I’ve written previously that the mainstream community, by and large, has awful taste, a message that I can reinforce by pointing out consistently high sales of fresh aquatic after fresh aquatic after fresh, bored-to-tears, are-we-there-yet aquatic. Every now and then, though, we can find something that bucks the trend and Armani Code is the best example of that in recent years.
2004 had Armani generally doing their own thing, the Armani Prive collection was seeing more love than anything else, their last mainstream attempt (Mania) failed to impress the masses. So they went to an up-and-coming perfumer named Antoine Maisondieu (It seems that serial readers of the blog will have heard the name before, generally in glowing terms) to commission their new men’s perfume. Maisondieu opted to go the route of an oriental, something that Armani had never done in mainstream fragrance.
Suffice it to say that Black Code, as it was called, was an unmitigated success story.
Code is really quite unique, a kiss of citrus gives way to spice, smoke, and warm tonka bean, though it’s not a typical tonka as it’s slightly altered by the presence of Guaiacwood, which gives the whole thing a distinct formal tone. The initial blast is strong and masculine, with lemon and olive flower being the main players. As it dries down, it picks up a detectable “warmth” from the smoke and tonka bean. It projects very well for such a mainstream scent, and longevity is decent at six hours.
Why, then, is Code so frequently cited as a cliche? I suppose every cliche has a basis in fact, and the fact is Code is extremely popular across the nation (and in worldwide circles for that matter), and has very good odds of being found (overapplied) in a middle/high school environment. Simply put, the kids got it right. This stuff is great and it’s a shame that some of the readers still likely aren’t going to give it a chance simply because it is so popular. It’s a bit like when metalheads are comparing musical tastes, and one says they don’t like such and such band because “they’re too mainstream”. If you want to go niche, you can even stay in the Armani line, the Armani Prive collection would set you back a little under $3,000. Or, you can go to pretty much any department store on the planet and pick up Code and be content with a modern triumph.