Many of you will know that Lisa Wordbird is a dear friend of this blog. Her expertise and generosity have been given unconditionally and cheerfully. Not only that but she found us a parking space a few metres away from Les Senteurs in the middle of the day in Belgravia last week. This makes her a bona fide Wonder Woman. She has very kindly written a piece about Christmas shopping for perfume, so I am going to let Lisa take over and go back into the kitchen where I am peeling things. Over to you Lisa, and thank you for taking the time to write for us.
What Wordbird is buying for Christmas
There has been a lot of debate on the Basenotes forums over the years on how best to give perfume as a gift. If you buy something for a perfumista like me, I’m likely to already have it, or something like it, or already know about it and hate it. Fans are dreadful people to buy for, unless they’ve told you beforehand what they want, in which case it’s not a surprise. How to deal with this? Samples.
The consensus of opinion on the ladies’ board at Basenotes was that the nicest thing to do would be to order half a dozen samples from a specialist such as Les Senteurs in the UK, Lucky Scent in the US or Aus Liebe Zum Duft in EU, along with a gift voucher from the shop, so the lucky recipient could choose the fragrance they liked and then order a full bottle.
This method works just as well for mainstream perfumes, by the way. Pop into your favourite department store, blag a few samples of perfumes you think might be appropriate and buy a gift voucher. It has the merits of simplicity as well as offering you a way to show thoughtfulness without actually having to be thoughtful. Sneaky, huh? Excellent for Mothers-in-Law or very new girlfriends.
If you insist on handing over a bottle on Christmas morning, and you want to give a gift that is a little bit out of the ordinary, I would head over to Marks and Spencer’s and try the Fragonard and Monotheme ranges. Both are excellent quality, neither will break the bank, and if the recipient decides to look on Fragrantica or Basenotes to read reviews, they will find that they are well respected.
I will suggest Monotheme’s Cuir as an excellent leather fragrance that’s favourably compared to Tom Ford Tuscan Leather. So, buy that for your Dad or hubby and pinch a bit for yourself every now and then. Sam has already reviewed their lush lemony Boccioli di Limoni, which I love and recommend highly for some Italian sunshine in midwinter.
From Fragonard, Etoile has been likened to Light Blue (high praise in my book), Eclat has been compared to a light, gourmand version of Lancome Hypnose, and Ile d’Amour is likened to L’Eau de Issey Miyake, while my favourite – Soleil – has jasmine and orange blossom floating over amber and sandalwood. What’s not to like?
I’ll also give a shout to the Le Couvent des Minimes line, which is a sub-brand of L’Occitaine. As you would expect, there are some lovely skincare and bathing products in their line, but they also have a range of colognes, which I have tried and liked at a large branch of Tesco in the UK. One product that is getting a lot of love on the perfume boards is their Eau des Missions, an oriental gourmand eau de cologne that is often compared to my beloved Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille. For some strange reason it’s not available on the UK website, but if you’re in Europe or the US, you’re in luck!