The IScentYouADay Guide to Buying Perfume For Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times in High Street perfume departments and no wonder. For many people (not me!) perfume is a luxury item that they feel self indulgent buying for themselves. It is seen as a treat, in a similar vein to a box of chocolates.

There are usually three problems with buying Mother’s Day Fragrance: a) Either you don’t know what your Mum likes or,  b) you think you know what she likes but she secretly went off it years ago and has to make happy faces when she unwraps it for the umpteenth time, or c) what she used to like has been discontinued or reformulated and she wants something new.

I’m going to put a few ideas out here that ought to help with  all of the above.  There’s the Classics, the Discovery Sets, and finally, at pocket money prices, there are the Cheap and Cheerfuls.  At these prices, if you’re buying for your Mum, you may as well pick something up for yourself…



These are the stalwarts that have been around for years and which, in my opinion, don’t get enough love from younger perfume fans. If your Mum likes the mossy chypres, orientals and aldehydes of the Seventies and Eighties, these are all safe bets.


Good enough to make a grown woman weep, Ysatis fans are rarely casual about their love for this oriental chypre. Ysatis is priced very reasonably for such classic quality and prices start at £24.50. You can read my review here. Ysatis can be bought from Boots, Amazon and trusty


Estee Lauder Cinnabar

For oriental fans, Cinnabar is a classic that’s  hard to beat. It’s been around for a long time whilst fashions have come and gone, and it still stands majestic on the beauty counter. You can read my review here and buy it from Amazon, House of Fraser and John Lewis.


Yves Saint Laurent Opium

It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still a very good oriental. Find my review here. There’s another review here which compares old and new. Die hard fans really know their stuff, but sadly the original formulation is only on eBay these days. You can buy Opium from John Lewis, Boots and House of Fraser to name but a few. Do not confuse this with Black Opium, which is very different indeed. (I’m pulling a face and being tactful).

chanel no5Chanel No 5

Arguably the most famous fragrance in the world. I have seen more red faced men buying this than women. Personally I’m not keen, but its popularity shows no signs of waning ever. At all.  I like it on other people, but on me it smells like stale face powder. My review is here and you can buy it everywhere: Boots, John Lewis,  and Escentual to name but a few.

miss dior originale

Miss Dior Originale

This is the one that’in the glass houndstooth check bottle, not the pretty floral Miss Dior that comes with a little bow. It’s green and mossy and longlasting.  I much prefer it to the latest incarnation of Miss Dior (which is pretty good, but is more of a fruity floral) You can buy Miss Dior Originale from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Amazon.

aromatics elixir

Clinique Aromatics Elixir

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one. With aldehydes, spices and oakmoss, I often happily find myself in a miasma of this whilst gadding about town. It’s usually on more mature perfume lovers: the youth of today are missing a trick. You can buy Aromatics Elixir from House of FraserAmazon and John Lewis.


Many perfume houses offer a “Try Some Then Buy One” service, which is a great way of getting some samples to try and a follow on bottle of your choice afterwards. Another alternative is buy a sample set and a voucher. Here’s a selection of the best:

4160 taster

4160 Tuesdays

I’m a big fan of 4160 Tuesdays and can’t hide it.: quirky artisan scent hand made with passion in a London studio. If you haven’t tried any yet, enter the portal now! For £95 you can get 7 samples and a voucher for a full 100ml bottle of whichever is her favourite. It works out cheaper than buying the bottle and samples separately by £20. Here’s the link you need to the site.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is the brainchild of Jo Malone MBE, former CEO and founder of Jo Malone. Jo couldn’t stay away from fragrance and started her own perfume house on a smaller scale after stepping down from her original flagship business. You can buy a Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience  for £100 which includes samples and a voucher for a full bottle.


The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These boxes contain around ten hard to get samples and a couple of very good beauty treats such as hand cream, skin serum or nail polish.  A VIP Subscription at just £25  gets you a free Discovery Box and a discount off all the other Discovery Boxes on offer as well as many more benefits throughout the year.  Your Mum might well find a brand new favourite and learn something along the way: each box has testing notes and sniffing strips. Quick plug- I have five VIP subscriptions up for grabs, but be quick- entries must be in by 25th February at midnight. See my post here to find out how to enter.

Pell Wall Perfumes
Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall is a perfume house that consists of a delightfully eclectic mix by Shropshire based Nose Chris Bartlett. A set of minis costs just £49 for 9 x 10ml bottles. My favourites are Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Try the website and read my reviews here and here.



Cheap needn’t smell cheap. Some of my favourite and most frequently worn perfumes cost under ten quid. You can often find me wearing some of the following. In fact I wear them more often than my posh stuff because I know I can afford to replace them when they’re empty.

Coty L’Aimant

This was my grandmother’s favourite. It came hot on the heels of Chanel No 5 and there are many similarities in this powdery aldehydic gem, created in the 1920s. My review is here and you can buy it from or Fragrance Direct. Often you can get beautiful gift sets with talc, body spray and a little cosmetics bag for under ten pounds. (The one pictured is from Fragrance Direct and is 6.99 currently).

tweed old1


Tweed makes some people pull faces and say “old Lady”- a term I avoid, but I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It used to be made by Lentheric but is now made by Taylor of London. My Mum wears Tweed and it smells amazing on her. It’s woody and mossy with a nice bit of citrus in the opening notes. You can read my review here and buy it from Boots, and Fragrance Direct.


Avon has been a favourite among several generations of women in my family. My late Nanna used to like Soft Musk and Timeless, as does my Mum today. Avon launches new scents all the time, and prices are so reasonable that even a blind buy won’t break the bank. Here’s my guide to my Avon Top Ten. You can buy online from AvonShop UK.



Marks and Spencer Rosie for Autograph

This is an excellent rose scent, that smells far more expensive than it’s low price. Containing centifolia roses, this is a beautiful perfume and the one I chose for myself for Mother’s Day last year. Here’s my review.  It’s currently  only £11.20.


Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

Blue Grass was another of my late grandmother’s favourites. It is widely available for under a tenner and is especially good sprayed fridge cold in hot weather. I reviewed it here. You can buy Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass from Half Price Perfumes , Fragrance Direct or Superdrug.


That’s my round up for Mums everywhere, including me! So what scent reminds you of your Mum? Do feel free to comment below. I always love to hear from you.

8 thoughts on “The IScentYouADay Guide to Buying Perfume For Mother’s Day”

  1. My mum used to wear the original Opium. The one that blew the doors off the house once you took the cap off, and it lingered on her clothes for days. Considering that we lived in the Caribbean, it’s a perfume that you had to be careful with. For me though, when I think of perfume and home, I do like Shalimar. It reminds me of Caribbean churches with beeswax pews and warm breezes, and gizada cakes- and my mum is a god fearing, church loving woman- so I always have a bottle of Shalimar to hand to spritz when I feel verklempt. For that reason alone, I’d buy her the original shalimar – the parfum and all.

    1. Hi Jazzypom- what a lovely comment! Full of description and memory. Shalimar is one scent I am trying to get my Mum into. I reckon she’ll love it but she’s very firm about what she does and does not like! Your Mum has amazing taste. Nothing beats original Opium.

      best wishes to you and your Mum

  2. Eau my sin by Lanvin was my mother’s signature scent when I was young. I remember looking at the pretty bottles on her dressing table, wishing for perfumes of my own. She prefers a bvlgari bottle these days though!

    1. What a lovely memory Katie. Your Mum knows her stuff. I hope you have a good dressing table of your own now!

      best wishes


  3. I gave my mother a bottle of L’Aiment for Christmas, after reading your review! She used to like Chanel No. 5, but said after trying it recently that either her tastes have changed or the perfume has. Both, most likely. I also gave her a couple of decants of lily-of-the-valley perfumes (Annick Goutal Le Muguet and the Penhaligon’s), as that’s a note she particularly likes.

    When is Mother’s Day celebrated in the UK? It’s in early May here, so my sister and I tend to combine it with my Mom’s birthday. She might as well have been born in late December.

    1. Hi Laurels, hope you;re enjoying sunnier climes over there. I’m so glad my blog inspired you. I love to enable and be the devil on your left shoulder saying “go on! Buy more perfume!” I hope your Mum liked L’Aimant, I wear it a lot. I find it a bit friendlier than Chanel No 5, which can smell quite cold on me,.In the Uk Mother;s Day is celebrated on March 6th this year. Me and my family are taking my Mum out for a pub lunch.

      So your Mum likes Lily of the Valley? That’s one of my favourites. She may like MiuMiu- it;s very LOTV. Also the Yardley Lily of the Valley is a classic.

      best wishes and thanks as always for dropping by

      sam x

  4. That’s a terrific round-up. I’d love to think that there will be a few more mums unwrapping Ysatis this year because of your post. It’s a winner. 🙂

    I have so much perfume that my kids would be bewildered if they tried to buy me any, even supposing they could afford it. But my son gets me Chanel No 5 soap as a gift. It’s superb; better as a soap, some might say, than the perfume. Expensive, but not wildly so, and how can you go wrong with soap?

    1. Hi Annemarie and thanks for dropping by!

      I hope Ysatis sales go up too! The joy needs spreading! Actually I know what you mean about soap. I have Mitsouko soap which is glorious but I’m on the fence about the perfume. The media of soap suits me better. Some years ago a friend of mine bought me a Chanel Cristalle soap which not only lasted AGES but smelled incredible. It’s hard to get now, but I’d buy it again if I ever saw it. You have a good son there!

      best wishes

      Sam x

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