A Dialogue in Definition

–  a conversation and a review of Amouage ‘Beloved’

“You know that famous quote:”

What is left after a woman removes her jewels, her clothes and her makeup? Her skin…and her perfume.

“Ah, yes. I love that he said ‘woman’.

“Girls could never carry that off. They don’t know enough, have too much to prove.”

“You mean, like those days I look around on the street and see all those Bright Young Things in their bright, fashionable dresses and catch myself thinking…I don’t envy you.

“Precisely. There’s no reason why you should. You are what you are, all of a piece. You’re not afraid of making an impression.”

“Preferably a good one, but mainly that I make one! So what would such an impression be?”

“Be careful. Impressions are one thing, expressions another. Let’s start with that. You choose your expression, as in, say, you choose…a perfume. One that tells the story of you in that moment in time, your mood, your emotions, how you express yourself to the world, the impression you want to leave behind when you leave the room. Are you still with me?”

“Oh, yes! And very intrigued.”

“Good! So then…confident. Complex. Very modern, independent-minded, very aware of what goes on around you, very secure in your skin. Which is to say, as secure as any woman gets with age and the kind of acquired wisdom only an idiot wouldn’t appreciate as it deserves.”

“I like it! Keep talking.”

“Now for the challenge. How to say all that without words…Rose, of course. Every woman worth knowing contains a rose of a singular hue. You’re a feisty, fiery female, so we need something to capture that – a hint of spice, some opening intimations of your depths, but nothing loud, nothing obvious. A touch of jasmine, maybe, something as soft as a swans down powder puff, maybe a breath of chamomile and clary sage?”

“You’re only just starting and it sounds so complicated already!”

“You mean you’re not? Knock me down with a powder puff…I’m just trying to capture the …idea, the concept, the hello! moment.”

“But it should shift and move and change, or it becomes too one-dimensional, when we all know I have at least four. Or was that six?”

“Hush. I’m not finished. Where was I?”

“A breath of chamomile and clary sage…”

“That’s right. It would have to be seamless, no jarring edges, no discordancies, no taking you apart at the seams. Just this…shifting, kaleidoscopic, complexity of evolution…You’ve said hello. They’re taking notice. Next, we need to hint at those fathomless depths…the unexplainable you, the parts that can’t be dissembled, or the intricacies come tumbling down. This will not do. All of a piece, remember?”

“Like that famous line… ‘Men can be analyzed. Women simply adored.’

“I love a woman who understands what I’m trying to say. So…depth. Layers of meaning unfolding through time like a thousand-petaled rose, every petal a different meaning, another idea, another …kind of definition. Something elegant yet restrained, classical yet not boring, and again…seamless. Plush, luxurious and rich, that goes without saying. The olfactory equivalent of velvet that changes in the candlelight…”

“You’ve missed your calling. You should have been a poet. I’m swooning already, and we’re just into the heart notes.”

“You’re too classy, too cool to swoon. But a little…dizzy is fine. Remember…impressions! Ylang-ylang, maybe…violet, certainly, but not overly sweet, a little cistus, whispers of benzoin with those thick vanillic tones, a sotto voce ribbon of frankincense and patchouli smoldering beneath the floral, I think. Yes, that would be perfect. So long as it’s kept ethereal. Make them wonder, make them dream, never give all your secrets away, that’s the idea – and that’s your idea, too.”

“You know me too well.”

“Not at all. You’re a woman, there’s no such thing as ever knowing everything there is to know about a woman like you. That’s half the thrill.”

“What’s the other half?”

“Ah, now, it’s late…you’re home, you’re taking off your public self, that carefully crafted image, you step out of your shoes, you remove your earrings, you are ready to reveal that private, sensuous self, the one the world suspects but never sees, and that, too, is part of your endless intrigue. This is the woman who smolders, who glows like pearl after midnight. For those words, we need that suggestion of moonlight, those endless depths that reveal something of that secret self, that part that is all woman, that part that is skin – and perfume.”

“You had me at the ‘night is yet young’ part.”

“Excellent! A little cedar and sandalwood says midnight, the leather and the musk sing ‘skin’, the castoreum and the civet say…the private you the world will never know and never see, but can only guess, only wish they knew. We can say it just a little louder, that depth and that breadth and that scope and that passion that defines everything you do, that passion that only glows after midnight.”

“Do you know, it sounds to me as if you’re defining all women, or all that women should aspire to be…the kind of woman who would inspire such a perfume.”

“Not at all. I’d only do it for the truly deserving. Few women are. I’d do for the extraordinary woman, the woman most women aspire to be but they have to work at it. The best ones never do. They have nothing to prove, so they’re free to explore, free to act, free to express themselves according to their rules, their definitions.”

“I should be flattered. Actually, I’m a lot more than that. I’m amazed.”

“Don’t be. You’re amazing. Tell the world!”

“I don’t see how I can’t, with a perfume like that. And if anyone should ask, what name should I give them?”

“You mean you don’t know? Can you keep a secret?”

“As if you had to ask. You already know so many of mine.”

“I’d call it…Beloved.”

“You don’t think that’s too…démodé, too old-fashioned?”

“No. It’s nothing more and nothing less…than what every woman should be.”

Beloved. What every woman should be.


With a thank you for the Really Big Inspiration, who knows…

Notes: (from Basenotes)

Top: Jasmine, rose, clary sage, clove bud, chamomile, cardamom

Heart: Ylang-ylang, violet, everlasting flower, cistus, benzoin, olibanum, patchouli

Base: Cedar, sandalwood, castoreum, civet, leather, musk, vanilla, maltol and amber

Amouage Beloved is available as a 100 ml Eau de Parfum exclusively at Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman, Tsum and Amouage boutiques.

Disclosure: A sample was made available for review by Amouage

4 thoughts on “A Dialogue in Definition

  1. An exquisite and very uniquely written review, Tarleisio! Of course, I would expect no less from the extraordinary woman I’ve come to know. ❤

    1. Darling Scent Twin…that’s the nicest thing I’ve read all day! Sometimes, it does a writer good to …bend the rules and push the limits and do something different! So I did – and I’m thoroughly happy that yuo enjoyed it so much! ❤ xo

  2. It makes me wonder with whom you spoke for this inspiration. This doesn’t sound like Dev. Maybe a certain blast from the past…?

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