Tag Archives: perfume gifts

Fragrance Selection Boxes: How to Let Them Choose at Christmas

 

Marks and Spencer

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.

The chocolate sort is strongly encouraged in my house

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

Marks and Spencer

I salivated when I saw this. Not just miniatures, but generous 12ml bottles of 12 fragrances.

Marks and Spencer

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

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.  

4160 Tuesdays

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

Pell Wall Perfumes

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.

Jo Malone

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 Malone

You can buy the London Cologne Collection from Jo Malone or John Lewis, and there’s also the Intense Cologne Collection, and a scented candle selection box too.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves

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

Walter Langley Never Morning Wore to Evening 1894

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!

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The Perfume Society Les Infusions de Prada Discovery Box

PRADA PINK

Being a fan and a full bottle owner of Prada Infusion D’Iris, I was delighted to see that iris has been joined by some new friends in a beautiful capsule collection. It’s hard to believe that Prada Infusion D’Iris has been around since 2007.  I came to it only last year and found it quite ground breaking.

NowSmellThis
Photo of Daniela Andrier from NowSmellThis

I have had a complicated relationship with Iris: sometimes it turns me right off, and sometimes it attracts me like a bee to nectar. It often depends who it’s hanging out with.  Prada Infusion D’Iris pleased me no end since it seemed to fuse my love of hesperides with a gentler, watercolour version of iris.

pradarow

All of the Infusions de Prada range were created by Daniela Andrier, who has this to say:

“At first they appear to be very simple, as if you were “tattooing” water with an ingredient-but in reality each is a very complex formula…the base composition allows the beauty of a flower, wood or fruit to be revealed in a bright sensitive way”

pradaROW2

Imagine my delight at finding a Discovery Box with all of the following inside:

Les Infusions de Prada Iris Cedre

Imagine Infusion D’Iris with a drier, more sober iris within. The galbanum keeps this springlike and the very faintest wisp of incense adds a unisex edge. The iris used here is Iris Pallida which is matured for four years after picking. It would feel rude not to appreciate it after all that time. Luckily it’s dreamy and gorgeous, so no forced politeness required.

Les Infusions de Prada Fleur D’Oranger

Playful and light as air, the orange flower green notes are present, with the orange being more dainty than sharp. There is a base note of serenglide which adds a ghost of floaty white musk.

Les Infusions de Prada Oeillet

Oeillet is carnation, and this opening is zingy like lime. There is bold styrax, but it’s used with a light hand. There is definitely patchouli, but its done with faint watercolours rather than bold acrylics. The spices within are on the herbal spectrum rather than the foodie spectrum and in fact I found the wispiest wisp of liquorice.

Les Infusions de Prada Amande

I’m not usually a fan of gourmands, but I’m always going to be a fan of this almond infusion. There is vanilla, but it is sugar free. No cupcakes or candy floss here. This is creamy and classy, like expensive cashmere. The mandarin and lime that is pretty much a characteristic of the collection, keeps this bright, rather than sweet.

Les Infusions de Prada Vetiver

This could easily play a little trick on your nose. In a blind test, you would not pick this out as Vetiver. However, after about half an hour, coaxed by touches of ginger and citrus, the dried grasses finally emerge. This would make a great unisex scent as it has a slightly masculine finish, but starts like an expensive herbal cologne. It reminds me of very expensive hotel bathrooms. NB Here on my blog, there is of course, no gender barriers to whatever you want to wear. Or do.

infusion postcard 2

Les Infusions de Prada Iris

The original beautiful, ethereal scent that started the wheel turning. I would be hard pushed to think of a more likeable scent. This is green, light, airy and floral and never overpowers.

Stockists

The Infusions de Prada Discovery Box is available exclusively from The Perfume Society.  The boxes costs £36 (£30 to subscribers) and contain 6 x 8ml bottles and postcards with notes and information about each one.  The box would make a great gift and would be a safe bet for recipients who like light, airy perfumes.

If you want to the full bottles, try John Lewis, Escentual or Selfridges

Thank you to the Perfume Society who kindly provided me with this beautiful box.  Opinions are my own.

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