As of today, there are just under two calendar weeks until Christmas day! If, like me, you have neglected your Christmas shopping entirely up to this point, or if you simply have a few tricky gifts left to buy, you will more than likely be scouring the blogs for some gift inspiration in the form of fragrance gift guides. These pieces can be pretty helpful in guiding us to some special presents for those special people in our lives, so this year I’m bringing you two gift guides; a luxury fragrance guide in my Escentual column and today, this very guide that you’re reading right now!
This year I wanted to do a little something different with my Christmas Gift Guide. Instead of picking out scents for him and for her, or for mums and dads, or even personality types, I just wanted to gather together a selection of beautiful things that smell great. So that’s exactly what this gift guide is – a collection of fragrant things that are just gorgeous and will make wonderful gifts for those people in your life that like smelly things. They range from fragrances to shower gels, shimmering powders and candles, and whilst they may vary in their style, they all share one thing in common: they are drop dead gorgeous in every way!
Let’s start with something rather beautiful and special indeed. Every Christmas, the illustrious house of GUERLAIN treat us to a beautifully scented and iridescent powder housed within a heartbreakingly gorgeous bottle. This year is absolutely no exception and GUERLAIN have turned to their flagship fragrance Shalimar for inspiration. Souffle d’Or de Shalimar is a fine, shimmering powder for the body and hair that sparkles in shades of blue, pink and gold. It’s scented with the delicate vanilla tones of Shalimar Souffle de Parfum and it smells as delightful as it looks. Oh and as for the bottle? Has there ever been a more covetable object?! I think not because that blue bottle is the stuff of dreams.
Souffle d’Or de Shalimar is available at escentual.com for £53.10/20g.
This year Jo Malone London are presenting ‘the theatre of Christmas’ with the tagline “Merry Mischief” and it seems that they’ve injected a dash of humour into their seasonal collection. Smelling Orange Bitters, the limited edition fragrance created for Christmas 2016, one can certainly detect a novel sense of mischief because Jo Malone London have dared to take something undeniably Christmas, i.e. the smell of dried bitter oranges, and turn it into something entirely wearable. Orange Bitters smells like juicy bitter orange peel, prune and winter spices with a soft base of musk to prevent it from appearing too literal or too novel. Also, it’s housed within a beautiful harlequin bottle that is so cheeky chic it can’t help but make you smile!
Orange Bitters is available in Jo Malone London stores for £90/100ml Cologne.
Earlier this year I waxed lyrical (heh, pun alert) about MUGLER’s brand new Angel-scented candle. Being a lifelong addict of Angel, this was a surprise to absolutely no one, but I digress. MUGLER have launched yet another Angel candle – same scent, same price but in an entirely different guise. This particular candle, which was created to accompany MUGLER’s Étoile des Rêves perfume, comes housed within a beautifully weighted star-shaped jar that is a gorgeous as it is heavy! With both wicks lit, this gorgeous object scents a whole galaxy with the deliciously familiar chocolate and patchouli tones of Angel. It’s something that simply smells and looks beautiful, and will satisfy the most ardent of Angel addicts.
The Angel Perfumed Candle is available at mugler.co.uk for £39/180g.
This may look like a nondescript bottle of perfume to you, but it’s actually a scent that I made with my very own hands. It’s called Rose Mardi Gras, named after both the festival and the shade of purple, and it contains notes of bergamot, raspberry, blackcurrant, rose and vanilla. I got the opportunity to make this during Karen Gilbert’s one day natural perfumery course in the New Forest. During the day Karen, who has extensive knowledge of perfumery having worked as an Evaluator for IFF, guides delegates through the history of perfume and how scents are constructed, with a guided sniff-along of popular natural materials. At the end, one has the opportunity to make their own scent and take away a 30ml bottle of their creation. So it’s more than just a bottle of nondescript perfume, it’s a creative endeavour in scented form!
Karen Gilbert’s One Day Natural Perfumery Course is available via karengilbert.co.uk and costs £195.
A lot of the fragrant gifts in this guide are brand spanking new treats to delight upon, but there’s always room for something a little more classic, if you ask me. Earlier this year, the iconic niche brand L’Artisan Parfumeur went through a rebrand, launching new look stores and flacons, and a number of new perfumes (the new look is fabulous, it must be said). What better opportunity to revisit one of their legendary scents than with the gift of their gorgeous new smoky black bottle? My pick would be Mûre et Musc Extrême, which feels like a classic green cologne accented with a shot of tart, fuzzy blackcurrant at top. Plus, it’s purple fruity tones are oh so very Christmas in their presentation! I am literally obsessed with it.
Mûre et Musc Extrême is available at artisanparfumeur.com for £80/50ml & £100/100ml Eau de Parfum.
Much like L’Artisan Parfumeur, London-based niche house Miller Harris are also undergoing somewhat of a renaissance, albeit one that is less visible than L’Artisan. Over the last two years they’ve started to launch some seriously good perfumes that are a world away from the citrus-centric, wishy-washiness that they previously seemed fond of. A great way to sample some of their new delights is through the Pret-a-Partir Travel Spray sets. Currently there are two, one for night and one for day; Nº1, the more night-worthy, heavier selection, contains the likes of Étui Noir (a marvellous, doughy iris-leather), Tea Tonique (a very drinkable iced-tea and green-tea beauty) and Vetiver Insolent (a smoky, cardamom-incense); whilst Nº2, which is more for the day, features Lumière Dorée (beautiful, endless neroli), L’Eau Magnetic (citrus sea spray) and Rose Silence (just about the prettiest musky rose ever). Being a little bit on the greedy side, I find it so satisfying to enjoy more than one fragrance, and the Pret-a-Partir sets are a perfect introduction to the new world of Miller Harris.
The Pret-a-Partir Travel Spray Collections are available at millerharris.com for £50/3x9ml.
Out of all the body products launched this year, Nº5 The Body Oil is by far my favourite. CHANEL Nº5 is the most famous perfume in the world (check out my retrospective for more info) and it’s the kind of thing that really feels special at Christmas. The Body Oil is closest to the Eau de Parfum and offers up a fine mist of heavily-scented oil that absorbs into the skin like a dream, leaving a silky veil of Nº5’s aldehydes, flowers and sandalwood. I love to splash some on just after the shower and before bed, just like Marilyn Monroe! Get this for the person always has Nº5 – heck, get them a bottle of Nº5 too just for good measure. They deserve to be spoiled, after all!
Nº5 The Body Oil is available at all CHANEL stockists for £62/200ml.
Here’s something a little different for you! Buly are a revival brand that offer a wide range of toiletries and cosmetics with a vintage twist. Amongst their fascinating range, which all together feels like a Victorian apothecary, are the Eau Triples – water perfumes that look like a milky emulsion but wear with the strength of an Eau de Parfum. They’re great for spritzing on the body, hair and clothes, and contain absolutely no alcohol. There is a range of scents available but I particularly liked the sweet almond goodness of Heliotrope, which feels decidedly old-school. The packaging is utterly divine, with hand written labels on the boxes and wonderful illustrations on the bottles, not to mention the satisfying softness of the scent itself!
Buly products are available at Buly in Paris or online at buly1803.com
OMG this stuff is good. Portrait of a Lady, the gigantic oriental rose from Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle really is a legend of modern perfumery and now one can enjoy its beautiful rosy throw in a number of matching body products. Let’s start with the Shower Cream, which is rich and thick, offering up a satisfying lather of Portrait’s patchouli and woody base notes, which really just sets one up for the glory that is the Body & Hair Oil. My oh my, this oil is so fruity – it’s full of raspberry and rose, with just a hint of those heavier foundation notes from the fragrance. It goes on to the skin like a dream, without feeling sticky. Personally, I like to throw a good slug into my hair after a shower so I can smell wafts of it as I move throughout the day. Both products are truly beautiful, which causes one problem: you won’t want to give them away…
The Portrait of a Lady Shower Creme is available for £40/200ml and the Hair and Body Oil is £130/200ml. Both can be found at Lessenteurs.com.
Alien is a fragrance made for a goddess, so it’s fair to say that it’s pretty high up on the beauty scale. The heady overdose of jasmine, which is syrupy and intergalactic in its reach, jars against the huge woody notes in the base, creating a contrasting fragrance that feels radiant, hedonistic and dripping in gold. Speaking of gold, MUGLER have treated us to a very special limited edition of our beloved extra terrestrial floral, in the form of the ‘Alien Divine Ornamentation’. Gosh, this bottle is beautiful. With a dazzling flacon sprayed with real 17 and 18 carat gold particles, this bottle of Alien is one of the most beautiful things on the planet, not to mention the fact that it carries 60ml of the classic Alien fragrance. It’s a gift of pure gold.
Alien Divine Ornamentation is available at mugler.co.uk for £69/60ml refillable Eau de Parfum.
Join the Discussion!
Tell me, Dear Reader, what beautiful, fragrant things are you lusting after this Christmas?
Let me know in the comments box below!
Images are my own. Sample of Souffle d’Or de Shalimar via Escentual. Sample of Orange Bitters via Jo Malone London. Sample of Angel Candle via MUGLER. One Day Natural Perfumery Course via Karen Gilbert. Sample of Mûre et Musc Extrême via L’Artisan Parfumeur. Samples of Pret-a-Partir Nº1 & Nº2 via Miller Harris. Sample of Nº5 The Body Oil via CHANEL. Sample of Heliotrope Eau Triple via Buly. Samples of Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream and Hair & Body Oil via Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Sample of Alien Divine Ornamentation purchased by me.