Suzanne's Perfume Journal

December 29, 2010:

Now that the business of Christmas is over and New Year’s Eve will soon be here, I find myself sifting through the memories of holidays past and thinking about the thing I always found sweetest and most thrilling about this time of year when I was young and single: the Holiday Kiss. December is a great month for smooching no matter what age you are, whether single or attached; kissing is almost a requisite at holiday parties, and the lubricants to snogging are always front and center: mistletoe, free-flowing booze, expressions of gratitude, and even built-up expectations (labeled as ‘customs’ and heavily cued, like when the band strikes up Auld Lang Syne at midnight). But the truly memorable holiday kiss, because it is much like a first kiss—sharing that element of the unexpected even if it has been ardently hoped for—belongs largely to those who are unattached. (Or, I suppose, to those who are attached but aren’t opposed to locking lips with someone who is not their significant other.)

My most memorable holiday snog dates back to when I was in my early twenties and still at my first job, doing advertising and public relations for an agricultural firm located in upstate New York. I had a secret crush on the firm’s corporate lawyer, who had kindly shared his mostly-vacated office with me when I had first arrived and they were trying to find a place to put me. By this time, though, a year had passed and I was now working in a separate office building from his and had a half-hearted, long-distance relationship going with a brawny, former farm boy who was the national sales manager for our partner firm in Canada. The boyfriend had come down for a visit and to attend the company Christmas party with me. It wasn’t much of a party; it took place, like a lot of company parties, during the afternoon and involved drinking wine from plastic cups, collecting our holiday bonuses, and chatting with the boss and fellow coworkers around the lunch table. The lawyer was there that day: in the middle of the party he alighted from his office, exchanged pleasantries with everyone, and then came over to where I was standing and told me there was a business matter he needed to discuss with me. I followed him upstairs in a panic: he had spoken these words in such a quiet and serious tone, I had the dread feeling I’d done something wrong. As soon as his door closed behind us, though, an impish smile spread across his face, a small wrapped package was pressed into my hands, and a few minutes later he was fastening a necklace with shiny gold beads around my throat. Then came the kiss, soft, lingering, gentle—a kiss in the form of a question—and then the question itself: “Can I see you after he leaves?”

I don’t remember much about the Christmas party after that: whether the boyfriend noticed the necklace, or how I explained its sudden appearance around my neck if he did. I don’t even remember what day he left my apartment to go back to Canada, but I do remember that by New Year’s Eve I was seeing the lawyer and would continue to see him until a cocaine addiction and hectic schedule (his) and a naïveté and lack of sophistication (mine) took its toll, turning us from lovers into friends. That kiss, however, I remember in perfect detail whenever the holidays roll round and especially on a day like today when I am wearing Amouage Dia pour Homme.

An uncharacteristically quiet fragrance from the house of Amouage, Dia pour Homme proves that the alpha-male signal isn’t always achieved by brawn. The piquant green-spiciness of Dia pour Homme’s top notes is assertively masculine; its heart of leathery florals (orris, most noticeably, and plum) is irresistibly evocative of the male persuasion; yet this is not a forceful or muscular fragrance. Beneath the assertive notes, there is an ylang-and-vetiver softness that makes Dia pour Homme smell like lemongrass for awhile, and as it continues into its long, quiet drydown, the lemongrass smell yields to something slightly sweeter and more powdery. By this point, however, Dia pour Homme will be anything but insistent: think of perfume notes that are tender and whispery—notes in the form of a question—as yearning and as tentative as a mistletoe kiss.


Amouage Dia pour Homme has notes of cistus, bigarade, cardamom, frankincense, labdanum, peony, ylang-ylang, orris, plum, vetiver, leather, patchouli, amber, and palissander. It can be purchased from, 50-ml for $245 or 100-ml for $290.

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Prelude to a Kiss and Amouage Dia pour Homme