Giorgio Armani Si ~ perfume review & quick poll

Cate Blanchett for Giorgio Armani Sì

Sì is the latest from Giorgio Armani. It's Armani’s first pillar fragrance for women since 2010's Acqua di Gioia, and it's meant to be a 'sophisticated' chypre1 — note that Sì is fronted by actress Cate Blanchett instead of the the sort of conventionally young and sexy model that they used for Gioia.2 All of which might indicate a somewhat older and more sophisticated target market than the usual for Armani's mainstream output, yes? Which would be fine with me; Armani is not generally my favorite perfume house, and even the more exclusive Armani Privé fragrances don't always live up to their price tags.

So the first sniff of Sì was a bit of a surprise, of the fruity variety. It's a big — and familiar — rush of blackcurrant, almost immediately grounded by some clean, dry patchouli. For a minute, I thought we had another standard issue fruitchouli on our hands. Sì switches gears in short order though, taking on a — likewise familiar — cushion of cotton candy, vanilla and cosmetic powder, underneath a fairly standard clean floral heart in which the freesia is perhaps most dominant (the notes: cassis nectar, chypre accord, musky wood, vanilla, rose de mai, freesia, patchouli and orcanox). The floral notes come more into focus as it dries down, and Sì turns a bit more rose-y, but it's not a heavily floral fragrance in any of its stages.

Verdict: well, I do like it better than Acqua di Gioia, and yes, it is more sophisticated, although that isn't really saying all that much. But Sì is both likable and wearable — I'd choose it over Acqua di Gioia, if forced to wear one or the other — and if it doesn't smell new, well, that's the way it usually goes, right? The fragrance it is getting compared to most often is Lancôme's La Vie Est Belle, and that's fair enough, although I might like Sì a bit better, just because it's a bit quieter, and a bit less sweet. So if you almost liked La Vie Est Belle, give Armani Sì a trial run. The lasting power is quite good.

The quick poll: what mainstream, fairly new fragrance would be a good fit with Cate Blanchett? No cheating with niche or classics!

Giorgio Armani Sì, packaging

Giorgio Armani Sì was developed by perfumer Christine Nagel. It is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum. It is not expected to launch in the US until early 2014.

1. Via Women's Wear Daily, 5/30/2013.

2. Just compare the Cate Blanchett ad for Sì with the Emily DiDonato ad for Acqua di Gioia.

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  1. songeuse says:

    Guerlain Idylle, perhaps? Is Guerlain considered niche or not?

  2. egabbert says:

    “Jungle Essence and orcanox”?!

    Maybe Marni or Bottega Veneta …. which strike me as the classiest non-niche launches in recent years.

    • Robin says:

      Orcanox is Mane’s version of Ambroxan.

      Jungle Essence is Mane’s version of headspace technology, so it ought to be Jungle Essence of some flower or something. No idea what it means on its own, actually shouldn’t mean anything at all.

  3. Filomena Anna says:

    I would say EL’s Modern Muse.

    • Robin says:

      The name is perfect for CB.

    • scentfromabove says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Modern Muse is a sophisticated fragrance. I can’t image seeing a 20-something woman wearing it.
      I could also see her wearing Chloe – it smells like something a more sophisticated woman would wear.

  4. sweetgrass says:

    Is Hermes considered mainstream? If so, I’d go with Jour d’Hermes.

    • Robin says:

      Sure, it is to me. You can buy it in my local mall…that pretty much makes it mainstream since you can’t buy much at my local mall, LOL…and nice choice.

    • galbanumgal says:

      agree, perfect choice

  5. Bejoux says:

    I second Bottega Veneta!

    • floragal says:

      Me too! Perfect fit.

      Was initially thinking Carven le Parfum.

  6. Merlin says:

    I tried Si when I had just tried Killer Queen on the other arm, and they seemed to have the exact same vibe. It reminded me of your statement about their being one vat of perfume in a factory somewhere! They don’t exactly smell the same, but like permutations of the same thing.

    Cate Blanchett? In mainstream?

    How about Chanel Allure Edition Blanche. Or maybe its the name that has me recall that, lol.

    In a more feminine guise perhaps L’occitain’s Vanille et Narcissus.

    • Robin says:

      They do start out exactly the same…I think Si is less fruitchouli in the dry down, more vanilla candy. There are probably really 3 or 4 vats, and each fragrance has a slightly different percentage from each vat, LOL…

      And if those vats don’t exist, it’s a shame. They all end up the same anyway, why waste perfumer time?

      Really, Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche is a great idea for Cate Blanchett, even if you did think of it because of her name.

      • Merlin says:

        Yes, 3 or 4 vats would probably explain all of the entirely uninteresting permutations:)

        Actually the Blanche occurred to me because I recently saw a tester of it somewhere – though it no longer seems to be sold – and was impressed by its cool tone and spicy sophistication: seems to fit her aloof aspect, lol!

        Its a pity ELDO did not do a celebrity scent for her. I think they could maybe capture that sense of enigmatic otherness and alluring severity – but their formulations are not really refined enough.

        • Robin says:

          I hope they’ll bring it back, it was a great scent.

          Eldo did a great job for Tilda, but I’m not sure they’re the right fit for Cate. If I wasn’t restricting to mainstream though, I’d give her something Frederic Malle.

          • Santemon says:

            How about CB I Hate Perfume, at least it’s the right initials! If someone made a celebrity scent for/with her, it would need to have serious “green” credentials I think (not “green” fragrances, I mean environmental, she’s right into them). But then, she does front seriously major brands like Armani and SKII…

          • Merlin says:

            Malle definitely outdoes Eldo on both glamour and refinement. Oh yes, and price;)

  7. annemarie says:

    The white shirt on Cate reminds me of Lauder’s ads for Sensuous, and that perfume would be fine in her, if a little unsophisticated. Jour d’Hermes or Bottega Veneta would be great picks.

    Si is everywhere in Australian department stores at the moment. I tried it a fortnight ago and already have forgotten what I thought about it except its sweetness and that it gripped my arm all afternoon like a blackcurrant soaked bandage.

    • Robin says:

      LOL! You found it more insistent than I did.

  8. Santemon says:

    I think Cate would be a perfect front for the (re)launch of Guerlain Vetiver pour Elle.

  9. Oakland Fresca says:

    Without having smelled it, I agree with those about who think Modern Muse (by name) would fit. Maybe Elie Saab– I could see CB as the face of Elie Saab… hmmm…

    • Robin says:

      Was surprised, actually, that they got big names for Sensuous and a relative unknown for Modern Muse.

  10. Oakland Fresca says:

    those ABOVE! (oy)

  11. APassionateJourney says:

    Robin, did you snag a sample? Can’t wait to feel the bottle in person :)

    • Merlin says:

      Bottles are stylish and a little austere. Similar to the Prive scents. Do not suit the perfume at all…

      • Robin says:

        Thanks for chiming in Merlin, because no APJ, I just have a sample.

  12. Omega says:

    I don’t think she’s a good fit with Armani or this current name at all. I hate, hate Le Vie Est Belle..and this one sounds like one I’d dislike too. Bummer.

    +1 Modern Muse on the poll

  13. nozknoz says:

    The original Shiseido Feminite Feminité des Bois, which was actually sold in department stores, I believe.

    • Robin says:

      Bringing out the big guns!

      • nozknoz says:

        I had to find some way to give her a niche perfume. ;-)

  14. solanace says:

    Dior Homme. I think iris fit her.

    Your 4-vats theory explains a lot.

    • Robin says:

      Yes — she could wear Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris too. Although that’s maybe verging on niche.

      • meredifay says:

        This is a good fit.

  15. Dachshundista says:

    My first idea was Annick Goutal (Eau d’Hadrien, Ninfeo Mio or Matin d’Orage) but the rule says NO NICHE!
    What about Cate in a black women’s suit by YSL, wearing Eau Sauvage?

    • Robin says:


    • austenfan says:

      I was thinking of a masculine too. Marc Jacobs Bang or Guerlain Vétiver. ( although that one is not exactly new. Kenzo Air? Something understated.

      By the way I love your blogname. Dachshunds are my favourite dogs!

      • Dachshundista says:

        Thanks for mentioning my blogname. I’m owned by a wirehaired little dachshund girl. And I’d like to give a hint that you don’t need to smell like a wet dog, just because you own one.
        Marc Jacobs Bang is a brilliant idea! Compliments!!

  16. Karin says:

    I’d put Cate in a spicy incense! Maybe Tom Ford Noir?

  17. olenska says:

    I do like the idea of a cassis for Cate, something like Lancome Magie Noire…. but in my mind, Chanel No19’s galbanum reflects her frosty edge.

  18. smartylicious says:

    Elie Saab EDP, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, and I agree with the EL Modern Muse and Sensuous suggestion above, all of these would be a better fit for the amazing Cate Blanchett than Armani Si.

    By the way, I don’t really find Lancome La Vie Est Belle so similar to Si, actually there is something else that is much closer to Si : DSquared Potion for women. Same perfumer, same style, even some notes are the same.

    P.S. – I tried Fendi L’AcquaRossa (saw your posts with perfumes in magazines). It’s a pretty, perfectly inoffensive, light, daytime-fitting floral. Generic too. I wouldn’t throw it away if I was offered a bottle, but I wouldn’t spend the money on it.

    • Robin says:

      Ha, I was going to review the Fendi next week, I’ll just quote you and be done with it.

  19. bowbat says:

    I’d say Marni or Tom Ford Violet Blonde.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, the Violet Blonde is a great idea!

      • smartylicious says:

        Oh I agree!! I always forget about Tom Ford’s mainstream line, they never arrive in my neck of woods. Only Black Orchid can be spotted every now and then.

  20. Elena.A says:

    I’m voting Marni for Cate Blanchett. It’s just about the quirkiest recent mainstream scent I can come with, and something about the green/spicy accord seems to suit her.

  21. cafarnh says:

    Given how many scents out there, is it really possible to have something completely new?

    • Robin says:

      It is a good question, but certainly I am still sometimes surprised by a fragrance, and is is certainly possible to make a fragrance that isn’t a basic pastiche of the other big sellers on the market.

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