I don’t know about you but I like all selection boxes. From chocolate to fragrance, I’ll take the lot. I am in no way advocating that fragrance selection boxes should replace chocolate ones, but rather that they should be avidly encouraged in addition to chocolate selection boxes.
Right then, now we’ve cleared that up, let’s begin.
It’s a common refrain. People want perfume, after shave and toiletries for Christmas. You ask them what sort and they may say “I don’t mind” or “anything.”
The sheer volume of unwanted fragrances on eBay the day after Christmas tells me that this system of vague politeness doesn’t work for anyone. So what’s the solution? Fragrance selection boxes.
These will offer a variety of fragrances that your intended recipient can then choose from. If you can add a full bottle gift voucher, even better.
I’ve scouted around and made a list of my absolute favourites, none of which I would turn down (are you reading this in the North Pole Mr S.Claus?)
The Marks and Spencer Ferris Wheel
I salivated when I saw this. Not just miniatures, but generous 12ml bottles of 12 fragrances.
It’s currently reduced to the bargain price of £22. The box is beautiful and your recipient (or you, if you’re weak willed like me and end up keeping it) may find a new favourite. If I was a betting woman I would say this will sell out.
Whilst you’re in there, check out the mini Fragonard sets. I had one a few years ago and the longevity was incredible. You honestly can’t go wrong with Fragonard. Trust me, I’m a perfume blogger. I know this stuff.
The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes
These smart white boxes from The Perfume Society are my guilty pleasure throughout the year. I don’t think there’s a single one I’ve missed since they began. They’re beautifully wrapped so you can give them as they are, and inside there are between eight and ten perfume samples, often with generous beauty treats too such as shower gel or hand cream and I’ve even had a tiny perfume bottle keyring and a nail polish.
Each box contains postcards with notes about the perfumes within, so it’s a great way to learn what you like and discover new brands.
I’m not on the pay roll, but as a grown up, they are my absolute favourite toy and I love to sit there playing. They also do them for men too- try the Men’s Edit or For Him and there’s a sharing box for couples, which, teamed with a bottle of champagne, makes a fine wedding/anniversary/Christmas gift.
Buy British and Smell Good with 4160 Tuesdays
4160 Tuesdays is one of my favourite perfume houses. Probably in the top three but don’t make me choose, okay? Too hard. With delightfully named sets of samples such as “Frocks and Hats” (my favourite), “Love & Life Stories” and “Best of British”, you get seven spray samples and then you add your gift voucher so your recipient can fall in love with his or her favourite and buy up a big bottle with their voucher. Here’s the link.
The samples will be wrapped up like little Quality Street in brightly coloured tissue so this is a very user-friendly Christmas gift. There’s no extra charge for the wrapping, it’s all part of the normal service. with 4160 Tuesdays. My favourites are Raw Silk and Red Roses, Killer Rose, Doe in The Snow, Tarts Knicker Drawer and Fruits of The Tree of Knowledge.
Pell Wall: Nine Beautiful Bottles from A Shropshire Lad
Over in beautiful Shropshire, Chris Bartlett of Pell Wall perfumes makes and sells beautiful fragrances made with his own hands. If you haven’t heard of Pell Wall, you’re in for a treat. I have tried several from the range and thoroughly recommend them. Best of all, you can buy a Pell Wall Discovery Set containing NINE generous 10ml spray bottles, for only £70. They come in a box ( see above) and these nine bottles should see you through at least a whole year. My personal favourites are Pretty in Pink, Deep Purple and Anjin.
My local Jo Malone shop (nearest is Cardiff) is always very busy, no matter what time of year you go there. Fans are die hard and devoted. At Christmas, there is a wide choice of mini sets and selection boxes from which to choose your gift.
Jo Loves is a smaller company, also founded by Jo Malone MBE, long after Jo Malone the company was sold to Estee Lauder in 1999. Jo Loves is a smaller, more personal fragrance house, but no less addictive. Try the “Can’t Go Wrong” Discovery Set which involves ten sample sprays and a voucher for either a 50ml or a 100ml bottle of scent. Check out the site here.
This Year’s No Shows
Sadly, this year there is an absence of the Perfume Shop Viva Boxes, and also of the similar set at Boots, which is also no longer available. Both shops do little mini sets of branded scents (i.e Estee Lauder, Lancôme) but the little mixed sets with a gift voucher are no longer there. Also, the Fragrance Shop no longer does the Discovery Club, but they do have a new subscription service where you can “date” a fragrance before buying it. You can find details here, but I do miss my little quarterly box of surprises. Sniff. I’ll have to cheer myself with some more chocolate.
PS Try TK Maxx. The stock is always changing, but you sometimes get wonderful variety sets around Christmas time. Last year I saw a Juicy Couture Rollerball set for around £12. This year they have Chloe mini sets, Modern Muse and Marc Jacobs. Quick!
How about you?
Have you discovered any variety boxes that i’ve missed? Share your tips and insider knowledge!