Perfume years are like dog years; time accumulates quickly — the period from birth to old age is brief. I loved my dogs and still think about every one of them, even dogs from my childhood. Being strict with myself when it comes to language, I can’t say I ‘love’ any perfume, past or present; when a perfume passes away (or gets reformulated beyond recognition), I don’t make a big deal about it. Best to think of reformulations as reincarnations; everything changes.
Giorgio Armani Eau Pour Homme is on the verge of turning thirty; truly, that’s got to be at least 60 years old in perfume years (with the changes in taste, and the thousands of perfumes that have come into being since 1984). Eau Pour Homme, being a child of privilege (his father is Giorgio Armani), just got a facelift in his dotage (a newish bottle) and (no matter what Armani PR says) a tweaking of his juice.
Though Armani swears the “new” Eau Pour Homme is identical to the perfume that was issued in 1984,1 some easy sleuthing shows that the ingredients have changed (I know, never trust lists of fragrance notes)! Even if you ignore ingredients lists and their veracity, we can all agree many perfume materials that were used in 1984 are no longer available to perfumers, for one reason or another. I let my nose, memory, a vintage bottle of Eau Pour Homme and a brand-new Eau Pour Homme sample guide me in my comparison of old and 'new' Eau Pour Homme.2
Eau Pour Homme was already seven years old when I first wore it; the fragrance fit in perfectly, style-wise, with my life in Los Angeles — it was casual, citrusy and “sunny,” a fragrance in a good mood. I enjoyed wearing it. Though I’ve only owned one bottle of Eau Pour Homme, I have sniffed it every time I’ve noticed it on a perfume counter…just to check up on my old acquaintance.
Eau Pour Homme starts off with rich mossy citrus (the most striking difference between old and new Eau Pour Homme is this moss; it’s lighter and more sparkling in the opening of “refreshed” Eau Pour Homme). As the perfume develops, a beautiful dusting of warm nutmeg becomes apparent, and brings with it a frosted, almost brittle, white floral note; the sheerest bit of sweet coriander mixes with everything. As you are anticipating its next phase, Eau Pour Homme seems to evaporate. Was that IT?
Don’t worry, Eau Pour Homme is just gearing up for a comeback. After the intermission, Eau Pour Homme returns a bit “talcy” (the citrus and floral notes are softer, warmer), and a watery, distant accord of wood, sweet musk and resin can be detected (this perfume has good diffusion; strangely, you can smell it better from a distance than if you jam your nose to skin). As I “analyzed” Eau Pour Homme, I realized no one note or accord is “astonishing” or unusual, but somehow, the perfume (dare I say it?) captivates me. The whole of Eau Pour Homme surpasses its parts.
I read other perfume blogs and message boards to see what people are saying about old and new Eau Pour Homme. Many guys think the perfume has atrocious lasting power; both versions lasted on me (the man who applies 10 sprays) for six hours at least. Some commenters wrote that Eau Pour Homme was ruined long before this latest reissue/repackaging. I don’t notice any startling differences between the perfume I remember, the vintage bottle I tested, and what’s being sold now; today’s version is simply more sprightly, but it has the same basic character/structure as “old” Eau Pour Homme. Overall, I’m happy with “rejuvenated” Eau Pour Homme and might even buy a bottle. If you’ve never tried Eau Pour Homme…do! It’s one of Armani’s best perfumes, for men OR women. And if you think my assessments of either version of Eau Pour Homme are nutso…let me know; remember, I don’t LOVE any perfume, so I won’t get upset!
Giorgio Armani Eau Pour Homme Eau de Toilette is available in 50 ml ($66) and 100 ml ($84).
1. Perfumer Roger Pellegrino.
2. The current list of notes includes bergamot, coriander, cedar, bitter orange, tangerine, nutmeg, cumin, neroli and patchouli.
Note: middle images are at left, the original Giorgio Armani Eau Pour Homme bottle, and at right, the new restyled bottle.