Christmas countdown: demystifying fragrance gifting

We’ve officially entered into what someone I know called “the Christmas cram”, with oh so few sleeps until Santa visits. Knocked your gifting list on the head? No, me neither, and I resolve not to default to repeat sock purchases no matter how tight the timeline!
A gift that many put in the ‘too hard basket’ but that many love to receive is fragrance, be it their signature scent or something new to explore. It’s the personal pick that is often presumed too far so, but it needn’t be. I spoke to MECCA fragrance education manager, Laura Curtis about the gift of fragrance, which is actually easier than you think…

“There are three approaches you can take when choosing a fragrance for a loved one, depending on how much you know about them, their scent preferences, their personality and how discerning they are,” says Laura. The first thing to think about is what is called their “scent aesthetic”, as statistically speaking, we tend to gravitate towards the same ‘families’ of scents throughout our lifetime. “Nobody knows exactly why,” she adds, “but it probably has something to do with pleasant memories that we formed at a young age.” If you have access to your loved one’s current perfume collection, or know some of their all-time favourites, you can do a little research to find out whether they fall into the Floral, Amber, Woody or Fresh fragrance families, and if they tend to share some common notes. “Keep that information in mind when you are shopping and align your purchase with the family and/or notes of their favourite scents,” says Laura, “and chances are very high that they will fall in love with your thoughtful gift!”

Next on the list is personality. “Nearly all perfumes have a beautiful story or poetic inspiration behind them,” says the fragrance aficionado, “and even more scientifically-driven fragrance brands have a creative process or innovative approach that connects with certain people.” Laura says that a lovely way to choose a fragrance for a loved one is to discover the stories behind perfumes and choose one that connects with what you love and appreciate most about them. “Maybe it’s a scent inspired by the giddy sensation of falling in love like Wonder of You by ALTAIA, a tribute to WWI nurses on the frontline like Rose of No Man’s Land by Byredo, or the scented embodiment of a gentleman’s luxury watch – as in Vetiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfum Frederic Malle.” Matching the fragrance’s inspiration with something special and unique about your loved one will make the gift all the more meaningful.
Lastly, you definitely can’t discount the ‘safe’ option – the decision to purchase a bestseller. “Though no fragrances can be considered universal favourites – scent is too personal for that – there are some perfumes that the majority of people fall in love with at first spray. The composition of these scents tend to be balanced across notes from each fragrance family – Floral, Amber, Woody and Fresh.” These are scents like Le Labo’s delicious Santal 33 (sandalwood, violet and leather), Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 (amber, cedarwood and jasmine) and diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau (blackcurrant, rose and green leaves).

“Lastly, if you are really unsure, the safest option of all is a beautiful candle! Diptyque Baies, Byredo Bibliotheque and D.S. & DURGA Breakfast Leipzig are some MECCA favourites.”


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