Armani Code / Black Code 
Giorgio Armani (2004)

Average Rating:  267 User Reviews

Your ratings



Armani Code / Black Code by Giorgio Armani

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Armani Code / Black Code by Giorgio Armani

People & Companies

Giorgio Armani
Fragrance House
Antoine Lie

Giorgio Armani's first masculine oriental-style fragrance is Black Code. Armani say that it is elegant and understated and that the bottle is inspired by the "satin lapels of an Armani tuxedo".
The name was changed in 2005 from Black Code to Armani Code.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Armani Code / Black Code

Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning if you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission, which helps us keep the site running

Reviews of Armani Code / Black Code by Giorgio Armani

There are 267 reviews of Armani Code / Black Code by Giorgio Armani.

Armani Code finds a niche in the narrow field of designer masculines, thanks to the original notes of Fairy Liquid and green olives. The rest of it is standard masculine tropes like wood, citrus and leather, and there are quotes from Tommy and Cacharel pour l’Homme.

But with fruits and a mossy note it’s basically a Cool Water clone, which fits with the note of washing up liquid, a smell that would be familiar to many from ‘doing the dishes’. But, finding it in a cologne may have been quite a shock, and so, it would have been prudent to pair the green detergent with well known quotes and masculine themes to give Armani Code a more comforting familiarity.

That’s not to say this is comfortable; it’s bitter, in a hard masculine style with an oily woody texture that’s slightly softened by flowers, powder and a sweet base of amber. These introduce a feminine feel. And so, Armani Code plays with the codes in a way you wouldn’t expect from its imagery of the suited and booted hard man with a girl on his arm.

Even though it's a precursor to the Spiky Woods, both in odour and image, it’s far from their crass brutality – being smooth, integrated and well worked (except for the varnish-like drydown which is a bit dodgy).

But, despite that, perhaps because Armani Code gives (a certain amount of) depth to the normally shallow masculine, it proved to be a big success.

(Black Code sample)

Smells rather nice but a sharp powdery scent is released upon application - it also does not last too long on skin

Okay for a small get together but makes an amazing room spray

An easy thumbs up. This matures really well, so if you've had some sitting around, give it a new lease of life.

Its all cardamon up top and although lemon / bergamot are listed it never comes accross as citrus per se. The listed 'olive flower' note would be what gives it the almost oily texture, a masterstroke meaning the dry down into tonka feels 'creamy' rather than 'powdery'.

Performance is strong on all levels, showing that designer scents can have stellar performance without resorting to the obvious aroma-Chem over-doses of the post 2010s. The guiac wood mixed with the rest of the composition comes off a little challenging, quite brave for a designer mass market release, but perhaps not surprising with Antoine Lie's attachment.

This creamy oriental could be read as an antecedent to the 'dark blue'scent genre and could even be seen as a decent gateway to more niche fragrance tastes.

Black Code - Armani
This is a broad-shouldered Italian with a lot of breast-hair, sweaty armpits, drenched in cigarette-smoke wearing just a black speedo, cheap slippers and a golden Rolex asking you for a date with his mouth full of chocolate and succeeds. You have no idea how that worked, but it just did.

Armani Code (2004) has erected an empire of flankers, giving younger Armani fans at the time a cold weather and nightclub option where Acqua di Giò (1996) would not do, but is ultimately a victim of it's own "too many cooks" construction. Three perfumers were brought in to create this "fresh oriental" night time fighter, including Clement Gavarry (son of Max), Antoine Li, and Antoine Maisondieu. Together, this group fashioned a powdery and spicy fragrance that threw down a gauntlet of challenge to the reigning champion of Jean Paul Gaultier Le Mâle (1994) a decade after that scent's release, but didn't really dethrone it in it's target demographic. Instead, Le Mâle and it's army of flamboyant flankers in muscular torso bottles continued to enthrall the gay clubbing scene while Armani Code slid into first place for strait guys looking to party, but also looking to attend a suit-and-tie event, thanks to Code's associated advertising. A lot of things came precipitously close to Armani Code in the mid-2000's, even Avon's own Passion Dance for Him (2004) rode very close to this but totally by coincidence since it released concurrently, and the powdery "itchy amber" style across orientals or fougères has never been my favorite. Still, I can see why Armani Code saw so much use: it wasn't necessarily better than something like Versace Blue Jeans (1992), but it was darker, more serious, and had marketing that was on point, plus the name Armani attached to it during a time when the brand was peaking in the male segment.

Armani Code is a semi-oriental/barbershop fougère with aromatic woods in it's base, using spice and biting tones as the thing which makes it exciting. Code opens with bergamot and lemon, sharp and citric but in that old-school 1960's fougère/semi-oriental way like Fabergé Brut (1962) or Avon Wild Country (1967), just even sharper than them. There's almost a piercing talcum powder note created due to this sharpness, veering into a style of women's perfume traditionally created to replicate the smell, so Armani Code accidentally gives itself some unisex flexibility for ladies that enjoy such things, especially in the coriander and olive flower heart. This tandem of notes creates the "powder" note when the dry spice of the coriander and anisic tone of the olive flower mull with the razor-like citrus to make a fougère-like barbershop tone. The itchy amber accord quickly distracts from that nice barbershop glow for me however and little else in the base can save me from it. Spare amounts of oakmoss exist here, and even less in the wake of 2011 IFRA restrictions on it, with oil of guaiac wood filling in the rest, increasingly so with newer batches. There is surprisingly little detectable use of aromachemicals to make the final piquant base accord of Armani Code, but once again, the "itching powder" dry down just makes what is otherwise a potent but pleasant clubber into a scrubber for me instead. Sillage is oddly mild for the style unless over-applied, but I think Armani did me a favor here. Longevity is otherwise good at about 8 hours if you can hang with the style. Best use is naturally night time, clubbing, romantic or formal situations, but this is dry enough for the office too if you're the boss.

Armani Code originally went under the name Black Code for its first year, but that name was changed once it was decided flankers would manifest and "Black" was already a flanker identifier among designers, plus "Code" was just simpler anyway (especially since many of the future flankers do not have black bottles). Armani Code also reminds me of a sharper and spicier rendition of Emporio Armani He/Lui (1998), which plays in the same ballpark but with a more-pleasant and droll juniper focus. Just like with He/Lui, Armani Code emerges to my nose as a boring if not for the itchiness, especially in light of three perfumers having worked on this to He/Lui's one. Armani Code has become a lazy way to pad out the catalog with flankers on the male side ever since, but taking into account that retro styles were gaining ground at the time thanks to Tom Ford's efforts at Gucci and YSL, it also feels like Armani Code's powdery dapper gent aesthetic cranked to 11 was the label's intial way of trying to make a "next level" entry with some night life power. I can appreciate the effort here, so I'm not going to flunk this, but like with Le Mâle, I can't feel anything greater than indifference, and highly recommend testing this in stores before letting the hype train carry you off. Also as an aside: there is no difference between 2004-2005 Armani Black Code and 2005-2011 Armani Code, but there is a slight increase of wood and amber in post-2011 Armani Code batches, sans oakmoss of course. In any case, the effect is about the same once that powder accord hits, so I'm still left scrubbing. Oh well.

Such a great fragrance, different from what's on the market for men. It's clean and sexy, it's got some powder and spice. I love the use of olive flower (the light anise note). I'm a woman and like to wear it often!

Show more reviews of Armani Code / Black Code...

Add your review of Armani Code / Black Code

You need to be logged in to add a review.

Log in here, or register


Latest News

Armani Code / Black Code by Giorgio Armani Perfume Ad Campaigns

in the Community

From the forums

Recently Viewed on this device