Perfumed Memoirs: Amouage Dia and Frankincense

Amouage Dia | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

Amouage Dia | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

The rugged rocky mountain terrain, the tranquil beach with fishing boats, the endless dunes disappear into the Empty Quarter, and the oasis, the water sparkling in the desert’s light. They are the images of Oman I remember. I used to live in the desert city of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, adjoining to Al Buraimi, an oasis town of Oman. At weekends, we used to venture into the deserts and wadis  (dry river beds) to enjoy their harsh but unspoilt natural beauty.

When I lived there, I wasn’t at all a fan of the Middle Eastern perfumes. Occasionally I trotted into some Arabic perfume shops in the malls but I couldn’t find the one I liked. All the perfumes I smelled in the shops or on people were too gooey and hideously resiny… That was the impression I got until I came across Amouage Dia Pour Femme.

I wasn’t aware of the “pedigree” of this perfume when I had my first sniff. All I knew was its connection to Oman. On the way home from the mall, I kept smelling and smelling my wrist, admiring its sheerness and the dewy-ness of this fragrance. It felt like an “Arabic” fragrance but it was so much lighter… and more complicated. The aldehydic opening was like a dawn; bright and cheerful .Then the lustrous florals, swirling up to reach to the limitless sky. By the time I got home, the revitalising woody notes started to unfold… and, gosh, that was the best part for me.

Oasis | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Oasis | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

In the desert, after the spring rain, the wildflowers start blooming all at once. Tiny yellow Arabian primrose, desert campion, desert hyacinth and wild carnation…  They all appear in abundance, forming a luminous floral carpet on the otherwise barren sand. It is a bright, joyful and uplifting sight. It is all about the celebration of life – and that’s how I felt about Amouage Dia. The discovery of this fragrance among the heavy perfume oils was like the finding of an oasis hidden in the monotonous sand dunes.

I went back to the mall next day to smell Dia again. The nice guy at the perfume shop explained to me about the Omani royal family and Amouage connection and the facts about frankincense over a strong cup of cardamom dosed coffee.

A few months later, I had an opportunity to visit Sir Bani Yas Island, an animal sanctuary island in the Arabian Gulf. There, among the freely roaming endangered Arabian wildlife species, I unexpectedly stumbled across the frankincense tree for the first time in my life. I don’t know what I was expecting but this legendary tree didn’t look too impressive; it looked rather tattered.

Sir Bani Yas Island | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Sir Bani Yas Island | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

“The paler the better…” Like a mantra, the words by the perfume shop guy echoed in my head. I lustily scraped and collected the small beaded resin off the tree without really knowing what I would do with them next. I wanted to burn some as incense but other than that, I had no idea what I could or should do with the rest. But fate, in the shape of a parakeet, decided for me.

While I was getting rid of sand from my travel bag back home, I casually placed the frankincense resin in a small plastic bag and put it on the windowsill, and then went into the house to make some coffee. I heard a bang and a squawk. Looking out of the window, all I could see was the bright green feathers flying away into the next door’s palm trees. The plastic bag wasn’t on the sill anymore.

So, here I am, gathered a bagful “quality” frankincense in the burning sun, never got to smell a whiff of it. My first bottle of Dia has long gone and to this day, I haven’t had a chance to smell burning frankincense.


Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena

Notes:

Top: Bergamot, Fig, Tarragon, Cyclamen, Sage, Violet Leaves

Middle: Orange Blossom, Orris Root, Rose, Peach Blossom, Peony

Base: Frankincense, Gaiac Wood, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Heliotrope, Vanilla, White Musk

It is available in 50ml Eau de Parfum, £170.00 from Amouage.

Read what others are saying about Dia: I Smell Therefore I Am, The Non-Blonde, Australian Perfume Junkies, Suzanne’s Perfume Journal.

Disclosure: The review is based on the bottle I used to own.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas wishes

May your life be filled with joy and happiness and may each new day bring you moments to cherish.

Christmas is here.

Someone said that Christmas is not a holiday but it is a festival which makes people closer to you. It’s a time for remembrance, a time to express the gratitude from your heart, and a time to express your love to those who are important to you. It is, of course, a time for celebration.

So let me say this from my heart…

Thank you, my dear friends, for all of your kind words and support throughout the year. Your love and warmth have meant so much to me.

Celebrate all your moments in life, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, celebrate them all… and share Christmas wishes with people you love, let them know that you love them.

May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill,
And may the year ahead be full of contentment and joy (and fragrances).

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love to all,
Yukiko

Winter Rouge

The samples of Winter Rouge and Tabanesque by Eternal Scents | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

The samples of Winter Rouge and Tabanesque by Eternal Scents | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

I put my Christmas tree up the other day. The days are drawing in and the bite in the air is announcing that the winter solstice is just around the corner. Soon, we’ll have the mountain tops capped with snow. In the campo, the red leaves are feebly clinging onto the grape vines and just as the reminder of the past autumn days, the remaining poplar leaves are gleaming gold in the early evening light. When I walk down the village streets, all I can smell is the smoke from the burning logs. Winter is here.

The heavy blue-grey clouds have been lingering over us for over a week and I’ve been feeling rather lethargic and contemplative. So many questions with no answers keep filling my head and, just like the heavy winter sky, I cannot seem to break free from them. To shake off my low mood, I wandered up to my dresser and picked up a small bottle of perfume. I traced my finger along the contour of the bottle, and then hesitantly unscrewed the golden top.

I dubbed a drop on my wrist; immediately, intoxicating tuberose scent swirled up in the air. Tantalising dance of flowers was joined and intertwined with the warm opulent balsams, giving somewhat musky, velvety feel to the floral notes. The richness and the warmth of this fragrance captivate me every time when I open this bottle and, somehow, it always brings me back to the time when we were living in Egypt; especially the narrow, maze like streets of Khan el-Kalili where I enjoyed walking around so much.

Khan el-Khalili, Egypt | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Khan el-Khalili, Egypt | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

So many memories started unfolding as the scent developed; the voice and the smile of someone I so long for, the places we visited together, and the conversations we had… I knew this would happen.

I’ve won Winter Rouge by Eternal Scents from the giveaway hosted by the Sorcery of Scent blog back in April and wanted to review it in the wintertime for its warm quality. But now the cold season is here, I feel reluctant to dissect it into pieces. Some scents are special to each person for their own unique reasons; they might be better left alone.

This perfume, to me, is the intersection between joy and sorrow. While I rejoice this fragrance as I celebrate life, the memories that woven into this fragrance still torment me. (See my earlier post.)

I just hope, some day, I can wear Winter Rouge with full of joy… not with tears.


Winter Rouge is created by Rafael and Sharon Rodriguez, Eternal Scent.

The notes: Narcissus, Tuberose, Tahitian Gardenia, Tolu Balsam, Cedarwoods and plant Musks. (Official notes according to Eternal Scents website.)

It is available in 5ml Perfume Oil, AU$ 239.95.

Disclosure: I received the 3ml samples of Winter Rouge and Tabanesque from Eternal Scents as a giveaway prize hosted by Sorcery of Scent.

What others say: You can read a review on Sorcery of Scent.

Signature Scent

I was tidying up my stockpiled notes and folders and found an article titled “PERFUME TO MATCH GIRLS BY… FREDERIC MALLE by Kathleen Baird-Murray. I had no recollection of printing this article… Obviously I did so while I was in my usual scatterbrain mode and put it away to read later. The later came after several months.

Having read the article, it got me into the mood for filling out the Frederic Malle’s “Find Your Signature” questionnaire. Like many perfumistas, I love quite a few perfumes by FM and own a couple; it would be interesting to find out which one they think would fit for me. I got on to my laptop, went to the Editions De Parfums website and answered all the questions HONESTLY. A few days later, I received an email with the names of three fragrances.

Can you guess what they chose for me as my signature scent? The big Carnal Flower. They also suggested Portrait of A Lady and Musc Ravageur. Wow! I must say, they made me feel like a real gorgeous and irresistible diva! (Ha, I wish I was… In reality, it has nothing to do with my every day persona.)

Three perfumes chosen by Editions de Parfums -- Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Three perfumes chosen by Editions de Parfums — Photo by The Perfume Magpie

I must admit, I’m a floral girl. I love big white florals. So, naturally, I love Carnal Flower almost unconditionally. But out of these three choices, I would rather go for Portrait of A Lady. As it happens, Portrait of A Lady is already one of my “must have it around” fragrances. I can’t imagine running it out. Would I call it my signature scent though? Not really. In fact, as I get deeper and deeper into the abyss of fragrances, I’m moving further and further away from the concept of the signature scent.

When I was younger, I always wanted to have a signature scent. There was a time when I truthfully stuck to only one fragrance day after day. If I remember it correctly, it lasted only for a few months. I got so sick of smelling the same perfume every single day and eventually it got to the point where I didn’t want to smell it anymore. I had realised that having only one perfume would bore the heck out of me.

I love trying new perfumes; it’s endlessly fascinating. Moreover, I love choosing fragrances depending on the moods, seasons, occasions and what I wear – there are all sorts of reasons to wear a different one. I am a sort of person who values variations and changes in life.

There are so many articles about helping you find your signature scent and, naturally, so many perfume houses encourage you to choose one of theirs as your holy grail. Do any of you have a signature scent?  If you don’t have one yet, would you like to have one??