Suzanne's Perfume Journal

The first week of June has proved to be much like May, which is to say, endlessly rainy. I’ve come to the conclusion that after so many days of rain, there’s no use spritzing sunny perfumes to try and lift the spirits and make-believe that a trip to Tahiti is just around the corner, or even that there’ll be a non-soggy spot on which to lie one’s beach towel at the swimming pool this weekend. It’s so cool and rainy here that I tend to forget that Memorial Day has passed and the swimming pool is actually open. The days all run together in a fog, until it seems like time has stopped…only where?  In April, apparently.

At this point, spritzing on a fragrance as delightfully tropical as, say, Montale Intense Tiare, or as stunningly solar as Carnal Flower, feels incongruous: it just makes my mood worse.

Sometimes the best solution to life’s problems is to lie down with whatever’s bothering you, try to find some aspect of it that you can respect, and then embrace it for a while. So that’s what I’ve been doing this week. In between raindrops, I go for short walks along a wooded path where masses of Dame’s rocket are currently in bloom, and I try to forget that my socks are soaking wet and notice, instead, how the rockets’ fragrance has a magical, fairytale-like density in damp air, and how their purple petals glow amid the wet greenery and dark pockets of forest on these low-lit days.

Along the same lines, I decided that my fragrance this week should complement the weather, so I’ve been using up my sample of Amouage Dia pour femme. It smells like a bouquet of expensive flowers grown in France and purchased on a rainy street corner in London. Dia’s complex bouquet possesses all of the elements of classic French perfumery, yet it’s treatment strikes me as being more fluid and dewy. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that the Amouage company intended Dia to be the daywear equivalent to their ultra-luxurious fragrance, Gold, which is largely regarded as a nighttime-formal scent (with the emphasis on “formal’), and that the company hired perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena to formulate Dia.

What is a surprise—and further testament to Jean-Claude Ellena’s genius—is that Dia manages to smell so very much like Gold while at the same time being an adaptation that is friendlier to wear by day and which does, in fact, have Ellena’s signature (not immediately recognizable but evident as the scent dries down).  Dia echoes Gold’s sophistication and sense of luxury, and like Gold, it smells old-world perfumey, such that it is likely to draw the “old-lady perfume” criticism that so many of us perfumistas have now grown immune to. Dia, however, is less heavy than Gold, with a soapier smell in the beginning stages of the scent, and, after a half hour of wearing it, I detect what I can only describe as an Ellena-like water note begin to develop. How does one smell water?  I’m not sure if it’s something that I actually smell or if the bouquet takes on a cool quality that merely reminds me of water. Unlike the way the florals in Amouage Gold dry down to a woody-incensey base, the florals in Dia become more floaty and aqueous.

Dia’s fragrance notes include:

Top: bergamot, cyclamen, fig, sage, tarragon, violet leaves
Middle: orange blossom, orris, peach blossom, rose, peony
Base: cedarwood, frankincense, gaiac wood, heliotrope, sandalwood, vanilla, white musk

The photo at the top of my post, of a cyclamen covered in raindrops, seems so fitting for a review of Dia, as cyclamen is a fragrant flower that is described in Nigel Groom’s The New Perfume Handbook as having a scent that “recalls a blending of lily, lilac, violet and hyacinth.” (I thought I detected a bit of bright hyacinth and violet in Dia’s topnotes.) Twist these spring flowers into a bouquet with their hothouse sisters—rose and orange blossom in particular—add some iris root and set the bouquet to float in the pool of a fountain. That’s how Dia smells to me.

Considering that it mirrors Gold so closely, one might wonder what appeal Dia would have for someone who owns the former. It’s a little hard for me to answer that, since I favor Gold’s over-the-top opulence, but if one had a ton of money, why not own this daywear complement to Gold?  Some people consider the Amouages too pricey, but I disagree: I think they’re worth every penny.  If there weren’t so many rainy days I had to save my pennies for, I’d love to own Dia, too.

Amouage Dia is available from, $270 for 50 ml.  Samples of Dia can be purchased from LuckyScent, as well. 

Image, titled "dew drops" is from the photostream of zedzap (Nicholas Kenrick) at

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Rainy Days and Amouage Dia Pour Femme

June 6, 2009: