people, like I had said before (it smells fabulous at a little distance!), but somehow is a bit much to wear on one's self. The Velvet Sheer is perhaps the best formulation or the body cream which is plenty. It's also quite respected by other perfumers, referenced a lot and I can see why: this gigantic patchouli hiding a potent rose with magical roots is quite something. "Happy" is rather middle of the road: could be pleasant, under the right circumastances, but why bother anyway? |-) Excellent idea for a post!

    • March says:

      I’ve never tried the Sheer, I must remedy that. And you’re right — Aromatics is a fragrance I have complimented on other people, but have no desire to wear it myself. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Okay, someone has to wear AE! I wish more people did because it’s great, but not something you want close all the time. Maybe it should be a candle?

  • MattS says:

    Oh wow, I can’t believe Aromatics Elixir got so much abuse. I love it. When making a generic mall stroll, it’s usually one of the only things I can find to pick up and sniff and enjoy. It smells distinct when everything else in our Belk’s Department store seems the same. It does seem to get saddled with the “old lady” scent reputation, but lots of times, that just means I’m gonna like a fragrance. I used to sneak spritzes of this from my mom, which suddenly seems like a bit of a stupid act of thievery, as if she wouldn’t be able to smell it and know exactly what I was wearing.

    I sniffed Happy at the mall this weekend and can’t remember a thing about it, other than pushing it out of my way when I saw there was a tester of Youth Dew I wanted to try. Now that was greaaaaaaat stuff, although I giggle every time I see the name. Me and my dirty mind…

    Tommy Girl? Can’t even fake it. Not remotely interested. I didn’t even bother looking for a tester this weekend. You-know-who may think it’s five-stars but I’ve read enough on here and elsewhere from others to know that I’d just think it’s you-know-what.

    • March says:

      Hey, while you were sniffing the Youth Dew (snerk) did you see the original Azuree? All leathery and stuff … if you like AE and Youth Dew, it seems like a good fit for you.

      The fact that I can never remember what happy smells like is not a good sign, IMO.

      • MattS says:

        I looked for the Azuree, but didn’t see it. I did take a whiff of Youth Dew Amber Nude and was fairly impressed with that.

    • Patty says:

      I dug the AE too. Yeah, it’s strong and makes a statement, but in reserved doses, it’s amazing.

    • Musette says:

      I decided to ‘go bold’ and spritz Tommy Girl on one wrist and White Shoulders on the other, never having tried either, to my recollection. Gotta tell ya, I’ll take WS over TG any day. I had a headache from the TG whilst WS was sort of generic powder – probably smelled way different in its original incarnation.

      the things I do for this Posse;))

  • Maria says:

    Very interesting reviews, everybody! I feel I learned a lot about the scents. Let’s do this again.

    On a sadder perfume note, Helg on Perfumeshrine has posted a beautiful eulogy for Alpona, my favorite chypre. The heartless wretches who own Caron have killed it. Goodbye, lovely one. @};-

    • Thank you for the kind compliment Maria, it kills me I had to do it upon discontinuation: I should have done it much sooner and split some with someone 🙁

      • Louise says:

        I saw your follow-up that Alpona will still be available in the Paris stores-I had a similar experience being told by the NY boutique that Tabac Blond EdT was discontinued-later that day I ordered from Paris 🙂

        • Please bear in mind I do not put high trust in someone who taxed with such a question denies it (as I do not either in someone who asked if something is there and they don’t actually have it in stock is saying that it’s discontinued).:-@

          I believe we will find out for sure soon enough.

    • Patty says:

      This was fun, we hope to make it a regular feature. HOpefully once Lee is back, we can do it on Saturdays or something!