Scents of a woman

EVERY Christmas I get a pang of sympathy as I see men and women milling around the fragrance counters, brows furrowed, noses tentatively sniffing countless bottles of perfume, hoping to hit upon the perfect one.

Perfume is an impossibly individual product. What makes some women want to bathe themselves in a fragrance can make other women want to open a window and let in some air. Scent is a subjective and mysterious sense. With that in mind, buying fragrance as a gift is a delicate area, but it’s a gift I for one am always happy to receive.

Try to discover what the person you are buying for generally likes — even if you can just narrow it down to sweet, woody or floral, or suggest the name of a perfume the person ordinarily wears. Your fragrance consultant will be able to make a solid suggestion that stands a good chance of being a hit. Here are some of the best on the market.

Chanel Coco Noir (€92)

This new fragrance from Chanel takes its inspiration from the Orient, with woods, leathers, spices and fruits. Coco Noir is a mysterious, grown-up fragrance, with frankincense, patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood and vetiver lightened with pink peppercorns and grapefruit top notes and the essential Chanel ingredients of jasmine and rose.

Nuit Etoilee (€91.50 for 50ml from House of Fraser)

One of my absolute favourite perfume houses is Annick Goutal and last month they introduced a new Eau de Parfum version of their fragrance Nuit Etoilee. This one is of dark, alpine wintry fragrances that tingle the back of your mind. This new edition feels warmer and a bit more feminine too, rounded out with amber and iris… but you’d buy it for the beautiful bottle alone. Spectacular!

Lady Gaga’s fragrance (Boots are doing a gift set of 30ml EDP and 200ml shower gel for €29.95)

For the younger perfume wearer Lady Gaga’s fragrance is a popular one. The fragrance is black but turns transparent once it hits the air.

Lancome, La Vie Est Belle (EDP, 30ml, €47)

Lancome’s new fragrance this year is this ultra-feminine fragrance with lots of white flowers like iris, jasmine, orange blossom, warmed up with vanilla and tonka bean. If you like Flowerbomb or Trésor, you’ll like this.

Manifesto (€53.50)

Yves Saint Laurent also introduced a new fragrance this year, Manifesto (€53.50), which I really loved — like Flowerbomb and Poison spawned a love-child. Jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla — sensual and independent.

Boss Femme (€59)

Another lovely white-flower fragrance is Boss Femme which contains freesia and musk notes, enhanced with rose petals.

Aromatics Duet (€44)

Clinique’s Aromatics Duet gift set is a wonderful present for anyone who likes their Aromatics Elixir — but beware, it divides people like Marmite. I love it, but know women who can’t be in the same room as it. This gift set contains the classic scent in a 25ml spray and a 75ml ultra-hydrating body moisturiser.

Ted Baker Star Quality gift set (RRP€60)

This Ted Baker Star Quality gift set (RRP€60) is also perfect for young women. The vanity case contains two fragrances (one light with raspberry, rose, vanilla and sandalwood; the other a more sophisticated blend of bergamot and tuberose), body wash (250ml), bath foam (250ml), body scrub (300ml), body souffle (300ml), body lotion (200ml) and hand cream (125ml).


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