This year, Christmas shopping comes with a challenge that we’ve never seen before. So, if you’d rather shop online (or just need a nudge in the right direction to make your in-person shopping easier), this guide is here to help.
With so many options on the shelves, hunting for the right fragrance can be overwhelming. It takes almost an apex predator to be fit for the fragrant task, especially when it comes to gifting your nearest and dearest.
But fear not – we’ve done the legwork for you. We’ve spoken to industry professionals at the top of their game to coax their scented secrets out of them. This is the ultimate cheat-sheet you need before you head into the tundra that is buying for brothers, shopping for sisters and treating your loved ones.
Don’t just walk into a store and expect to smell everything, as you’ll simply be overwhelmed. Lazy sales staff will just try to flog you “the best-seller” or “the new one”. Accept that you just won’t have the time to try them all till you find “the one”, as alcohol acts as an anaesthetic and will make your scent receptors tire. It’s vital that you know what you are looking for. The answer is simple: do your research!
The internet’s a wonderful thing, so utilise it to help you learn about what’s on the market. Have a quick read of the descriptions and notes as this will be very indicative of the overall vibe of the perfume, which will then allow you to determine whether it would be right for the person you are shopping for.
Scents fall into four very distinct styles, which makes it easy to determine which type might suit the person you’re shopping for. Take a lot at the four styles below to help you figure out which one is best for the people on your Xmas shopping list.
The first is Fougère, which is your typical bright and fresh style of masculine perfumery, suited to the easy-going guy. These bright and fresh scents are based around citrus, perhaps some fruits, and a classically masculine base.
The second style is Floral, which is a typically feminine style. These are bright and breezy, often having a flirty or sweet element to them.
The third is Chypré’s, which are based around woods and mosses. These are very refined, tailored types for scents which are more suited to the sartorial, composed and minimal sort.
The final style is Oriental, which tends to offer rich, seductive and exotic scents. These are loud, complex perfumes that suit people with a big personality who aren’t afraid to make a statement.
If you’re shopping for scents online, take advantage of purchasing 2ml samples to get a better idea of whether it would suit the person you’re buying for. If you’re comfortable taking advantage of the fact that stores have more moving space than before, then head out! Don’t forget to compare scents to others – that’s the only way you’ll be able to determine your favourites.
Think of the impact that fragrance really makes: when you wear your favourite scent, you feel like a million dollars. So, when your loved one tears off the wrapping and sprays the elixir into the air, there’s nothing more rewarding than finding they truly love what’s inside. Put in the legwork, and your gift will become a cherished staple on their dresser, as opposed to a half-hearted “just because I have it” spritz.
You can purchase your scent from so many places, and the one thing that tends to be consistent is that the price will be more or less the same wherever you go. So, look for the added bonuses: do you receive a complimentary candle on the brand’s website that you don’t if you bought from a department store? That’s a gift for mum sorted at no extra cost.
Simply hunt around a few different websites to see if you can find any fun additions to your basket. Some brands even offer a complimentary tester with your purchase, which allows the recipient to try it on their skin before cracking open the full bottle, meaning they can exchange it for something else if it isn’t quite right.
Now it’s time to make the purchase. It goes without saying that when shopping for others, always request a gift receipt, just because perfume is so personal that you can never know how a person might react to it. This shouldn’t be too much of a likelihood, however, if you have taken the time to shop smart in the first place.
Need a kick-start on your fragrance quest? We’ve sifted through the hundreds of launches of the year to curate a list of the best ones…
For the intense: If she isn’t afraid to rock a loud look, then go for scents that are deep, rich, and exotic. Musks and Sandalwood and Aoud notes of creamy white flowers and hints of spice will suit her just nice.
Try: Jo Malone Midnight Musk & Amber, Gucci Bloom Profumo di Fiori and Christian Dior J’Adore Infinissime.
For the easy-going girl: Go for brighter, more girly scents that suit her care-free spirit. Look for flirty floral notes with fruits and oceanic splashes, perhaps with some touches of mother nature thrown in for good measure.
Try: Chloé Rose Tangerine, Floral Street Arizona Bloom and Giorgio Armani Light Di Giola.
For the style-driven: If she takes great pride in her appearance, then opt for something more refined and perhaps a little niche. Something with a unique and good quality formula will suit perfectly.
Try: Aesop Rōzu, Tom Ford Bitter Peach and Roja Parfums Elixir.
For the lad: If he isn’t shy of a vibrant shirt or a triple-layer co-ord, then he isn’t afraid to be seen or heard. Look for bold, brash scents that celebrate hedonism and individuality. Exotic scents with big bases, unusual nuances and booze notes work great.
Try: Vilhelm Chicago High, Comme des Garćons Rouge and Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Le Parfum.
For the appearance-proud: If he takes good care of himself and is very image-conscious but makes it look effortless, then it’s likely that this sartorial guy requires a fragrance to match. Look for suave, sophisticated Chypré’s with good quality notes. Plenty of woods and leathers go a long way.
Try: Creed Aventus 10th Edition, Penhaligon’s Halfeti Leather and Louis Vuitton Météore.
For the chilled guy: The light in any room he enters, this guy just wants a crowd-pleasing perfume. Bright, approachable citrus notes, herbs and fruits do the trick, but some woods or Tonka Bean in the base won’t go amiss.
Try: Acqua Di Parma Colonia Futura, Le Labo Citron 28 and CK Eternity Eau Fraiche Cologne.