ARMANI CODE FOR WOMEN was introduced in 2006 by Giorgio Armani. It was created by Carlos Benaim, Dominique Ropion and Olivier Polge.
Top Notes: Bitter African Orange, Sweet Italian Orange.
Heart Notes: Orange Blossom Absolute, Ginger, Sambac Jasmine.
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Honey, Vanilla
Not being a fan of overpowering citrus in perfumes, finding the idea of opening notes of bitter oranges unappealing, and slightly repelled by the thought of ginger in perfume, I refrained from trying out ARMANI CODE FOR WOMEN for several years.
However, a positive experience with Armani's latest fragrance for women, SI, along with a desire that ARMANI CODE FOR WOMEN might be "Lady Million with Vanilla", and a hope that the ginger and bitter-sweet citrus will be overshadowed by honey, vanilla and jasmine, finally tempted me to try out the previously unused sample in my cosmetic bag.
Before I share the details of my memorable experience, please let me provide a brief background information about Giorgio Armani's venture into the world of fragrances.
According to my research, although his first foray into fragrances was in 1981 with the release of Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills, the first Armani branded perfume was released in 1982. Simply called Armani, this chypre perfume (now discontinued) was for women.
This was followed in 1984 by the release of the first Armani fragrance for men called Armani Eau Pour Homme.
The 1990's saw the release of Armani's first floral fragrances in the form of Giò and Acqua Di Giò. He then followed this up with Acqua Di Giò Pour Homme.
In 1998 the first duo fragrance was launched in the form of She and He. These were the first Armani perfumes to be released under the more youthfully inspired Emporio Armani label and was the beginning of a new duo fragrance trend for Armani.
In 1999, the original Armani Mania for women was released, which was later discontinued.
The next Armani perfume to be released was another Emporio duo, White She and White He in 2001.
From then onwards, several new Giorgio Armani perfumes have been released including, Night for him and her (now discontinued), Sensi and Sensi White, the new and more feminine Armani Mania Pour Femme and Armani Mania Pour Homme.
2004 saw Armani branching out with his first Armani Privé fragrance, Ambre Soie. This unisex fragrance was not designed to have mass appeal and like the rest of the Privé range had limited distribution and was very expensive.
2004 also saw the release of Armani's first oriental fragrance for men, Black Code (later renamed to Armani Code) which proved extremely popular.
This was followed in 2006 by ARMANI CODE FOR WOMEN.
Perfume releases in 2007 were Armani Attitude For Men, and Emporio Armani Diamonds.
The most recent fragrances for women were SI (launched in 2013) and SI INTENSE (launched in 2014).
SI has been created for the modern woman who is strong yet feminine, sophisticated yet charismatic. A women who says YES to life...!
The nose behind this fragrance is Christine Nagel.
FRAGRANCE NOTES OF SI
Top Notes: Sicilian bergamot, Mandarin, Blackcurrant liqueur.
Heart Notes: Rose de Mai, Neroli, Egyptian jasmine, Freesia.
Base Notes: Patchouli, Woods, Ambar, Orcanox, Vanilla.
My nose (and personal taste) percieve SI as a Fruity-Floral-Vanilla that would be best suited for 'winter-days' and can also be used for 'casual-or-semi-formal-winter-evenings'.
Put it on in the cold morning, and a weird, strong, thick, syrupy, jammy, liqueur-ish, sweet, tart, bitter...opening (I think its the Blackcurrant nectar...!) clears away the last remnant of sleep.
Then after about 10 to 15 minutes, it transforms into a lovely Berry-Rose-Freesia fragrance. Its sweet, but more inclined towards fresh sweet instead of cloying, heavy sweet. Though I think that it might be a bit overwhelming for summers.
Then about a couple of hours later, it alters slightly into a Sweet-Berry-Rose-Vanilla phase, becoming even more delightful in my opinion.
As for longevity and sillage, well, my husband could smell it on me after about 6 hours of applying 2 sprays on each wrist, while sitting next to me on the living room couch. Considering the fact that only few perfumes last that long on me, that's pretty good...!
So basically, SI seems like a cheerful, feel-good perfume to me, and it continues to brighten up the otherwise gloomy 'winter-days-and-evenings' for about 6 to 8 hours, fading away just in time for when one needs to put on a little more sophisticated perfume for a 'formal-late-evening-outing'.
SI has been compared with fragrances like, Miss Dior Le Perfum, Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Thierry Mugler Alien, Thierry Mugler Angel, Elie Saab Le Perfum and YSL Manifesto etc.
In my opinion, it's closest to Miss Dior Le Perfum. Though I would most probably keep Miss Dior Le Perfum for evenings and enjoy SI during the cold winter days.
I would definitely recommend to try out and wear SI, though keeping in mind it's almost unbearable opening that last for about 10 to 15 minutes at least, I suggest that it would be better to try it out on yourself few times, before splurging on a bottle.
With SI INTENSE, both my nose and skin chemistry fail me, as it doesn't seem to last more than maximum 30 minutes on me and even then it's faint and vague. In any case, I don't really feel qualified enough to give review of SI INTENSE since I can barely smell it on me...!
Well anyway. Coming back to ARMANI CODE FOR WOMEN.
Well, as I was telling you, I finally unearthed my old sample of ARMANI CODE FOR WOMEN and tried it. However, my joyous anticipation was very short-lived when 2 sprays on my wrist had me gasping for air, as the most awful bitter orange fragrance filled my nostrils...! It was mainly shock that held me immobile at first. Then few minutes later when my mind resumed it's functioning again, I remembered my first experience of the first 10-15 minutes with SI, and few other perfumes, and by exerting strong willpower, managed to restrain myself from washing it off my hands right then. Though I did hold my head as far away from my wrist as I could, a posture that amused my almost-three years old daughter very much...! About 20 minutes down the road, I decided that I simply could not take it any more, but my little daughter's urgent need for a diaper change distracted me, and I thought that I might as well test my tolerance threshold for bad odour by exposing myself to two sources of bad smell at the same time...! I won't go into details but let me assure you it wasn't an experience that I would want to repeat...! But anyway, by the time I managed to complete my task and was headed towards the washbasin, I realised that the fragrance had somewhat changed. There was still lots of orange, but it wasn't that bitter any more, and now it was mingled liberally with ginger, along with a hint of honey and vanilla. Though I still didn't find it much likeable but reawakened hope and a strong curiosity about the future progress of the fragrance, compelled me to wash my hands in such a way that I didn't wash away the perfume. After about an hour later I was resigned to the fact that it would remain pretty much the same, and after putting the sample back in my cosmetic bag, I decided that this was one perfume I won't be wearing again. Then I busied myself in household chores. After a while, I noticed the most gorgeous honey-vanilla fragrance drifting up my nostrils. The realization that it was coming from my own wrists once again rendered me stunned...! But obviously, this time in a good way. In the past, I had often encountered perfumes with unpleasant opening notes that had gone on to become lovely after 15 to 20 minutes. And vice versa. But I had never come across a transformation so extreme, the contrast so great, and a miracle so unexpected.
Throughout the week, I tried it three more times, just to confirm that it wasn't a fluke but the perfume followed the similar pattern.
So I finally decided to check out other users experiences and opinions about this perfume on internet and discovered that majority users like, or even love, it. One more thing I gathered was that most of the female population claimed that whenever they put on this perfume it attracted the opposite gender like bees to honey...!
Well, the perfume did contain honey but surely human males weren't bees...!
More baffled now, I again went back to the internet. Further research revealed an interesting fact, that is, both Vanilla and Ginger are natural ways of increasing potency and invoking desire...
Did that mean...???!!!
Well, I finally decided to conduct a little experiment.
One night, after my young daughter fell asleep, I discretely sprayed this secret CODE for seduction on myself, and after about half an hour, went and sat beside my husband in our living room where he was engrossed in doing his office work. After some time he looked up from his laptop and asked, "Are you ok?" Somewhat confused, I told him that I was feeling perfectly fine. He shrugged and turned back to his laptop, saying "You smell like you have just eaten that ginger-honey mixture that your mother always recommend when you have flu, and washed it down with orange flavoured Vitamin C tablet...!"
Guess the CODE was too tough for my husband to crack...!
However, next morning was another story when my husband absent-mindedly remarked, "what a pretty smell"..!!! So as I mentioned before, the perfume does turn into a delightful 'honey-vanilla' fragrance after about two hours, and this lovely phase goes on for several hours.
Which brings to my mind another thing that this perfume definitely deserves strong points for longevity and sillage, especially if my husband could smell it on me after about 9 hours of application...!
But now, whether that 'honey-vanilla' fragrance is wonderful enough, to tolerate the first 30 minutes of awful (at least to my nose) 'bitter-orange' and then 60 to 90 minutes more of unappealing (again, that's my opinion) 'orange-ginger-honey-vanilla' phase, is a question for which I still have not yet been able to find a satisfactory answer.
Yes, the CODE is indeed perplexing...!