Fragrant gift ideas for friends

While looking for fragrant gift ideas for friends, consider this Christmas as an opportunity to say thank you in scented form – for the shared memories, hope-filled future plans and laughter-filled Zoom catch-ups that got you through the last couple of years!

The best thing about these gifts is, you don’t have to plump for one perfume and hope its ‘the one’ – these gift sets include a range of fragrances with something to tempt everyone. So, instead of getting them the same old thing (which can come across as not really having put any thought in), or randomly picking a scent you’re not sure they’d like (which seems a bit impersonal); choose a set based on the type of friendship you have, and on their unique character – you probably know them best in the whole world, after all!

This Christmas looks set to be better than last year, when so many of us were estranged from loved ones; but if you’re unable to see some of your friends in-person again this year, why not send them one of these boxes of joy, gift one to yourself, too, and arrange another Zoom call (possibly with a cocktail on-hand, why not?!) and enjoy some time smelling through the scents together.

That way you’ll really get to know what they love, and it will give you gift ideas for many years to come as a bonus: genius! For friends near or far – give them one of these to say…

 

 

“Thank you for always having my back, no matter what!”

For friends that have stayed with you through good times AND bad – the ones you could call at 2am crying, and they’d listen / come and get you / can always trust. This socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house have bottles created entirely from recycled glass, along with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations. A magic carpet-ride for the senses.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set: £30

 

 

“Thank you for being as ‘strange’ as me, I love you!”

For the friends you share secret in-jokes (perhaps even brains) with, and are just as wonderfully unique as you – the ones you only have to look at to know what they’re thinking, who can make you laugh across a crowded room. The quirky flair of perfumer Christophe Laudamiel is only matched by his genius skills and superior ingredients. Together with raw ingredient pioneer (Elizabeth Gaynes), and a fragrantly-obsessed supermodel (Helena Christensen!), this ultra-luxe niche collection is addictively fabulous.

Strangelove Discovery Set: £60

 

 

“Thank you for creating precious memories, and allowing me to dream!”

 

For the friends that have travelled with you: around the world, and emotionally, too – they’re by your side no matter how far apart you happen to live, and in even the darkest times you can smile at the shared memories you have. All these fragrances capture snapshots of happy memories in scent, crafted with such sophistication, a sense of refinement, true love and great attention to detail by this brilliant British perfumer and former president of The British Society of Perfumers.

Ruth Mastenbroek Discovery Set: £27.50

 

 

“Thank you for inspiring me with your love of myths / art / history / culture!”

 

 

For the friends who always recommend amazing books / art / places & films – you’re always inspired by what they’ve read or seen, places they’ve been or want to take you to. Here’s a house that takes founder Manos Gerakinis‘ family Istanbul heritage and childhood memories of Greece, and intertwines his love of art, history, classical mythology and philosophy. Scents that simmer with spices and precious ingredients, radiating diversity and passion, like friends who have you writing lists of wonderful new things to explore.

Manos Gerakinis Discovery Set: £35

 

 

“Thank you for understanding the REAL me!”


For friends that see right through to your soul, somehow, and always know when you’re upset or need some extra hugs – these ones just ‘get’ you (the real you) and you never have to explain: they just know. Personality types are integral to choosing the perfect perfume because it’s such an emotional connection. So, each of these fragrances is formed around a distinct character profile, allowing the person choosing to have a strong idea of where to begin. A beautifully thoughtful collection, brilliantly explained.

Olfactive O Discovery Set: £30

Gift Guide: choosing scents to suit people’s personalities

Can we say ‘the C word’ yet? No, no that one. The other one. Okay, we’ll whisper it: Christmas… Because even though we all grumble about it getting earlier each year; this one, in particular, people seem to be prepping WAY in advance for. Understandable given last year’s sadly curtailed festivities and people’s concerns about 2021’s Big Day.

The thing about gifting fragrance (at any time of year) is that it can be difficult to know where to begin when picking out a perfume for someone else. Especially if you’re not exactly sure of their tastes, and don’t want to spoil the surprise by asking. So, here’s some really handy tips to finding the right scent for the special someone you’re thinking of…

1: If you live with the person or are visiting them soon, have a quick shifty around where they keep their current fragrances if at all possible. You may notice a theme (they’re all rose-based scents or feature leather, for example. Maybe some of them are by the same fragrance house or perfumer?)

2: Make a note of the fragrance name they wear now, then look on our genius Fragrance Finder, which will suggest six other scents they’re likely to also love.

3: If you know what hobbies and personal passions they have, this is a great clue as to their innermost personalities – as are the way they like to dress or how they choose to decorate their home! See below for our scent-matching suggestions for personality types.

4: You’ve a far better chance of striking gold with a scent-match if you gift a Discovery Box or Sample Set – a curated collection of fragrances put together around a theme or showcasing the full range of styles a particular house has to offer.

Which of these character descriptions would suit them best…?

 

Spiritual = Scented Retreat Discovery Box £23 / VIP price £19. Are they in to yoga / meditation / need to relax? Or perhaps want to be more ‘mindful’ but are far too stressed? This scented collection soothes while turning their home into a much-longed for spa-like experience where they can calm, focus and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

 

Eco-friendly & young at heart = Floral Street £14. If they’re trying to be more environmentally aware and have a fun, bubbly nature, the perfect gift would be these sustainable, vivacious and multi award-winning scents. Floral fragrances as you’ve never smelled them before, effortlessly wearable.  

Heritage lovers = Floris Classic Collection £35. Do they adore historical dramas and great literature, prefer traditional styles of furnishings and vintage clothes? This Floris set encompasses their heritage heroes – exqusite scents from crisp citrus to rich, woody creations.

 

 

Arty & modern = La Maison J.U.S. £30. Are they always off to see the latest contemporary exhibitions, love creative expression & unusual, cult names? Choose this collection of vibrant, beautifully artistic fragrances for impactful fragrant expressionism.

 

 

Characterful & unique = Olfactive O £30. If they’re in to learning more about themselves, love reading about psychology or check their horoscopes, we bet they’ll adore these from a niche house that invites people to explore their innermost soul through scents.

Really, whichever set you choose, there’s a whole range of fragrances in each to suit pretty much everyone, but we hope this gift guide has helped point you in the right perfumed direction! And fear not – in the coming weeks we’ll have even more specifically chosen guides to put you on the right perfumed present path…

Lorenzo Dante Ferro, Venetian Master Perfumer: 20% off code for Perfume Society readers!

Sumptuously beautiful (and so-seasonal) scented gifts by Lorenzo Dante Ferro, Venetian Master Perfumer with an exclusive 20% off code? Oh, take us to Venice immediately!

Much as we’d love to be jetting off to that spectacular Italian city right now, that’s sadly not possible. We can, however, transport you there with the power of perfume…

You see, there are very few people in the world who, through years of rigorous studies and many exams, earned the right to call themselves ‘Master Perfumer’. Lorenzo Dante Ferro is one of them.

Here’s that code for a 20% discount at venetianmasterperfumer.com:

PERFUMESOCIETYVIP

 

 

Having excelled at a selective aptitude test during his chemistry studies in Zurich, Switzerland, Lorenzo hot-footed it to Grasse, undertaking professional perfumer-training studies in a particular technique of perfume composition taught at Compagnie d’Argeville.

Lorenzo then went on to create the Venetian Master Perfumer perfume house, confecting bespoke blends for a diverse group of private clients – from luxury hotels to notable estates, all hungry for the opulence and historic traditions he so effortlessly evokes.And now, with a full fragrance wardrobe of personal perfumes and fragranced products to offer, we are all able to dress ourselves in Venetian Master Perfumer fragrances, which are stunningly wearable in any era – they feel timeless yet contemporary somehow.

You can read all about the history of the house in our page dedicated to Lorenzo Dante Ferro – but for now, let’s delight in anticipation, as we take a look at some of the gorgeous (and so gift-worthy) items that caught our eyes (and noses!)

 

Firstly, and with practicality in mind, we love the brand new Soluzione 22 (RRP £18 for 110ml) – a beautifully perfumed hand santiser which Lorenzo Dante Ferro tell us ‘is used by doctors in Italy,’ and is ‘much more than just perfumed hand sanitiser, it is an “aromatherapy hand sanitiser” containing 22 ingredients with sanitising properties and 86% Alcohol.’ Highly protective AND gorgeously scented? We’re stocking up.

 

Launching ourselves fully into the festive spirit, we couldn’t resist these lovely Christmas Home Fragrances Gift Sets, (RRP £70).

ARANCIA DI SICILIA – (SWEET ORANGES) The fresh and tangy sweetness of freshly squeezed Sicilian oranges. 100ml Fragrance Spray.

PINO SCOZZESE – (SCOTTISH PINE) The fresh and revitalising notes of lush forest vegetation. 250ml Cylinder Home Fragrance Diffuser with Reed sticks.

PAN PEPATO – (GINGERBREAD) Freshly baked gingerbread, a traditional and heart warming way to say ‘Welcome’. 100ml Fragrance Spray.

 

As for perfuming ourselves, we’re reaching for the so-pretty Fior di Panna Christmas gift set (RRP £99), comprising 50ml eau de parfum of Fior di Panna – a delicately powdery floral that evokes warm skin, tenderly kissed – with matching 110ml Home Fragrance Spray and a cute Heart Shaped Fragranced Soap.

‘We have a code we will like to share with you…’ they told us. Explaining that, (INCREDIBLY generously) ‘This will never expire.’ Never! So, they’re giving Perfume Society readers 20% off across the site, FOREVER! We may swoon with delight.

So, here’s that code for a 20% discount at venetianmasterperfumer.com: PERFUMESOCIETYVIP

We wonder: what will you use it on first…?

By Suzy Nightingale

Stocking fillers – mini scented sets!

Stocking fillers used to be novelty gifts, somewhat lacklustre confectionery goods and perhaps a satsuma – lovely to open as a child, of course, but now we’re finding adults are massively in to the nostalgia of exchanging Christmas stockings. And we require the fillers to be a little more… fabulous, let’s say.

Because let’s face it, the stocking presents were the highlight of Christmas – encapsulating the excitement of waking up and ripping off the wrapping paper with wild abandon. You may wish to rise at a rather more dignified hour, now, and perhaps begin the day with a cup of tea (or a long glass of Mimosa – well it is Christmas!)

But why not consider putting together a stocking stuffed with lovely little gifts to give a partner – or send a friend you can’t be with this year, and face time them as they open it?!

Here’s some mini sets and exciting fragrant finds we’d love to find in our stockings this year… Give them the whole box, break up a set to gift several friends (or keep some for yourself? We won’t tell…)

 

Banana Republic ICON Discovery Set £8 for four fragrances
This pocket-friendly set showcases four of the Banana Republic fragrances – scents that have fast gained a cult status among fragrance afficionados, who were wowed by their originality, longevity and and diversity. From sun-soaked orange blossom to smoky rose, a cashmere soft hug to vibrant forest-y freshness – you’ll definitely know someone who’d adore exploring these.

Sous Le Manteau Collection: £19 for five fragrances
Olivia Bransbourg discovered a 19th Century book of actual French love potions in a Parisian flea market. Fascinated by the centuries-old recipes and with the help of perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer, these potions were reincarnated into FIVE divine fragrances, in a dinky parcel that fits in the palm of your hand. You’ll be enraptured by honeyed sensuality, wrapped in a cloud, grounded in the moment, embraced by powdery kisses and tempted by feverish naughtiness…

 

Maison Matine Discovery Set £15 for six fragrances
This quirky French niche house urges everyone, no matter our ages, to be ‘a bit more daring every day.’ With free-spirited, immediately uplifting fragrances, each one has been created by emerging ‘noses’ and possesses its own unique charm. They believe – as we do – that perfume has the power to help you overthrow a bad morning and actively choose to change your day. Tropical odysseys, calming cocoons, zesty adventures and the whole world awaits!

 

Rook Perfumes Discovery Set £15 for three fragrances
Here’s a perfume house with infinite layers – rule-breaking and innovative as well as beautiful. Described as ‘a diplomat dressed as a punk rocker’, Rook was created by founder, Nadeem Crowe, as his signature scent, while Forest conjures damp earth, wet moss and cedar and Undergrowth exactly evokes ‘pulling fresh garden mint from the earth.’ Crowe happens to be an NHS frontline doctor AND actor (yes, really!) and uses the power of perfume to transport himself. Where, we wonder, will his creations transport you…?

 

L’Orchestre Parfum Mix Tape Vol.1 £25 for six fragrances
A mix tape? It genuinely is – you simply scan the QR code to listen to tracks inspired by the fragrances (which are, in turn, inspired by musical instruments). And oh, the fragrances are stunning: carnal florals to soothing sandalwood; a fizz of electro-pop to the smoky rose throbbing with deep vibrations of a trombone. There’s something for everyone to fall for, here (particularly great for music lovers!) and we’re sure a number will strike a chord with you.

 

Experimental Perfume Club Discovery Set £25 for six fragrances
This fun set features fragrances to layer, explore and learn with – a brilliant gift for those wanting to become a perfumer, or hungry to explore their sense of smell. Each eau de parfum is either a TOP LAYER, MID LAYER or BASE LAYER. Wear alone, or mix them up – cards within each box offer inspirations to start to your scented experiments. Dive into the fun of discovering your own favourite combination – a unique fragrant blend that’s as close to bespoke as you can get!

By Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant gift ideas – Six sets to send someone you miss…

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be walking you through some of the many fabulous fragrant gift ideas we’ve got to take the stress out of shopping for scent online. So will it be a well-deserved little treat for yourself, or something to send those friends and loved ones you miss most…?

During this strangest of years, we’ve been reaching for fragrance as a way to soothe troubled nerves, remind ourselves of places and people we love. While reseraching an article for The Scented Letter magazine, on how the pandemic has changed the way we use perfume, I was contacted by many fragrance lovers who told me moving stories of why they’d been switching up their scents.

‘I changed fragrances every day so that there wouldn’t be a single “Lockdown” perfume in my memory,’ one woman related, while another agreed that ‘I’ve been forcing myself to wear something different everyday’, going so far as to put away the recent purchase of a new favourite, ‘Because I don’t want to associate this year with one particular juice…. I’d never wear it again!’

While not everyone has taken it to quite these extremes, many of you, it seems, have been adding more fragrances into your wardrobe, simply for the pleasure of experiencing new things – newness and diversity being something the majority of us have been sorely missing for so long! Because people are desperately missing getting to try new perfumes on their skin.

A busy nurse told me ‘I SO miss going to sniff new things and try them on,’ while others chimed in, expressing frustration, ‘The virus has affected my ability to travel and to ‘go sniffing’ – I think that’s where I’ve felt the biggest impact.’

But we know it can be confusing to work out where to start when searching for a new scent. That’s where samples can be so useful – a unique way to try fragrances at home, and perhaps discover houses you’ve never heard of and perfumes you’d never normally get to try (or even overlook, because you didn’t think they were ‘you’!)

Why not treat a loved one (and yourself) to one of these brilliant Brand Sets – some of the most exciting niche luxury scent houses in the world – all without having to leave your sofa…?

Escentric Molecules Discovery Set £25

Perfumer Geza Schoen revolutionised the fragrance world by showcasing fragrance molecules – both in isolation, and mixed with harmonious notes to echo and bolster the sometimes subtle complexities of the molecules alone. These molecules were the secrets of the scent world for many years – many perfume houses wouldn’t mention them, but Geza wanted to shout about how incredible they are.TEN fragrances in all – the entire range – which suits any gender or age, but will particularly appeal to those fascinated by science, ultra cool brands and wanting to smell unique.

Anima Vinci Discovery Set £20

With a background at the very first ‘niche’ perfumery house – and years at the creative helm of one of the UK’s most historic fragrance names – Nathalie Vinciguerra brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. But it’s her passion for authenticity and sustainability within the world of fragrance that finally drove her to create Anima Vinci. Nathalie genuinely believes in perfume’s power to uplift our senses, and to enhance our own ability to emotionally connect to our surroundings. Building their scents around a central ethos of literally allowing yourself time to stop and smell the roses (and jasmine, Palo Santo, citrus, sesame seeds…) these are fragrances to gift someone who’d appreciate a beautiful moment of calmness – a fragrance focus for each day.

 

Floral Street Discovery Set £14

Florals, but absolutely not as you know them, were the driving passion for founder Michelle Feeney launching British niche house of Floral Street, and they’ve since had roaring success with their so-modern fragrances that look as beautiful as they smell – and with sustainability very much in mind. Each scent is created by star perfumer Jérôme Épinette, known for his mastery of natural ingredients. As Floral Street put it: ‘These are bunches – not bouquets. Ingredients, not notes. And it’s about ease, modernity and joy.’ Michelle adds: ‘My mission is to bring fine fragrance to the modern female – so that she might build an entire fragrance wardrobe, which can express the many facets of who she is.’ Perfect, too, for younger family members or best friends who’d love to explore more…

Map of the Heart Discovery Set £35

Co-founders Sarah Blair and Jeffrey Darling created Map of the Heart – award-winning fragrances that come from a passion for telling stories and their understanding that scent can transport the wearer in a split second. Proudly Australian, each fragrance by perfumer Jaques Huclier has a seam of sandalwood at its core, and it throbs life through the perfumed pulse of this niche house’s scents, using indigenously and sustainably sourced Santalum spicatum. Encompassing a passion for telling stories and understanding that scent can transport the wearer just as words, images and films can whisk us to another world – this set showcases their entire range, and is a wonderful gift for the artistic traveller in your life.

 

Partere Discovery Set £20

Over a dozen of Parterre’s perfume ingredients are uniquely grown and extracted in a state-of-the-art still at their botanic estate at Keyneston Mill, in Dorset. But the exquisite compositions themselves are the masterful work of Jacques Chabert – one of the world’s leading perfumers, who has worked with such esteemed houses as Chanel and Guerlain. This British house are completely groundbreaking in the way they work, and we fell in love with everything they do. Showcasing ferns, lavender and mosses, roses, jasmine and geranium – and did we mention the British-grown Vetiver…? The Parterre perfumes make the journey ‘from botany to bottle’ in the most exquisite way, so perhaps one to gift a gardening-obsessed loved one – they’ll find this set nothing short of magical.

Kierin NYC Discovery Set £15

Inclusive of all genders, races and life experiences, these fragrances are aimed particularly at a younger market who are searching for something extra, other than just a nice smell in a bottle that means nothing about who they are. For founder Mona Maine de Biran this means inviting people ‘…to be inspired, not defined or confined, by fragrance.’ Mona’s philosophy is that ‘wearing the right fragrance for you can be like putting on battle dress or going to peace-out in a park. I’m trying to use fragrance not only to recall memories but to help me be in the moment, to live in the present.’ One of the most talked-about perfume houses to emerge from that metropolis in years, these are scents that particularly appeal to individualists, younger loved ones who want a fragrance to express themselves, tell their own stories in scent.

 

Whichever of these six scent sets you choose – be assured that the recipient will love the opportunity to try something new, perhaps even find their next fragrant love, all thanks to you. And really, who wouldn’t love to receive a fabulous box of fragrant wonders through the post at any time – but most especially when we can’t be together in person…

By Suzy Nightingale

Father’s Day’s not far away: send the perfect present, even if you’re apart

Around the world, people are working out how best to celebrate Father’s Day – be that with a birth father, stepdad or any special man in their lives – in a safe, socially-distanced or ‘virtual’ way.

We have ideas for the perfect gifts to show how much you care, with no gift-wrapping or travelling to the post office to worry about – all available at the click of a button – and no matter what his age/personality/preferences may be!

So, do book in a Zoom meeting, catch up with a phone call, or even safely wave from the bottom of a garden (heartbreaking though that can be) if you’re able; but how about a scented treat to boost his spirits and (let’s face it) perhaps nudge him away from that years-old bottle of fragrance he’s had festering away on a bathroom shelf for years. So is he…

Not sure what he likes? This is the answer!

Our Everyman Discovery Box was put together with men in mind (though we know many female friends who love the more ‘masculine’ vibe of these scents!) and it’s the perfect way to gently introduce a whole new wardrobe of options into your special guy’s life.

There’s independent perfume houses making their mark: Goldfield & Banks from Australia, decadent French niche with Atelier Des Ors, and Kierin NYC fresh from the streets of New York. Also more loved names and newness from Jimmy Choo, Montblanc, Eight & Bob, Yardley (18ml!), Salvatore Ferragamo, Banana Republic, JUSBOX and Lalique. And: TWO FULL SIZE GROOMING PRODUCTS! Fish Soho Original Fish Shape Texturising Cream (100ml) – just in case their at-home haircut didn’t go to plan – and the fab, pampering, Super Facialist for Men Vitamin B3 Deep Cleanse Face Mask (125ml).

Everyman Discovery Box £19 / or £15 for VIP Club Members

A sophisticated chap? Get classy & practical!

Treat him to something classy and practical with this fab ‘twist and spray’ travel set (we’re sure he’ll appreciate the irony of ‘travel’ right now – but hey, a trip to the supermarket is travelling, right?!) He’s sure to fall in love with the immaculately blended dry cedar and warm sandalwood shot through with aromatic citrus (and with two back-up bottles included, hey maybe you could ‘borrow’ one…?)

Chanel Bleu de Chanel Travel Spray £69 for 60ml (3 x 20ml) eau de toilette
johnlewis.com

Leather jacket-wearing indie-loving dad? Nostalgic perfection!

Such a unique, yet instantly memorable, fragrance this one. Overlapping shades and textures of leather and suede are rendered in scented form, shot through with a trio of citrus – tangerine, mandarin and elemi – then softened by powdery iris and a snuggle of cashmere with the wet earth coolness of vetiver misted over smoky drifts of birch and incense for a touch of ‘grunge bar chic’.

 

Miller Harris Étui Noir £80 for 50ml eau de parfum
millerharris.com

Intellectual dad? This one’s ideal for deep-thinkers!

Inspired by classical Greek myth, this surprisingly complex take on mint swirls herbs into the dappled shade of a traditional fougère structure, then infused with a contemporary edge of thorny rose oxide. Cool as a long cold drink on a hot day, crisp asfrost on green leaves, the verdant notes swoon to skin-warmed whispers of soft muskiness that intrigue the whole day through.

 

Diptyque Eau de Minthé £120 for 75ml
diptyqueparis.com

Wishes he was Italian? Get him groomed & smelling good!

If his #LockdownBeard has got a bit out of control, why not hint with this super-stylish kit that he’ll be positively flaunting in the bathroom? Containing a shaving brush, the Shaving Cream and the Aftershave Emulsion in 40ml size, for us it’s all about that iconic Colonia in a dinky 20ml size (suave freshness personified – as worn by Cary Grant!)

Acqua di Parma Prestige Shaving Kit £135
acquadiparma.com

‘Embracing modernity’ kinda dude? Update his scent style with this!

Now look, we know all dads aren’t fuddy-duddy and some don’t need any style tips whatsoever… while others could perhaps do with dusting down and bringing into the light. Either way, this charismatic take on Mediterranean charm fuses blood orange and Sicillian lemon with green herbs, fiery pimento and cool woods will boost his spirits.

 

Dolce&Gabbana K £55 for 50ml eau de toilette
boots.com

A gift to make him chuckle (that genuinely smells lovely!)

Now here’s something to put a smile on their faces (and relief all-round in the family home, perhaps?) with a ‘before you go’ spray of pure eucalyptus and spearmint natural oils, ‘that helps eliminate bathroom odours before they begin’, as they tastefully put it. And you know what? It really works! Think of it as your present to whomever has to live with him…

 

Poo Pourri Royal Flush £11.99 for 118ml
poopourri.co.uk

By Suzy Nightingale