It would be so easy for us at Best Cologne for Men to just pretend we didn't like the fragrances produced by such a well-know name as Armani.  It would be a kind of clever-clever reverse-snobbery. And it would be even easier to target the Emporio Armani brand, a less high-end branch of the umbrella Armani brand. But doing so would also be dishonest.

Consider Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men: it's yet another quietly excellent, and yet very straightforward EDT from Armani.

First off, it smells a little mainstream: you get the bitter orange notes of bergamot hitting your nose immediately.  These are delicious, of course, don't get us wrong, but so far no surprises to one's nasal passages.  But these bergamot scents very swiftly made way for the lingering smell of wood and, especially, cocoa. For British readers, Diamonds for Men is a lot like a Terry's Chocolate Orange... only a lot more sophisticated, and not sugary.  And smearing it all over your neck and wrists won't look like a spontaneous dirty protest and get you carted off to the madhouse (although on reflection, doing that with a Terry's Chocolate Orange might get you carted off to the bedroom, if you have a broad-minded and adventurous partner...).

Anyway, Emporio Armani itself refers to the bergamot on their website, which is reassuring, but is strangely silent on the lasting, warm cocoa undertones.  

No Sichuan Pepper!

Oddly, the website also refers to a 'vibrant, electric burst of Szechuan Pepper'.  We absolutely did not detect this: we want you to know that this is a gentle gourmand fragrance, and its character is certainly not meant to shock or electrify: it is neither peppery nor sickly-sugary, nor too deliciously 'edible' for a person to carry it off - a charge that could perhaps be levelled at other 'gourmand' fragrances, like Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, for example.  

Wear this, and you should get admiring comments - and nobody is going to suffocate in a sickly cloud of sugariness when they catch a whiff of Diamonds for Men on you. Plus it'll hurt your wallet a lot less than anything made by Tom Ford (not a criticism of TF, given the immense quality of his stuff, just an aside for economically-minded readers).  Diamonds for Men is basic, it's delicious, it's subtle enough, and we can recommend it.  It's as simple as that.

Diamonds for Men advertising campaign

Speaking of admiring comments, that's part of the theme of the advertising campaign featuring Black Hawk Down star Josh Hartnett - we've embedded it here for your easy viewing.

The video - shot in black-and-white, which is meant to be kind of cool by definition - starts with the usual fragrance campaign fare: attractive young man, the naked, ripped torso... he's obviously a debonair guy, he looks after himself, and he dresses well.  He even drives a classic convertible (vintage sports cars are practically a prerequisite of men's cologne adverts: to hell with fuel economy, eh? That's for losers, right?).  He's expected at an 'event', and is the celebrity centre of attraction.  Hell, the man even gets accompanied indoors by not one but two hot chicks, the lucky devil - and so will you (we are meant to believe), if you would only wear Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men.  Maybe it's guys who wear Diamonds that are a girl's best friend, who knows?


The music is 'Slow Hands' by Interpol, from their album Antics.  Personally, we find the lyrics kind of depressing, but I guess nobody can really hear or comprehend the words when you actually listen to the song, which sounds suitably cool, modern and celebratory: I guess that's why it makes sense as a backing-track for this video. The song is meant to be a salute to Eric Clapton's influence on Interpol's music.  No idea what that has to do with Josh Hartnett and Armani, but there you have it. (Answers on a postcard, please...)

One thing that does lift the advert above the merely pedestrian, though, is in fact: Josh's fiddling with the car radio.  We know that sounds like a strange thing to say, but it turns out that this is by way of a kind of Armani in-joke.

We say that because the track he briefly switches over to is Beyonce's rendition of 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend' - and Beyonce was the face of Armani Diamonds for Women back in 2007. Anyway, Josh then switches the radio back to Interpol with a wry grin on his face: so what he's doing is not just an ironic rejection of the crass materialism of that song (although it must be said that the Hartnett character in the vid is hardly leading an impecunious lifestyle, to put it mildly), but also a rejection of any suggestion that Armani Diamonds is really just a women's perfume (the women's version came out a year earlier than Diamonds for Men), and that the men's version is hanging on to that perfume's coat-tails (or flounce?) for its success.

So the little episode with the radio is witty.  And Josh is obviously more of a post-punk revival man than a Broadway musical fanatic.  We might add that the in-joke echoes the wit of the original choice of the lovely Beyonce to sing 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend', since that song is (as we all know) from the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes... and of course, Beyonce is no blonde; but not only that: any self-respecting gent would surely prefer Beyonce to a generic blonde any day...

So the campaign with Josh Hartnett is actually quite subtle and clever, at least compared to most advertising campaigns.  Flash forward to 2012, and we have the video on the left with Mathias Lauridsen and the jaw-droppingly beautiful Shannan Click (gratuitous collage for you, below).  

Shannan Click collage


Oh well, we're back on familiar ground here: tuxedos, nightclubs, hot guys, hotter girls, the embrace... the only slight twist this time is that, instead of the foam of crashing sea-waves (see the vid here) signifying climax and ejaculation, it is the shower of diamonds themselves that represent the young guy's massive orgasm droplets.  We'd never thought of Armani Diamonds for Men as semen, but there you have it.

Final word on the flask: it's just a glassy oblong, but with a kind of concave diamond-shape styling going on at the sides.  At least it isn't embarrassing-looking like, for example, Paco Rabanne 1 Million is...


Overall rating: a cocoa-ish yet sophisticated 8.5 out of 10.

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