Dia Man by Amouage is stunning. Stunning! Not my favourite Amouage to wear “daily” and forget about it, due to its very subtle presence on skin (which for me would be a crime to miss, so I’d rather wear it when I’ve enough attention and peace of mind to appreciate it), but surely and by far, probably my favourite ever of their range as a work of... hell, there, I’ll say it: a work of art. I think it accomplishes a level of vibrant creativity and impeccable perfection no other Amouage ever did, except maybe for Ciel. But Dia probably pushes the limit even above that. It manages to be smoother, to subtract even more, to make an even more precarious, complex and thin balance perfectly stand still as a transparent ice sculpture. Just replacing ice with air. Others in their range are more easy to love, richer and more fulfilling maybe, surely performing better and thus being more appealing and easier to wear. But Dia Man is just something different.
On paper it is seemingly quite a simple, understated floral-suede-vetiver scent with spicy-green accents – and you could wonder where’s the deal. The deal is precisely in how Dia transform that mildly promising, yet probably not-overly-exciting structure into something completely amazing. And that sadly can’t really be described with words, which would only make it sound undeservedly boring. Or well, mines would surely. I could mention a mind-blowing weightlessness, a unique sense of natural refinement, an amazingly, almost hypnotic slow evolution bringing in and out vetiver, smooth smoke and posh powdery suede, quiet clean woods, delicate breezy flower petals (orris, peony, ylang) which you can almost feel agitated by some gentle wind, an incredibly crisp yet almost unperceivable sort of grassy-minty aroma breezing erratically through the notes as a fairytale ghost of an elf, a genius touch of silky fruitiness... but that would all make Dia sound “just as another good scent” – while it isn’t. Not because it isn’t good, obviously, but because it’s beyond a scent - it’s a world, really. I would add “totally unparalleled” if Hermès Cuir d’Ange didn’t exist, as in some way, I think these two scents share some connections – both in some notes (especially the powdery-suede treatment), in their stunning quality, and in their general texture and inspiration. But creativity-wise, Dia is probably a tad superior to that, as it dares a bit more in terms of minimalism and complexity. The palette is broader here, so to speak, but surely they share some roots.
Pardon this personal detour but in a way, Dia Man reminds me of some summer holidays I used to spend in Switzerland, Engadin valley, some years ago. I always admired and deeply enjoyed the sense of cleanliness, clarity, purity and almost unsettling calm you can feel wandering through the lakes and the Graubünden mountains in the summer season, together with the warm, cozy, subtle yet somehow also very austere, pragmatic, even slightly decadent neat elegance of many houses and cafés there. In my memories the world there was all green and blue with a sprinkle of flowers, a constant uplifting crisp breeze, a Swiss sense of restrained elegance combined with a deep, archaic love for nature and for the mountains, with their dark shades and primitive secrets (which a couple of clouds are enough to transform from heaven to the most frightening place on Earth). I mean, Nietzsche spent his holidays there, in Sils Maria’s village – you get what I mean. It’s not only about some fresh air and good food to seek some rest. It’s like wandering through human nature. Now ironically Amouage’s heritage hasn’t much to do with of all that (or maybe it has?), and yet the refreshing, soothing sense of sophisticated, almost meditative yet also very “civilized” raw naturalness is quite the same. Probably “natural elegance” hasn’t ever make so much sense as it would for Dia Man. And it’s something really beyond simple charm, or a simple “natural feel”. It’s truly the modulating smell of a whole ideal world in a bottle, a blend of crisp archaic nature and modern cozy refinement. And the choice of giving it such a discreet, subtle texture is just pure genius to me, as it really feels like a call to your sensitivity and intellect to appreciate it at its fullest. Brilliant!