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.
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.
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.
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