How to choose fragrance as a gift (with men in mind…)

How to choose a fragrance as a gift is something we get asked a lot – from those looking to treat the men in lives with a new scent, and from people just starting to explore the fragrant world themselves. Either way, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting – especially if you’re shopping online.

With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes.

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents (you can always buy the full-size of the one he loves most, later!)

Take a look at some of the suggestions, below. But first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life (or you) still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge (especially after lockdown!) but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

Let’s change it up… So, think about:

 

 

 

 

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Character, hobbies and personal style are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) That’s why a selection of samples to try at home is the best bet. Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent ambers along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

1: If you already know a fragrance they like

Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).

If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

 

 

 

 

2: If you’ve no idea what they like / How to choose fragrance

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite!

[Pssst! We’ve also extended our offer of 20% off Men’s Must Have, Suave Scents and Niche VI Discovery Boxes to treat your papa, a father-figure or special guy in your life to perfume for Father’s Day! Use the Code: FATHERS22 at the checkout to redeem!]

COLLAB – The Colonia Laboratory: book an artist to personalise your Acqua di Parmaperfume

Collab – The Colonia Laboratory An Exclusive Co-Creation Experience Turning Every Colonia Into A One-Of-A-Kind Collector’s Piece

Most of us (especially here!) can agree that perfumery is an art form – albeit one that’s invisibly conveyed. Usually, invisible, that is. But now, if we’re purchasing a favourite perfume or one that speaks to our souls in some way; more of us are seeking that extra-special something we can collect or keep forever, or give as a gift that we’ve really put some thought in to its choosing. Luckily for us, Acqua di Parma are now offering a unique artistic way to make your mark…

 

What is COLLAB?

‘A special Acqua di Parma initiative in partnership with one of the most important schools of fashion, design,visual arts and communication in Italy and internationally the Instituto Europeo di Design (IED), where six emerging Italian talents bring six different creative concepts of emotions and colours to life in a collection of 300 unique 180ml pieces from the Colonia Collection. An exclusive opportunity, available both in-store or online, to own collector’s pieces whether for self, or as bespoke gifts like no other.

 

 

The COLLAB project was conceived as a co-creation laboratory where together with the selected artist and theme, clients can customise their very own personal fragrance bottle from the Colonia Collection. With every theme, clients will have the opportunity to add a personal touch to the final product, be it a horoscope symbol with Sky Signs, a Roman number of choices with Animalia, or a bandana with a personal message by Paolo Moscheni. From start to the end, the clients will experience a one-on-one journey to owning a truly one-of-a-kind collector’s piece.

 

 

In the spirit of inclusivity and to offer clients across Italy and Europe the same engaging experience, the one-on-one appointments can also take place online through an integrated platform on Acqua di Parma’s website and the final personalised product will then be delivered to them.’

How does it work?

1. Select your Colonia and book an online or physical appointment* to customise the fragrance with your selected COLLAB artist

2. Collaborate with the artist during your 20min personalisation slot

3. At the end of the experience and after the payment, you will have your exclusive collectable Colonia ready to take home. If you have chosen online personalisation, the fragrance will be delivered to you with free shipping!

Link to book: acquadiparma.com

 

Now, your only problem is which of the fabulous Acqua di Parma fragrances to have personalised. Why not peruse our page dedicated to their history, with added descriptions of the perfumes, for your pondering delights…?

 

Dream Scents – unboxing fragrances for when love is in the air

Just-launched, this Dream Scents Discovery Box is SO perfect for right now. Not only because love is in the air, and this collection would make a wonderful gift for someone you adore; but because we’ve especially curated these scents to encourage you to escape via fragrant fantasies…

 

We know that times have been tough for so many, and continuing uncertainties make everything feel less than secure. We also know for a fact that fragrance can help. Smelling wonderful is not merely some frivolity – connecting to scent and allowing your imagination to take flight genuinely helps. There’s a reason that fragrance sales soared worldwide during lockdowns. Which of your loved ones would be most thrilled to receive this incredible collection of niche, new and hard-to-find scents, we wonder?

Intentions, resolutions, promises, fantasies — whichever form they come in, dreams and aspirations are never more achievable — not to mention more necessary — than now. So here at PSHQ we’re hoping to help you capitalise on this with our new Dream Scents collection of fragrances. From dreaming of new beginnings to far-flung destinations that house exotic ingredients to finding new levels of confidence, we hope these scents help to unlock the power of dreaming for each and every one of you.

Watch the unboxing on our IGTV channel, and revel in your own fragrant flights of fancy while wondering who to send this to… We suggest if you’re having it sent as a valentines gift, it’s best to order by February 10th to ensure it gets there on the big day.

 

 

 

The Dream Scents Discovery Box is priced £24 + p&p* to VIP Club Members & £27 + p&p to everyone else – be sure to log into your account to take advantage of the special VIP Club price. Inside, you’ll find this amazing line-up of niche scents we know your inteneded recipient will fall in love with.

In fact, don’t you deserve a box, too…?

 

 

Juliette Has A Gun Lipstick Fever 5ml eau de parfum
Juicy raspberry greets us, tempting us to take a bite, followed by an almost-edible violet note, whose powdery virtues are swiftly compounded by the arrival of softest iris. Patchouli and vanilla then finish the fragrance off with a voluptuous, gourmand quality that whispers of the woman who wears this fragrance – a seductive and worldly Parisienne who knows precisely what she wants.

Creed Spring Flower 2ml eau de parfum
Vibrant fresh green notes combined with succulent fruits including peach, apricot, melon and apple shimmer over an exquisite floral heart of jasmine and rose. A subtle musk base provides just the right note of playful sensuality.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Gold Edition 5ml eau de parfum
The dominant impression in this gender-fluid creation is of silky- smooth Chantilly cream, whipped with a sprinkling of spicy nutmeg to add a tingle of heat to the sublimely lingering amber of the dry-down.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Silver Edition 5ml eau de parfum
Marrying nutmeg to amber in the top notes, a bitter berry aspect drifts from the heart, buoyed by a surprisingly floral coriander seed essence that smells of summer blossoms and sunshine, somehow. In the base we snuggle down to get musky tones – the amber smoothing the dry-down here, the vanilla delivering an irresistible sense of warm skin.

Atelier Materi Cacao Porcelana 2ml eau de toilette
White cacao yields sensuous notes of walnut and milk with hints of tonka bean. After opening on sweet, syrupy top notes, Atelier Materi’s Cacao Porcelana unpacks its bitterness, sustained by powdery and woody notes. Light tobacco, patchouli and sandalwood scents give Cacao Porcelana a sensual, even fleshy signature.

Maison Crivelli Iris Malikhân 1.5ml eau de parfum
This fragrance is a fusion of opposites and surprises. Resinous beginnings make us feel sure we’re going in a green direction – yes, a fresh, piney, green direction. Definitely. But what’s this? Soft-powdery orris and sweet-powdery mimosa, the green facets of mimosa making for a seamless handover. So, by the time we get to the amber-leather dry down, we’re no longer surprised at how tame the leathery note is under the mesmerising spell of perfume creator and Maison Crivelli founder, Thibaud Crivelli.
      
Maison Crivelli Rose Saltifolia 1.5ml eau de parfum
Inspired by a stroll by the sea, through a field of roses exposed to the salty sea air, Rose Saltifolia combines a delicate and very fresh Centifolia rose with silky seaweed to create a totally unprecedented gender-free perfume.

Maison Crivelli Santal Volcanique 5ml eau de parfum
Spicy and explosive ginger grabs our attention, piqued with a little effervescent lime, which together ensure we’re fully engaged. Why? So that we don’t miss a second of the charred sandalwood that then comes to the fore of course, in all its smoky, milky, evocative wonderfulness.

How to buy a fragrance for someone you love…

Valentines Day – love it or loathe it – is just around the corner, and here at The Perfume Society, we believe it should be about treating someone you love with a scent that’s perfect for them (and that can be anyone you care about, not only someone you’re romantically involved with!)

Have you got a friend who could do with some kindness coming their way, or a loved one you’ve not been able to see in person for some time? Follow our guide, and we’ve several suggestions to help you find some truly fabulous fragrances that will truly suit them, and which they’re bound to fall for…

 

 

 

If you already know what they love

Well you’re off to a good start! Now all you need to do is type the name of that scent into our genius Fragrance Finder, and the clever algorithm – based on information we source directly from the fragrance houses and perfumers themselves – will suggest six new fragrances that, while different from the original you typed, share a similar mood, character or key ingredients. It really works!

 

 

Or, why not have a look at matching products available for their favourite fragrance, such as a gorgeously decadent bath oil, rich body cream or even a fragranced hair mist. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of perfumes at this time of year, or, if you really wanted to push the boat out, many fragrance houses offer engraving or other forms of personalisation for a full-size bottle.

 

 

 

If you have no idea what they like (or they want to try something new)

The best idea is to get a Discovery Box of fabulous mini sizes and samples from a wide range of luxury, niche and top-end designer fragrance houses. That way they can start exploring and trying them all in the comfort of their own home, and most importantly, in their own time. Each box is carefully curated to include something for all tastes, and once they’ve found ‘the one’ (or perhaps several) you can then buy a full size, safe in the knowledge they’ve already tried it on their skin. It’s a particularly brilliant way to get people trying fragrances they’ve perhaps never heard of, or wouldn’t have thought about spraying in a shop. We know SO many people who’ve discovered their all-time scent loves this way!

 

 

 

 

How to know if a fragrance will suit them?

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

Once you’ve narrowed it down – either by using the Fragrance Finder or perhaps finding them a new scent from a house they’re already drawn to – the best solution is to buy them a Brand Set: these showcase a wide selection of scents from the same house, and chances are if they already like one, they could swoon for another in that range.

Remember – scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots, some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! They may even surprise themselves with their favourite. And really the best thing is that thrill of exploration while discovering their new scent love is a gift that keeps on giving (and showing how much you love them) for years to come…

 

Fragrances For… feeling calmer at Christmas

Christmas can often be a stressful time for many – perhaps moreso than ever these past couple of years – so we’re turning to the scents that make us feel cosy, soothed, like wearing a hug in fragrant form. All of the below are recently launched and well worth your while seeking out for some quiet moments of bliss, just for you…

 

 

BARBOUR
For Her
Misty mornings beckon, mellow light and stillness, winter sunshine and crisp air reflected in this so-evocative scent that sings of British meadows. Picture rolling, heathered hills, spiderwebs jewelled with dew drops, invigorating citrus soon segueing to the soothing floral heart. Wisps of summer memories are married to a snuggle-me-closer tonka and orris base that is softness personified. Fresh and classic all at once, and we’re loving the on-brand hipflask-esque bottle.
£49 for 50ml eau de parfum
barbour.com

 

 


LE LABO
Thé Matcha 26

The Japanese tradition of drinking matcha tea is far more meaningful than a quick sip, and similarly Le Labo says this is ‘much more than a scent to us. It is a moment of introspection.’ Take time for yourself as the powdery tea accord embraces you with a creamy hint of fig and textural cedar in the base. There’s sweet orange to revive, a whisper of vetiver, too, providing extra grounding comfort.
£141 for 50ml
lelabofragrances.com

 

OSTENS
Cedarwood Heart
Fragrance lasts less well in the central heating system, which is drying to the body, because perfume needs oils in the skin, to cling to. So Alexis Dadier’s Cedarwood Heart eau de parfum creation for Ostens has a complementary fragrance oil, for layering on to turbo-charge this exquisite, dressed-up creation, a-swirl with ingredients from fabled LMR Naturals including galbanum, cedarwood heart, orris, ylang ylang, ambergris, moss and patchouli. What a divine duo.
£135 for 50ml eau de parfum (and matching oil)
ostens.com

 

 

INITIO
Oud for Happiness
Exploring the believed ‘psychoactive and spiritual’ facets of the world’s most precious wood, joyous bergamot greets you like a dear friend, a surge of ginger really awakening the senses before cedar smooths a path to the main feature. When the oudh hits it’s like a bear hug of harmonious happiness; this is  definitely one to spritz on sluggish mornings when the duvet refuses to release you from its plump embrace.
£280 for 90ml eau de parfum
escentual.com

 

MOLTON BROWN
LABDANUM DUSK
Of the little flurry of Molton Brown’s new launches, this rich, Ambrée-woody strikes us as the most masculine, with Nathalie Koobus honouring the traditions of Middle Eastern perfumery via sustainable oudh. ‘I imagined a Middle Eastern palace, where hazes of hookah incense drift into the sunset. This fragrance modernises fascinating labdanum, pairing it with earthy woods to celebrate its smoky facets.’ The long-lasting, leathery trail will ensure you’re noticed – and maybe followed…?
£110 for 100ml eau de parfum
moltonbrown.com

 

 

 

How to choose a men’s fragrance

How to choose a men’s fragrance is something we get asked a lot – from those looking to treat the men in lives with a new scent, and from chaps’ just starting to explore the fragrant world themselves. Either way, those endless shelves of scented posibilities can seem daunting – especially if you’re shopping online.

Worry not! We’ve made it easy for you. Simply follow our guide of how to start sniffing out a brave new world…

If you’re buying a scented present:

Don’t leave it to random chance – that could go wrong. Tell him that something exciting’s on the way and treat him to a selection box of new scents (you can always buy the full-size of the one he loves most, later!)

Take a look at some of the suggestions, below. But first, ask yourself this:

Can the man in your life (or you) still wear, with no shame, the same jeans he was wearing aged 17? We’re hardly ones to judge (especially after lockdown!) but we’re betting most could not – and even if they could, that it would be really quite inadvisable for them to do so.

Why, then, do some poor chaps keep getting given the same old scent they’ve been using since they were first shaving?

Let’s change it up… So, think about:

What type of a chap are you buying for?

Character, hobbies and personal style are all pointers, but can never be an absolute guarantee of what he’ll prefer – he might just surprise you (and himself!) That’s why a selection of samples to try at home is the best bet. Masculine fragrances have moved on somewhat since the ‘splash it all over’ one-size-fits-all sporty-fresh-or-nothing days. Now there are ‘gender fluid’ fragrances categories, and men are offered opulent ambers along with sophisticated fougéres; addictive gourmands, bigger, bolder Colognes and even floral-forward scents that smell utterly incredible on a man’s skin.

Where to begin?

We have put together the ideal starting point with our just-launched Men’s Must Have’s Discovery Box. This collection of male and unisex fragrances is perfect for those who wish to bush the boundaries and try uniquely bold and statement scents from some of the hottest niche names and luxe designer houses around. It features globally adored best sellers and just launched scents from THoO, Jeroboam, DSquared2, Paco Rabanne, Bentley, Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace & Initio. (Read about each scent individually, here).

Men’s Must Have’s  £15 (VIP Price £12)

If you’re after something a little more traditional in style, but with enough intriguing twists to tantilise the senses, we suggest the Suave Scents Discovery Box. Designed with men in mind (or anyone who prefers a more ‘masculine’ fragrance vibe), the line-up has fragrances for every facet of a personality, the sheer variety of styles exuding everything from outdoors-y adventurous to more classically suave, with Creed Viking Cologne, Parfums de Marly Greenley, Comme des Garçon Rouge, Floral Street Black Lotus, Bentley, Eight & Bob, JUSBOX, Mercedes Benz, Molton Brown, Paco Rabanne, Salvatore Ferragamo and Versace. We also bring you two fabulous grooming products! The divinely scented Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash (100ml), and Ultrasun Lip Protection 30spf

Suave Scents £23 (VIP Price £19)

We also have an incredible selection of other Discovery Boxes, specially curated with a range of fragrances to suit all tastes – from classic and designer names to cult, niche houses they’ll love to explore. AND a great range of Brand Sets, which is the perfect way to sample a houses’ collection to get a real sense of their character.

Wherever you choose to begin, this scent adventure of trying new fragrances at home really takes away the stress of happening across ‘THE ONE’ (a concept we don’t really believe in for most people, anyway. A wardrobe of scents to match your mood / time of year / occasion are the way forward…)

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance – for a gift, or for yourself. Our guide makes it easy

Our 3 top tips to choosing a fragrance take all the worry and confusing out of selecting a scent – be that a gift for someone else or as a treat for yourself.

With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes…

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

1: If you already know a fragrance they like

Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).

If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

2: If you’ve no idea what they like (or want to get them something new)

Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.

Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.

But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite.

 

3 top tips to choosing a fragrance

3: How do I know if a fragrance suits me?

Give it TIME on your skin. So many of us spray, sniff immediately (that’s just the alcohol you’re smelling, with perhaps a mere whiff of top notes) and either make a snap purchase or walk away. Those opening notes can disappear in mere minutes, you really need to let it settle for twenty minutes or more to smell the middle or ‘heart’ notes. The ‘base’ notes are made from ingredients with the heaviest molecules, so these can take several hours to warm and then evaporate on the skin.

If possible, try the fragrance on a blotter first (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these used to be available with testers on perfume counters, but because of new Covid-19 safety measures, many stores don’t allow these now. (We always tend to take our own – and include a handy pack in each of our Discovery Boxes).

Allow a few minutes for the alcohol and the top notes to subside, and then smell the blotters. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial. Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on.  You really need to smell a scent on your skin.

Don’t try more than about four or five at a time. Your nose will become overwhelmed. Just sniff a sweater or a patch of your own bare skin to ‘re-set’, or go outside and get some fresh air – smelling coffee beans is a fallacy, it’s just filling your nose with another smell!

Jot down a few words to describe how you feel about each fragrance. These should be emotional words or things it reminds you of (a fabric / musical instrument / colour / place / time of day). They might sound abstract, but are a true reflection of how a fragrance is melding to your personality (or otherwise). Come back to the blotters several hours later and smell again – see if those words have changed.

The best way to find a new fragrance – as a gift or for yourself – is to try several samples at home in a Discovery Box, a curated selection of scents from a large number of houses; or a Brand Discovery Set, showcasing the entire range of fragrances from a single house. With time to let them develop, zero pressure and scents you may have overlooked in-store (or never even heard of before), it’s the perfect way to find that new perfume love…

By Suzy Nightingale

Galentine’s Day – the best scented gifts to send your gal pals

Galentine’s Day – okay yes, you can be cynical and view it as yet another spin-off from ‘V Day’, but instead we’re seeing it as an opportunity to send our best gal pals a little scented something to say “I MISS you!”

Because oh, how we are all missing our friends right now. Many of us haven’t seen our dearest friends for nearly an entire year, even for a five minute chat or socially distanced walk. So yeah, it’s hitting hard, the lack of laughter, togetherness, compassion, love…

Of course we have incredible technological ways of touching base – for which we’re all very thankful – but Zoom meets and endless text messages are no substitute for actually touching, hugging, just being with our dearest friends, who despite not being around person, have most certainly kept us (mostly) sane. So what to do?

The power of perfume to lift our spirits, soothe frazzled nerves or give us a boost of confidence to get through the day has been proven, but the power of the post arriving (and getting to open a something lovely) shouldn’t be sniffed at, either! I’m not sure about you, but my postman probably thinks I want to marry him, the way I anxiously hang out the widow awaiting his arrival.

If you’ve several friends you’d like to send gifts tom why not buy a box and split the samples between them – popping a couple (well wrapped) in a card would be a joyous little extra to open!

Because there’s an awful lot of antipatory joy in that satisfying ‘thud’ (of something that obviously ISN’T a bill) on your doormat – so here’s some ideas to send a little happiness to someone you love and miss so much, for Galentine’s or any day…

 


Floral Street scentschool™ in a Box
Back to school in scented style, and the perfect way to share your love of fragrance with a friends – even a whole gang of perfume-loving pals! Ingeniously, when you buy their special discovery set, containing eight fragrances, blotters and scented ‘touch and smell’ cards, you receive a code to book your complimentary live online class (one-to-one or for a whole group of you to do it together), plus a discount on your next purchase. There’s even the option to add a voucher for a 10, 50 or 100ml fragrance for a pick-me-up treat when they’ve found their favourites.

From £24 for eight fragrances + online class
floralstreet.com 

 

La Maison J.U.S. Discovery Kit 

A gorgeous hatbox-style package of perfumed wonders to explore, with vibrant, contemporary and beautiful scents by some of the most famous ‘noses’ around: Céline EllenaFabrice PellegrinAliénor MassenetAurélien GuichardAlexandra Carlin… From fabulously sexy florals and chic, supple leather to refined seascapes and magical gardens – every taste is catered for, especially those creative, artistic friends who welcome exquisite design combined with innovation. Such a wonderful gift to receive for one special person, or might we suggest you keep the box and your favourites, and share the others with friends the fragrances remind you of…?

£30 for eleven fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

Galentine's Day gifts

Molton Brown Lily & Magnolia Blossom Gift Set
Who wouldn’t appreciate a luxurious set from Molton Brown? Revelling in fragrant baths or showers and taking time to treat your skin with a nourishing body lotion are simple ways of adding self-care into our daily routines, and so important for a mind re-set, we find. But it’s strange, isn’t it? While we may happily treat a friend to luxury items as a gift, we might deny ourselves. Ditch the guilt and treat yourself to daily bliss with this new fragrant duo – redolent of springtime buds and sparkling sunlight at last.

£48 for 300ml Bath & Body Wash + 300ml Body Lotion
moltonbrown.co.uk

Galentine's Day fragrant gifts to send your best friends

Goldfield & Banks Discovery Set
Why not travel to Australia with a group of girlfriends (via your noses!) in this exceptional exploration of materials hitherto unknown to the perfumery industry. Using indigenous ingredients beloved by founder, Dimitri Weber – such as blue boronia, finger lime and pacific rock moss – this unique collection invites a sense of freedom, the feeling of sunshine and wide, open landscapes to adventure in. From ocean-inspired freshness to the sunlit canopies of a rainforest, from velvety oppulence to enveloping woods, let your senses rein free as you encounter each scent.

£26 for eight fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

 

Sana Jardin Discovery Set
This stunning portfolio of perfumes were created very much with women in mind – not that men don’t also adore the fragrances, but this socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house works with a sustainability program to help the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms used in several of perfumer Carlos Benaïm‘s stunning creations. Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed wanted to ‘change the world, one bottle of perfume at a time’ and these seductive scents evoke golden, shimmering light, swags of heady flowers and the sensual powers of night-blooming jasmine. Simply dreamy…

£30 for eight fragrances
The Perfume Society Shop

 

By Suzy Nightingale

What to do…if you hate your perfume present? 7 tips to try before you cry!

Well firstly, ‘hate’ is a very strong word. If you’ve been landed with the favourite fragrance of your current partner’s ex, we’re not going to pretend to make you suddenly adore it, so maybe re-gift that one – see tip #7 – and treat yourself to one of our Discovery Boxes of fragrant delights, and perhaps a new partner, instead?

But there are things you can try before you completely ditch a scent – we can’t tell you how many fragrance experts (ourselves included!) and even perfumers have drastically changed their minds about a fragrance by trying some of these top tips…

#1 – Seasonal changes
Did you know that the weather, your mood and even what you ate up to *two weeks ago* can dramatically alter how scent smells on your skin? Skin and climate temperature are vital to a perfume’s performance, so even your favourite fragrance will smell different based on the time of year. When perfumers test the scents they’re creating they often use climate-controlled booths to check how they smell in hot and colder conditions (depending what countries they’ll be selling in). Don’t re-gift until you’ve tried the perfume again later in the year, or even on holiday (remember those?)

– Similarly, strongly spiced foods can change how a perfume smells on your skin, and when testing fragrances under lab conditions, the ‘skin model’ volunteers they use are often specifically asked to refrain from eating such foods up to two weeks prior to testing, so the perfumers can smell a ‘true’ representation of the scent. Though sometimes the reverse is true: if a fragrance is to be mainly sold in a country where people eat lots of spicy foods, the ‘skin models’ are asked to replicate that diet to ensure the scent works efficiently.

– We now know that mood plays an important part in how we select a fragrance – try a scent when you’re feeling a particular way, and it colours how you feel about the fragrance itself. If you’re feeling stressed or upset, a bit under the weather or just overwhelmed, these are not ideal conditions for testing out something new. Wait until you’re feeling calmer, or simply have more time to really explore what you’re smelling. That’s when you can try to…

 

#2 – Improve your sense of smell
Absolutely everyone can benefit from this – we’ve had people from normal perfume-lovers, complete novices to industry professionals telling us how trying these techniques have changed the way they smell for the better (for good). This doesn’t mean suddenly gaining the ability of being able to detect every single ingredient within a bottle of perfume, but rather learning to train your nose the way a perfumer does: by deeply exploring the emotions it makes you feel, colours, textures, places and people it reminds you of.

This is why we developed our so-popular How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops, which we have regularly held in London and, sometimes at independent perfumeries around the UK. We’ll be adding new dates as soon as we’re able to hold face-to-face workshops again, and plan to make a video available online.

Meanwhile, here are a few simple tips to try every day:

Spray a scent on a blotter, preferably; close your eyes and keep sniffing for several seconds, then take the blotter away, inhale deeply, and re-sniff the blotter again. Repeat this for a minute or so, and then begin writing a few words in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be a description, and it shouldn’t ‘list’ notes – try to use words that make you think of other things. For example…

If this scent were a fabric, what would it be? What colour? If you made someone an outfit from that fabric, who would they be, where would they be going?

If it were a piece of music, what instruments would be playing? Is it classical, rock music, pop, rap or jazz?

Really attempt to get past thinking ‘I don’t like this’ and focus instead on the mood it’s creating. Is it too deep or too fresh or floral for your personal taste? Give it time and then, if needed, move on to one of the tips, below…

 

#3 – Layer up!
Layering fragrances used to be seen as a scent sin, but we’ve all gotten over ourselves a bit (well most of us have). You don’t have to do this to a perfume you already love on its own – why would you need to? – but there are brilliant ways of beefing-up a sadly flimsy fragrance, or adding a zing to something that’s a bit too dark or cloying on your skin. Give it a go, because, as we always say: perfume isn’t a tattoo – if you don’t like it, you can wash it off!

Add power: ramp it up by adding more base notes like patchouli, labdanum, vetiver, woods or musk.

Add freshness: look for citrus notes like bergamot, neroli, lemon, lime or ‘green’ notes such as galbanum, tomato or violet leaf, green tea, marine/aquatic accords (synthetic recreations of sea-like, watery smells) and aldehydes (often desribed as being like Champagne bubbles).

Add beauty: find a scent too ‘harsh’ or clinical? Look to layer it with decadently velvety or lusciously fruity rose oils, the sunshine-bottled scent of orange flower, a heady glamour of tuberose or a luminescent jasmine; try an apricot-like osmanthus flower, the fluffiness of mimosa or the powdery elegance of iris/orris.

Add sweetness: vanilla and tonka bean can ’round’ a perfume, making it swoon on your skin (and addictive to smell), as can touches of synthetic notes described as ‘caramel’ or ‘dulce de leche’, ripe fruits, chocolate or even candy floss. Try to add less than you think you need, as adding more is always easier than taking away, and a little of these can go a long way!

For layering any of these, you can either try layering over other fragrances you have in which the above notes dominate, with a single-fragranced ‘soliflore’ (one main note) fragrance oil or spray, or try layering the scent you don’t currently like over a differently perfumed body lotion or oil (see below or the added benefits of doing this…)

 

#4 – Boost the lasting-power
If the reason you don’t like a perfume is because it just seems to ‘disappear’ on your skin, you’re not alone. We often find those with dry skin have this problem, and it’s even thought genetics and things like hair colour may play a part. Scientists are still finding this out, but while they do, there are ways you can make perfume last far longer:

– Try using a body oil, rich body balm or moisturising lotion before you put any fragrance on (and even afterwards, too), as scent takes longer to evaporate on nourished skin. This helps the fragrance ‘cling’ to your skin more easily, and so you get to actually smell if for more than a few minutes without frantically re-spraying.

– Spray pulse-points you might not usually think of. Behind your knees is a good example – it’s a warm spot that, once spritzed, will mean you leave a fragrant trail…

– Spritz the perfume at the nape of your neck, even into your hair and on clothes – BUT do check by spraying a tissue first that it isn’t going to mark your hair or fabric a strange colour, or leave an oily residue! We adore this way of wearing perfume, as hair and fabric are porous without heating up as much as your skin, allowing the perfume to stay all day.

Spraying a fragrance on to a scarf is a particularly good idea if you want…

#5 – A part-time perfume
There are days we feel the need to try something completely different, but perhaps don’t want to be stuck with that scent all day, so what to do?

– Consider spraying a scarf (preferably not silk or a light colour, unless you’ve patch-tested it as above, first!) with this perfume you’re unsure of, that way if it gets a bit ‘too much’ or you want to wear something different, you can simply take the scarf off and you’re not stuck with it on your skin all day.

Nope? Tried all that and still struggling? All is not lost, don’t give up yet…

 

#6 – Scent up your life
We all have certain scents or fragrant ingredients that, for one reason or another, we might not wish to wear but do like to smell if it’s scenting something else.

– Why not try spraying off-cuts of pretty wrapping paper or tissue paper, and using this to line your lingerie or sweater drawers?

– Or, how about being utterly fabulous by spraying your note paper and insides of envelopes (the fancy ones lined with tissue paper are particularly good for this), and writing a few actual letters or thank you cards to loved-ones you’ve not seen for a while. Everyone loves getting proper post!

– The truly decadent could try scenting table linen – again, PLEASE patch test, as above – for lavish dinner parties to rival Marie Antoinette – spraying on cotton wool and putting inside a deocrative ceramic or pottery vase, on wooden ornaments or ceramic discs you hang over radiators to scent the whole room as they heat.

We so hope you can find a way to try this poor perfume again and give it some love, but if all else fails and you still can’t bring yourself to use it, well at least you tried! Why not…

#7 – Have a perfume-swapping party / re-gift
Um, remembering not to invite the one who gave you that particular perfume… otherwise, major awks. Or, if you’re looking to re-gift, have a look at our brilliant Fragrance Finder.

Simply put the name of the fragrance into the search box, and it’ll suggest six scents that are similar in character and style, or share a number of significant notes – this way you can see if anyone you know already has one of these, and it means they’ll very likely love to receive this one from you.

Genius!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fragrant gifts for fussy people: they’ll ADORE these scented sets!

Fragrant gifts for fussy ‘hard to buy for’ relatives and friends are even trickier to navigate this year – with perfume testers not available, and more of us opting to shop from home than ever. Fear not! These fabulous fragrant sets ensure even the fussiest person will have loads to choose from…

Every family has one. An aunt whose lips curl disdainfully like Emu’s on receiving your carefully-chosen present, or a parent who helpfully says they have no idea what they want – ‘I don’t need anything, really…’ – but you know if you actually got them nothing, there’d be hell to pay for months to come.

Even if the person you’re buying for isn’t fussy, exactly, but just doesn’t feel confident about buying themselves a new scent; or perhaps you’re not sure where to start when suggesting something new: ready-curated sets are your scented saviours!

Basically, you’re spreading your bet – not putting all your eggs in one basket. Given as gifts, these look super thoughtful and deluxe, but are far more cost-effective than splurging all on one bottle. We can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love these fragrance choices, frankly…

Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer London Discovery Set: £27.50
Each scent from this collection – which was a sell-out on this site and has now been smartly re-packaged with lovely, high-quality 2ml sprays – is deeply inspired by Ruth’s memories and experiences. All of the fragrances are incredibly personal, crafted with great attention and care by this master perfumer and former president of The British Society of Perfumers. Here’s what you’ll enjoy…

Firedance (2ml) – a story of celebration… rejoicing in each moment of contentment in life. A modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, with exotic leather and Damask rose, set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli.
Signature (2ml) – Inspired by the ‘scents of my life’s journey’, as Ruth describes it. Featuring an eclectic mix of bergamot, blackcurrant, pineapple and mandarin, with rose, lily and jasmine making up the heart, oakmoss and patchouli creating the sublime Chypre base.
Oxford (2ml) – captures the essence of discovery – being exposed to things you have never come across before. Featuring an inspiring mix of bergamot, galbanum, basil and rosemary and jasmine, on a heady base of amber, vanilla, vetiver and oudh.
Amorosa (2ml) – the inspiration for Amorosa is falling in love – and this fragrance opens with a stunning, fresh watermelon note surrounded by green leaves. A powerful woody-ambery accord brings strength and depth to the gorgeous white flowers at the heart of Amorosa.
Dagian (2ml) – Dagian is the feeling of optimism that breaks at dawn, the exhilarating hope of a fresh start. As the sun rises, a breeze of lime and mint shimmers over notes of orange blossom and rum.

Sana Jardin Discovery Set: £30
Founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed has created a stunning portfolio of perfumes that reflect her life-long love of fragrance – nurtured on travels through the Middle East with her inspirational grandmother. As she told The Perfume Society: ‘The scents I’d encountered on my travels over the years were enchanting to me: the pure and golden shimmer of orange blossom, the mystical, enveloping depth of sandalwood, the seduction of jasmine blooming at night. I felt I could never find that captured anywhere on a department store shelf.’ Created by renowned perfumer Carlos Benaïm, Amy’s collection – Sana Jardin – offers that and more, with sustainability (currently a ‘buzzword’ in perfumery) at the heart of everything they do.

Savage Jasmine Night-blooming jasmine, wrapped around intoxicating musk.
Sandalwood Temple Moroccan neroli oil, enveloped it in Atlas cedarwood, Haitian vetiver, creamy vanilla and East Indian sandalwood.
Tiger By Her Side Showcases Moroccan rose alongside Somalian incense and Indonesian patchouli.
Berber Blonde Filled with the light of Sana Jardin’s signature orange blossom, alongside Moroccan neroli oil and musk.
Celestial Patchouli Exotic aromas of patchouli, leather, cinnamon bark and Australian Sandalwood give way to the abundant warmth of rose, jasmine, osmanthus and Moroccan orris.
Nubian Musk A sensuously inviting blend of musk and vanilla, rose, jasmine, Moroccan grapefruit flower, Haitian vetiver and Australian sandalwood.
Revolution de la Fleur This is a sultry, sun-filled melody of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, rose, vanilla and sandalwood.
Jaipur Chant Heady & Seductive Tuberose. Indian tuberose, the goddess of flowers, blooms in the still of night.

 

Strangelove Discovery Set: £60
Built around a subtle base of precious oudh [also spelled ‘oud‘], carefully blended with other precious ingredients gathered from all over the world, this is a house that refuses to compromise on quality, and with the very best (meticulously, sustainably sourced) materials at their fingertips. Christophe Laudamiel, punk rock star of the scent world, has created all the fragrances – so read on to delve deeper into each beguiling scent (which are £105 for full-size bottles of 15ml eau de parfum)

deadofnight – empowers its devotees to take risks and dive into their desires.
fallintostars – propels a mystical experience of boundless wonder, as lovers transcend time and space to journey into a parallel universe.
lostinflowers – evokes the thrill of new love, capturing that electric moment of discovery when two destined wanderers finally collide: lost in time, lost in romance, lostinflowers.
meltmyheart – inspires romance and indulgence for devoted lovers.
silencethesea – captures the intimacy of the lover’s gaze: soundless, eternal, profound.

 

The Niche Collection V Discovery Box: £27 (or £23 for VIPs)
For those who are missing browsing, spraying and smelling, The NICHE COLLECTION V Discovery Box is one of our BIGGEST collections EVER, showcasing 19 NICHE FRAGRANCES (plus two divine ‘extras’). In this scent-packed line-up, first explore a box-within-a-box with the ENTIRE COLLECTION from Maison Matine – modern French perfumery we are besotted with. Then swoon over more niche from Trudon, Ostens, Moresque, Mihan Aromatics, Molton Brown and DSQUARED2. Plus, three luscious creations from Bentley The Beyond Collection, and one from each of the opulent Storie Veneziane by Valmont collections. Gift true fragrance exploration to someone you love – or simply get spraying to your heart’s content…

Bentley Beyond The Collection Mellow Heliotrope 1.8ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml)
Bentley Beyond The Collection Radiant Osmanthus 1.8ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml)
Bentley Beyond The Collection Vibrant Hibiscus1.8ml eau de parfum (£165 for 100ml)
DSQUARED2 Green Wood 1ml eau de toilette (£44 for 30ml)
DSQUARED2 Red Wood 1ml eau de toilette (£44 for 30ml)
Maison Matine Avant l’Orage 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml)
Maison Matine Bain de Midi 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml)
Maison Matine Esprit de Contradiction 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml)
Maison Matine Hasard Bazar 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml)
Maison Matine Into The Wild 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml)
Maison Matine Warni Warni 2ml eau de parfum (£55 for 50ml)
Mihan Aromatics Guilty Story 3ml extrait de parfum(AUD $90 for 30ml)
Molton Brown Juniper Jazz 1.5ml eau de toilette (£60 for 50ml)
Moresque Lady Tubereuse 2ml eau de parfum (€130 for 75ml)
Ostens Cashmeran Velvet 2ml eau de parfum (£105 for 50ml)
Storie Veneziane by Valmont Collezione Privata Collection Lady Code 2ml eau de parfum (£230 for 100ml)
Storie Veneziane by Valmont Palazzo Nobile Collection Casanova 2161 2ml eau de toilette (£136 for 100ml)
Storie Veneziane by Valmont Verde Erba I 2ml extrait de parfum (£173 for 8.5ml)
Trudon Elae 2ml eau de parfum (£180 for 100ml)

The Niche Collection V Discovery Box also features these divinely fragranced luxury extras…

OLVERUM Bath Oil 15ml (£36.50 for 125ml)
Weleda Pomegranate Firming Day Cream 7ml (£28.95 for 30ml)

If you’re still not sure what to get, may we humbly suggest this book? It’s perfect for perfume-lovers of any age and experience, and may help them choose with confidence for next year!

The Perfume Bible: £25 (VIP price £16.25)
Co-written by The Perfume Society‘s Founders, Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay, The Perfume Bible is must for every fragrance-lover (and a fabulous gift). It’s an encyclopaedia of all things fragrant – from how to build a perfume ‘wardrobe’ to a line-up of the 100 perfumes to try before you die.

You’ll discover the journey of ingredients from field to flacon, a run-down of the best perfume shops in the world, the history of scent, how to build a perfume ‘wardrobe’ and the all-important line-up of ‘100 Perfumes To Try Before You Die’ – 192 pages, in all…

By Suzy Nightingale