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How to buy perfume as a gift (and which releases are hot right now)

By Megan Bedford

How to buy perfume as a gift (and which releases are hot right now)
Be bold, step out of your comfort zone and select the perfect perfume as a gift.

Buying your friends or loved ones a new fragrance is undoubtedly a beautiful and special option, but many are put off by the potential to choose something the recipient might not like, or wear. 

We’re here to encourage you to put that thought behind you because there is a very special reason why perfume is the perfect choice.

Our olfactory system (our sense of smell) is directly connected to the limbic system, a part of the brain responsible for interpreting memories and emotions.

Our reaction to scent is related to the emotions we connect with an aroma, formed when we initially come across it, or with frequent exposure to it.  It triggers a memory which in turn reminds us of how we felt and as a result has an influence on our mood and behaviour.

In essence? Buy someone special a fragrance and when they wear it, they’ll always be reminded of you. 

The best new releases: Jo Malone Rose Blush Cologne, a pretty pink rose scent with a twist of basil and white musk; Tiffany & Co. Rose Gold Intense EDP, a sparkling scent with citrus and fruit notes; VIOLETTE_FR
Avec Amour Oil Perfume, a modern, playful and cool alternative with notes of musk and a whiff of coconut; Burberry Goddess EDP, a sophisticated take on delicious vanilla; Christian Dior New Look EDP, a chic play on light and dark with both fresh and warm notes. 

So how to get it right? There are a few approaches.

Try one of these:

  • Consider a perfume they like and its type  – floral, green, opulent or sensual etc –  to find the type they gravitate towards. A little online searching will turn up fragrance groupings with similar selections.
  • Consider their personality – are they loud and outgoing or shy and quiet? The former may be more willing to wear a fragrance that makes a statement and is bold, the latter may prefer something subtle and nuanced.
  • Seek out a perfume with elements of a shared experience or personal link – say, Zesty citrus that reminds of that longed-for Italian seaside getaway (aka Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino EDP), or vanilla or coffee (YSL Black Opium Extreme EDP) because you know they love sweet treats.
  • Look for a new version of the person’s signature or much-loved scent. In perfumery, a ‘flanker’ is industry-speak for a new fragrance that shares some attributes of an already existing hit or brand, be it simply the name, the slightly tweaked appearance of its vessel or its scent composition. In movie terms, flankers are akin to sequels or spin-offs.  Some are more concentrated or intense formulations of previous releases.
  • A discovery set of trial size perfumes from a single brand offers the opportunity for the recipient to try and wear a number of options. Try the ones from Abel, Frédéric Malle, Maison Margiela and Floral Street.
  • Ask an expert. Experienced staff in dedicated beauty and department stores are well versed in the most popular perfume groupings and which new arrivals fit into which grouping, so they are likely to be able to advise on something similar to a fragrance your recipient already likes.
  • Consider a bestseller. Counter staff will be able to pinpoint both classic, well-liked scents – Narciso Rodriguez For Her is a sure bet – and new arrivals that are sought-after right now, like Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine and Prada’s Paradoxe with its unique triangular bottle.
  • A surprising scent idea can be an option if you’re unsure they will wear your selection. There are some inventive options now, like the perfume paintbrush from Jo Loves, a Diptyque car diffuser or a Jo Malone hair mist or room spray.


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