PERFUME is one of the most personal gifts you can give, as our sense of smell, , is so intrinsically linked to our emotions and memories.
Antonia Bellanca, the perfumer behind Antonia’s Flowers fragrance, says: “Imagine a really fabulous winter’s night – you wear your favourite fragrance to go to dinner and then on to a party. Throughout the evening, your fragrance mingles with the different smells – the wine, flowers on the table, tobacco smoke and people closest to you.
“That’s the scent I love most – fragrance after you’ve had it on for hours.”
Whether you’re scent shopping for yourself this Christmas or a special someone, hit the high notes with our fragrance buying guide.
Indulge in some sensual therapy to get you into the festive spirit. And “spirits” are quite the tonic in fragrances right now, with a trend for intoxicating party-inspired ingredients such as tobacco, gin, rum and cognac.
Penhaligon’s new Juniper Sling, below, (from £78) includes cinnamon, orange brandy and gin – you can practically drink in the heady scent.
Think seduction, warmth and gourmand notes like liquorice, brown sugar and black cherry for a Christmas party spritz.
When you’re seeking a perfume for somebody else, the rules change.
Many women gravitate towards a single signature fragrance rather than a scent wardrobe, so try and pin down a perfume that ticks all the boxes. What fragrance bottle would look at home in their bedroom? What kind of brand would they be excited by?
More than half of all people buy a new scent before finishing an old bottle, so it’s no surprise 58% use different fragrances for different occasions, according to a recent poll by The Perfume Shop.
When you’re buying for another, if in doubt try a sampler box set like Vivabox (£36.99) which gives a fussy fragrance connoisseur seven minis to spritz and a voucher to exchange for their full-sized favourite.
Fragrance combining is the ultimate create- your-own nirvana for those that want a unique lingering scent as they walk down the street.
Blow the budget on Jo Malone’s Customised Fragrance Combining Collection (£230) or encourage experimentation with five favourites from their Christmas Cologne Collection (£62), above.
Never decide on a fragrance by the first spray. Let the scent develop on skin to give you a more accurate idea.
Ask the assistant to tell you about the concept behind the fragrance or ingredients used, so you can bring the perfume to life when you present it.
If you already know which scent you want to buy, impress on Christmas morning with a gift set or coffret, like this Issey Miyake L'eau d'Issey coffret, above, £50.50 at House of Fraser.
Don’t assume the smallest size of fragrance is the best value. It may be cheaper initially to purchase 30ml instead of 100ml, but the largest size is often better value.