It’s difficult to imagine anyone but Bernard Chant behind Aramis 900. After all, he made everything else that smells like it, excepting Bandit.
Released in 1973, Araqmis 900 is a woody, herbal masculine with a bright cirtus opening and a dense, deep rose heart.
The fragrance has a slightly fecal, animalic character, most noticeably up top, and relates to the chypres Chant is famous for. It has the tang of Aramis, Azuree, and Cabochard, not just up top but at the base, likely from vetiver, and their floral embellishments too.
Luca Turin was surprised to learn that today's Aramis is nearly identical to the old Cabochard. It might surprise less seasoned connoisseurs just how similar Aramis 900 is to Aromatics Elixir. What surprises more than anything is how little difference there is between them. If they're brother/sister fragrances, then their relationship is decidedly incestuous.
It goes some way toward indicating how conditioned we are to segregate fragrances down a gender divide. Once the marketers have assured us enough that one can be safely worn by women and the other by men, we separate them in our minds, convincing ourselves the distinctions remain safely in place. A similar phenomenon tends to happen in general with fragrances, complicating things. Until someone points out the marked presence of violet in Halston, you might smell only “floral” and “woods.” Once you’re told, you can hardly smell anything else. That smell is deeply tapped in to memory is old news. Few explore how suggestible the sense is.
The truth is that if you’re inclined to wear 900 you might as well cross the aisle and pick up AE instead. While both are strong, AE is stronger, its rose less apologetic, its sillage more robust and therefore perhaps manlier than its male counterpart. Aramis 900 handles rose beautifully, despite or even due to that fecal note (those who go on about a dirty rose clearly haven’t yet smelled one rubbed in dog mess) but there’s no denying that 900 ultimately smells like the faint whiff left once AE leaves the room.
Aramis 900 runs about 45-50 dollars for 100 ml. You can find it sometimes in the department store with the Aramis fragrances for men.