As Valentine’s Day approaches, many people see perfume as the perfect romantic present. But with so many fragrances available, how can you be sure your gift will be met with a smile?
Choosing a fragrance for someone else is a tricky task! A perfume is very personal and navigating through the millions of fragrances available makes it a real challenge. And there is always the chance you will get it wrong... But don’t panic! If you are prepared you might find the daunting experience of getting a perfume for someone else more enjoyable.
Here are my five top tips to get it right:
Be a scent profiler - know what your partner usually wears
We all have personal preferences and they aren’t that complicated to understand and map out. Fragrances are classified by family types according to their structures. There are seven families of fragrances and your scent of choice may be Citrus, Floral or Oriental, for example. Chances are that the person you want to gift a perfume to has a preferred type of fragrance too, so research what she/he usually wears. If you know two or three of their favourite fragrances, then you should have enough material to get an idea about their scent profile. Once you have the list, search these perfumes descriptions on perfume guide websites such as Fragrantica or Basenotes and find out whether there are some common structures or ingredients to these fragrances.
Match the scent to the wearer’s personality
Be logical when matching a scent with someone’s personality. That may be an obvious one, but don’t give an overpowering, heady, “look at me” scent to someone who usually doesn’t wear much perfume or tends to have a discreet personality. A notorious example of heavy scent is Dior’s Poison, a heady tuberose/orange blossom fragrance with fruity, spicy and ambery accents from the mid 80. The scent is so powerful that some restaurants at the time used to ban it! Big personalities can rock orientals, heavy white flowers, spicy notes and woody gourmand fragrances. Otherwise, go for lighter florals, soft orientals, musky and fresh citrus fragrances. Why not try the amazing Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, Chanel Bel Respiro or Thierry Mugler Cologne which are all lighter types of scent with strong personality!
Choose with your nose not because of the brand or packaging
While the brand may be a guarantee of success in your eyes (Chanel is the obvious one, for example), what your partner will be really interested in when wearing it will be what it smells like. So trust your nose! When she/he discovers the scent you chose and you explain your journey in finding it, why you chose it and why you liked it – if it reminded you of a place you visited together for example, or if there was a special ingredient in there that is dear to you - then the personal touch and storytelling will also be important.
Go beyond perfume if you are not sure
If you are worried about getting the wrong scent, then look outside the traditional spray format into “perfume-objects”. There are plenty of other scented products to choose from that will make a perfect gift. Candles are a good example - choose from Diptyque for its fresh and sophisticated home scents and Fornasetti for the original and decorative aspect of the glass ceramic. Also, have a look at the Hermès Le Bain collection of soaps, the packaging is so beautiful and the scent so deliciously powerful that your recipient will no doubt want to keep it out on display anyway. Another option is a perfume for his or her room with Frédéric Malle Dans Ton Lit designed to be sprayed on bed linen (so you can also enjoy it!), or a perfume to wear around one’s neck or wrist with By Kilian scented Jewelry collection (necklaces and leather bracelets for men). Byredo Hand Creams are also a perfect gift to give at winter time to heal these skin cracks with a more original and sophisticated scent than your usual Nivea.
Don’t buy a perfume, give your partner the opportunity to make their own fragrance and understand what type of fragrance they really like
Last but not least, in time for the big day, Experimental Perfume Club gives you the unique opportunity to attend our masterclass as a couple and learn what type of fragrance your special someone loves. Join me for an afternoon of creativity and make your own fragrance "a deux". It costs just £170 for two tickets with a 10% Valentine's discount applied (usually £190).
Find out more and sign up for the class here.