Fittingly, for a brand so synonymous with tailoring, Armani’s Eau Pour Homme fragrances are all the olfactory embodiment of a jacket that Giorgio’s customer has in his wardrobe. The original was the spritz-on equivalent of a linen suit – summery, light, and inappropriate after sunset. Its follow-up, Eau de Nuit, filled that void, conjuring up a black tuxedo with waves of tonka bean and iris.
The latest release bridges that day-night gap by attempting to bottle a velvet blazer. Wisely, the nose behind the fragrance didn’t opt for the scent of mustiness and mothballs that seems to permeate most velvet, instead reaching for notes that conjure up images of tanned chaps who own big yachts.
The original Armani Eau Pour Homme was the kind of hypermasculine fragrance popular with Mediterranean nightclub owners and tough guy coppers – the sort of men who are, as they will tell you ad nauseum, men. Eau de Cèdre is less likely than its predecessor to burn you with a cigarette end, but it’s still some distance from the unisex scents that are so prevalent at the moment.
The opening is deceptively light, a gentle flush of citrus courtesy of bergamot and lemon, but with any sharpness muted by floral notes of sage and violet leaf. However, it’s not long before a rush of Y-chromosome accord: the cedarwood the fragrance is named for, flanked by black tea and suede. It’s not a punchy presence; less the dude in the queue picking fights, more the outhouse-sized bouncer whose glance keeps him quiet.
In fact, like the kind of man who can actually pull off a velvet jacket, it’s a fragrance that speaks of self-assurance, without the need to shout about it. The kind of confidence which comes not with flashing your cash by popping bottles, but knowing you own the entire club.
Available from Harrods, priced at £53 for 50ml of eau de toilette.
Bottle: Green glass with the Bakelite stopper and ribbed metal that marks out the Armani Eau Pour Homme range.
Head notes: Bergamot, lemon, sage;
Heart notes: Violet leaf, cardamom, cumin;
Base notes: Suede, cedar essence, black tea, woods.
Best for: Making people think that you’re much wealthier than you are.