Giorgio Armani - Armani Eau Pour Homme (1984)

Armani Eau Pour Homme was the second fragrance I ever owned. Paco Rabanne was the first but they only differentiated themselves by the space of a month. At the age of twenty, I was looking for sophistication and on seeing the shape of that quite distinctive bottle, it spoke to me across the counter where it stood among all the other fragrances of the day. The fragrance itself has obviously been remarkably successful over the years since its introduction in 1984. Consider how many others have been discontinued in all that time. Someone, somewhere must still like it. Compared to many fragrances that appeared in the 1980s, Armani Eau Pour Homme doesn't have that heaviness that one associates with that period. It's almost in complete contrast to some from that time. It's possible that this quality accounts for the current relative popularity in an age when other scents from that time have either been discontinued years ago or reformulated to the point where they barely resemble their former glories.

The modern edition comes in a box with a slight woody texture but the original vintage bottles feature boxes with a smooth, olive green finish. I own a number of them. At the end of the 1990s, a friend of mine who I had known for years had a girlfriend who worked for Debenhams. Apparently she had stored away boxes of the stuff that were given as promotional gifts to staff members. She simply gave them to me. At the time, while living in the UK, I was not really collecting vintage stuff so much. From the batch codes, I think the bottles range from 1993 to 1995. UM123 marked a transitional phase which I mentioned to Andre Moreau at the end of last year.

Should you track down the vintage? I'm not so sure. Firstly, as the bottle glass is clear, you would definitely want to be purchasing one that was still boxed due to light potentially affecting it. This is not Antaeus with its dark glass. The very earliest bottles are manufactured by Helena Rubinstein (1982-1988) and be careful to research the address on the base of the boxes (137 or 129) as this greatly affects the date of manufacture as does the four or five digit batch codes. 1993 marked the shift from four to five digit codes. The 'Cosmair' wording is a must if you are looking for vintage. The 'Luxury Products LLC' marking means a definite reformulation. As to the pros and cons of vintage - I recently sampled a 2011 bottle and while the top notes seemed very similar, the dry-down was not as complex and the longevity not so good - all the things that one associates with reformulations, in my opinion. As to whether that is enough to go looking for pricey vintage bottles, only you can decide. For me, the scent is only part of the appeal, I prefer the old style boxes too.

Armani Eau Pour Homme is still a remarkably nice, clean scent than can be worn on almost any occasion. It's like Chanel Bleu in that respect. The only difference is that Armani arrived 28 years ago.

Nothing like being a pioneer, eh?