Choosing a fragrance to give someone as a gift can be tough and can be either the most thoughtful or the most thoughtless gift possible. Just ask anyone who has received a gorgeous, expensive bottle of scent and immediately shoved it to the back of his or her cupboard to collect dust, or heavens forbid, to be recycled! Not only is an incorrect purchase a waste of money, every time you ask the recipient whether they like it and are wearing it, it will cause tension.
A well-chosen fragrance, on the other hand, is a gift that will remind them of your goodwill every single time that they wear it. It’s the same thing that makes scent so subjective, namely, how personal it is, that makes giving it as a gift worth the risk. Not only is it thoughtful, indulgent, and can be used every day, it is a luxury that everyone loves to receive. It is far easier to buy a bad fragrance than a good one. So if you’re hitting the fragrance counter, you’ll need the right steps to sniffing out the perfect scent for those on your gift list.
Do some preliminary detective work. If you can find out what fragrance your recipient normally wears and look at the fragrances they already have, your best bet is to buy something similar. Look up the base notes and search for something comparable in-store, and if that sounds too much like hard work then speak to a sales advisor, they are usually well informed on the latest and the greatest scents and the ingredients used.
TAKE THE NOSE TEST
You’ll want to take the nose test, especially if you’re buying a new fragrance for a partner. However it is too easy for your nose to get overwhelmed. When this happens everything will smell the same and you’ll have a banging headache, so keep it limited to a few fragrances at a time, move to a different department or visit another store and wait 30 minutes for the fragrance to develop, then smell it again later before you commit. It helps if you do know whether you are looking for a citrus, woody, floral or oriental scent; try them in batches for ease.
Whether as an accompaniment to a fragrance or bought alone, carefully chosen bath and body products can bring just as much joy as an expensive perfume. A beautifully scented shower gel, body lotion or bath oil is a good way to give perfume because you don’t have to get your recipients taste exactly right, which makes it the perfect gift for someone you don’t know very well, nor want to offend.
If you really want to take a risk then the ultimate gift is a luxurious gift set containing the fragrance of choice together with bath and body goodies. Look out for special and limited editions and free gifts with purchase that can be anything from a cosmetic bag, a weekend overnight bag or a shopping tote.
If you’re really stumped but don’t want to resort to shower gels, gift boxes filled with several sample size fragrances can help you get around the problem. Look around for miniature sets, which contain small bottles of different fragrances in a range. It will give your recipient a whole wardrobe of different choices.
PLAY IT SAFE WITH FIRE
If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, go with a candle. A candle can be just as personal and is a little luxury that is guaranteed to please even the pickiest of recipients. If someone loves to cook, give a lavender-scented candle, which complements the smell of food in a kitchen. If they like to entertain, choose a rose or a citrus-based candle, and for a partner, choose rich, comforting scents like tuberose and sandalwood. At this time of year anything that smells like Christmas is good such as think bitter orange and festive incense.
WHERE TO BUY
The Perfume Shop