Still in a turkey coma, you woke up the day after Thanksgiving with BUY BUY BUY email blasts inundating your inbox, filled with bottles upon bottles of perfume gift recommendations. What smells like heaven on you often ends up in someone else’s ‘re-gift’ pile, so as fragrance fanatics and Editors of two well-known perfume blogs, we usually don’t recommend giving perfume as a present unless it is a much-wanted bottle. Even if you think you know what they want, acquisitive perfume people are likely to spring for that bottle without telling you it’s off of their “Must…Have…Now” list and is already tucked neatly behind that bottle of vintage Mitsouko.
Now that we may have discouraged you from buying perfume as a holiday gift, we want you to think outside the bottle. We selected ten scented gift ideas; whether you are a Posse person or a CaFleureBon-ista, we are sure there is something to please even the pickiest of perfumistas.
Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief of CaFleureBon and Patty White, Editor in Chief of Perfume Posse couldn’t be more different. Michelyn uses proper sentence structure and speaks in fonts, while Patty routinely dangles participles. Michelyn is organized, planning blog posts a month in advance; Patty lets it all brew in some cosmic idea stew until something shrieks “Done!” or “Burnt to a crisp, get me outta here!” Michelyn, aka “the Editrix wears Prada”, wouldn’t think of leaving her apartment without wearing skyscraper heels and lipstick. Patty aka “the Editrix wears sweatpants” sometimes forgets she’s still in her pajamas and Uggs and has to drive back home to change. With our personality and style differences, you would think hammering out a top ten list together would be the equivalent to the Salt II Treaty Negotiation.
It wasn’t. We looked at each other’s lists and were surprised. Patty said, “Hey, I have that on mine!” Michelyn refrained from lecturing Patty on overusing exclamation points, but was just as excited. We both adore and want everything on this list. If you are the perfume lover reading this, email it to all your (and our) family and friends.
We are here to solve all of your holiday gift-giving woes with great smelling ideas (and most are under $100).
The Best Perfume Gifts that Aren’t Perfume
It’s the everyday things that can sometimes surprise both of us when we find a fragrant twist. Le Palais des Thés Sampler of Nine Scented Teas is one of those unexpected perfumed pleasures. Michelyn’s favorite is Thé des Vahinés which is caffeine free, pairing vanilla and almond and Patty’s sips Blue of London, one of the best black teas in the world and an exceptional Earl Grey. The entire collection has been scented by a trained perfumer and while the tea bags are steeping each releases an amazing aroma into the room. The box-set contains 54 muslin tea bags, i.e. 6 of each of the following 9 varieties: Blue of London, Fleur de Geisha, Thé des Alizés, Thé des Amants, Thé du Hammam, Thé des Moines, Thé des Songes, Thé des Sources, Thé des Vahinés ($49.50). The crackle glazed tea cup is so zen and adds to the experience ($13.50). As a special treat for our readers the fine folks at Le Palais des Thés are offering both in this custom gift set).
Eau d’Italie Verbena & Sage diffuser is perfect when you don’t want to burn something, like, you know, your house down. Verbena, pine needles, sage and cedar wood – perfect scents for the holiday season that will waft delicately throughout your room scenting it with the smells of the Holiday Season without having to sweep up a bunch of pine needles every day. ($70)
We are already fans of Fornasetti Profumo’s ceramic candles and scent spheres that feature the enigmatic visage of Lina Cavelieri, the House’s operatic muse. We are mesmerized by the indolent scent created by Master Perfumer Olivier Polge known as “Otto”, with notes of aromatic balsam, thyme, orris root and incense that evoke a dark lover’s carress. The Bacio Incense box with a ceramic lid on a rosewood base is haute not headshop. If those red lips could speak, they would whisper “buy me”. A Smokin’ gift and we don’t have to inhale. ($265)
Aftelier Chef’s Essences are a welcome addition to “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” festivities this time of year. Try cocoa or pepper in a glass of inexpensive red wine and satisfy your inner oenophile (great suggestion from Mindy Yang at MiN New York). Neither of us are cooks, and we were trying to figure out what you would put the Lavender on – Michelyn said fish, Patty said chicken, then we said in unision “Float it in a Martini”. ($12-$20)
With a name like Sexy in St. Tropez, how can we resist? Memo Paris’s tuberose and champagne scented candle is intoxicating. In the words of Brigitte Bardot, “champagne is the one thing that gives me zest when I am feeling tired”. We started singing “Je t’aime… moi non plus”, even though Patty doesn’t know a word of French. We tested dozens of candles and think that this one is guaranteed to a light your fire or start one. (45€/ $58)
Perfume companies have beautiful lotions, soaps and hair mists that match their fragrance and those are a great choice. One of our favorites is Amouage Lyric Body Cream. A gorgeous incense rose fragrance that is sexy as hell, layers beautifully with many scents and leaves your skin feeling like velvet. This is for the day when we want to be the Undercover Boss, usually you can smell us coming from a mile away. ($100)
We both have way too many friends who buy every perfume they want; Mark Behnke of CaFleureBon we are looking at you. For them, you need to find an unusual scented experience and we have one. Yosh Han’s Scented Aura Reading offers intuitive insights and personalized fragrance consultations (from Yosh’s Evanescent Collection) by reading auras, past lives and chakras. Patty will not shut up about how she’s got an Aurora Borealis aura and Michelyn was a Countess in a past life, but you don’t have to call her Lady Camen-Cholay…yet. Choose from a 45 or 60-minute session ($60 or $80).
Perfumistas love tweeting their SOTD, SOTM, SOTE 24/7. Lush’s Seasons Tweetings is for everyone who spends lots of time in front of their keyboard typing until the letters on the keys are illegible and for all of us who have to work throughout the holiday season. Indulge in this set of Lush’s handmade moisturizing, soothing and relaxing best sellers: Twilight bath bomb, Dream Cream hand & body lotion, Ultrabalm, Tiny Hands hand serum and Snowcake soap. Tweet on, even if you cheat with hootsuite ($35.95)
Antidote Chocolate has unusual flavor/scent and chocolate pairings. Everyone loves chocolate, and adding healthful ingredients makes eating chocolate practically guilt free. Each bar is guided by a Greek Goddess. Kakia is Michelyn’s favorite, (named for the wicked goddess of sin and vice) as she loves the ‘scentual’ flavor pairing of Cardamom and Coffee. Patty’s partial to Lavender & Red Salt, (Michelyn worries about water retention for chrissakes). Each bar is low in sugar and has a high content of raw cacao which boosts serotinin. Did we mention they taste delicious, are CERTIFIED ORGANIC and ethically sourced by a team of Ecuadorians? We think that Pure Antidote for Associates and Clients Gift set makes a great stocking stuffer, but you will be tempted to eat them first. ($25)
L’Artisan Perfumeur Amber Balls , those beautifully carved objects of desire are always at the top of our personal “please buy me” lists. Each of these terracotta balls are as unique as a snowflake. The sweet, spicy, deliciously intoxicating scent of amber wafts throughout the house. Eric Weiser of Parfum 1 says his L’Artisan Parfumeur small amber ball lasted two years without replacing the refillable crystals. Designed and created by a mother and daughter in the historic region of L’Oise, France they are the ultimate artisinal gift. If money was no object we would buy all five sizes. Medium Amber Ball ($140)
Musette of Perfume Posse yellin’ at us –PUT IN PERFUME
Just as we were finishing our Perfume Gifts that Aren’t Perfumes list, Musette butted in (those of you that know her can’t possibly be shocked), telling us there was no way, that’s right, NO WAY, we were putting out a Perfume Gift for the Holidays Guide without one single bottle of perfume on the list!!!!!! (multiple exclamation points, stop sighing Michelyn) We don’t argue with Miss Musette (also known as Mother Mary Bossypants). Thanks to her prodding, we decided to include two perfume gift suggestions for 2012:
Atelier Cologne Collection Voyage is the perfect sample/travel set for anyone – hardcore perfumista to someone who wants to explore niche perfumes. There is something in this modern classic line for everyone to love – male, female, young, old. Put together in a set of travel sizes of most of their fragrances, it’s a perfume wardrobe in a gift box. If your bottle of Vanille Insensee is missing we think it might be on one of our desks. ($95)
One of our favorite perfume houses is Ormonde Jayne London and the Discovery Set of 12 X 2mL vials makes a great gift. This lets the perfume lover on your list sample Linda Pilkington’s sophisticated fragrances and decide for themselves which one they want to buy to place on their bureaus. Patty is a fan of Ormonde Woman and Michelyn favors Frangipani. Sold only in retail stores in the U.K., Ormonde Jayne perfumes have a prominent spot on our respective vanities. (48€/ $62)
This is The BEST DANG giveaway of the Holiday Season and we will choose one winner for each of the ten prizes using a random number generator. To be entered in the Top 10 Not Perfume But We Included Two Perfumes Prizes Anyway Draw, name all the gifts you hope you win, plan to give or hope you receive (note reader’s choice of ONE Aftelier Chef Essence courtesy of MiN) in a comment addressed to “Dear Ms. Scentas”.
This is a joint post, so in order to be eligible you must leave your comment on both Perfume Posse and CaFleureBon (we are posting the same article). If you use the same user name to comment in both places, we’ll match you up. If you use a different user name, just note that in your comment on both sites. You must be a registered reader of both sites to be eligible. Patty and Michelyn will decide on the most creative Dear Ms. Scentas comment and that reader will win one of their three choices. Entries will be accepted until November 29, 2012. so make sure you subscribe to the newsfeed of both blogs or friend us on Facebook so you don’t miss it if you are a winner.
(Editors’ Note: Fornasetti’s Bacio Incense Box and Amouage Lyric Body Cream are NOT prizes in the draw but if they are among your favorites list them any way. We will think highly of your taste level).
–Michelyn Camen, Editor-in Chief of CaFleurebon and Patty White, Editor in Chief of Perfume Posse