Thursday, December 29, 2011

Random sample hour: Giorgio Armani's Armani Code

Sweet, silky, and woody, with hints of mint, coconut (?), hairspray (?!), shaving foam, tonka bean, Irish Spring soap, and musk. Armani Code holds the distinction of being the first fragrance that made my knees weak and my heart go pitter-patter, back in my college freshman days when I rarely wore fragrance, didn't know Chanel from Cerutti, and thought that Calvin Klein whipped up Obsession personally in his lab. This stuff was called "Black Code" back then, and I bought some for my dad in '05, knowing only that it was Armani (read: classy!) and that the bottle looked quite dashing. I found it for peanuts on eBay, and my thrill at snagging a bargain turned sour when I opened the package and realized I'd bid on a 5 ml mini. (Wah-waaahhhh.) I couldn't very well gift my father a mini, so I bought him a full-size in the department store and kept the mini for myself. And when I popped the cap off and gave it a sniff...ohhh, boy. Imagine a dark, immaculately tailored, pebble-smooth Armani tuxedo worn by a freshly shaven, heartbreakingly handsome man on a crisp autumn night. Now bottle it. That was Black Code for me, and I kept that mini for a good five years, wearing it only on Special Occasions so as to ration its lusciousness. It remains the only fragrance I've worn that has prompted a young woman to bite my neck. (She was a friend, and rather inebriated at the time, but still.)

Fast-forward seven years, and a department store SA has just dropped a fresh sample of Armani Code into my shopping bag. How does it strike me now, with the benefits of time, a well-travelled nose, and no personal stake in the matter? Pretty damn good, actually. I suspect this formula is a tad thinner and slightly less compelling than that of my mini - time having passed, and accountants being what they are - but the satin polish is still here, the tuxedo still hangs perfectly, and the whole production is rather hard to resist. I'd written off Code as overworn and overplayed by too many dancefloor douchebags in the latter half of the aughts, and I figured I'd grown immune to its charms as a result. But here I sit, my arm freshly spritzed, and damned if I'm not smitten all over again. There's something refreshingly sober and relaxed about Code in sharp contrast to many masculines that have followed, and to say that the fellas could do a whole lot worse is an understatement. I just might wear it tomorrow.