Christmas gift guide 2021

That time of year when our thoughts turn to Christmas shopping is here yet again. Although it’s been another peculiar year of interruptions and off and on restrictions, the last thing you need is to get stressed over what to buy your nearest and dearest. In order to avoid that, we’ve drawn together the most memorable scents from the last twelve months to help take the pain out of present buying. Here you’ll find the fragrances we will be hoping end up in our stockings this Christmas morning.

For the young or young at heart

Whether you are buying for someone who is nineteen or ninety, sometimes you need something easy, carefree and full of joy. Our picks for this bracket are scents which feel lively and interesting but which won’t weigh you down. This category could also be thought of as “office safe” or “friendly” fragrances.

  • Complicated Shadows by 4160 Tuesdays – The final (and arguably the best) of the Clouds series of perfumes, Complicated Shadows blends light and darkness to create a fragrance which is by equal measure uplifting and grounding.
  • Chipmunk by Zoologist – Imagine you are a chipmunk safe in a nest of twigs and leaves, warm and cosy and dry. That’s the vibe of this friendly Zoologist fragrance, nutty, woody and calming.
  • Envide by Karen Timson – Indie house Karen Timson Fine Fragrance knock it out of the park with this violet and honeyed musks scent.

For the romantics

Whether you want to show your own romantic side with a fragrant gift, or buy for someone who tends towards the romantic in nature, these fragrances will not let you down.

  • Trayee by Neela Vermeire – Neela’s fragrances will delight anyone. Part playful, part seductive, Trayee has an easy, charismatic charm of fruitiness and spices that will capture hearts.
  • Encens Suave by Matiere Premiere – More sultry and darker than Trayee, Encens Suave is the fragrance to wear (or buy) someone who is getting serious. Beautiful, high quality incense with coffee and vanilla notes to add a little sweetness, this scent is so seductive and beautiful without being tawdry.

For the adventurous

For many, adventures have been curtailed for the second year in a row, so why not delight the adventurous ones in your life with a scent which will help them recreate the excitement and adrenaline rush of a new experience.

  • Daymon by Mendittorosa – Although this is one of the easier to wear and get to know fragrances from Mendittorosa, it is still full of adventure – right from the bottle, which has a felt tail, through to the scent which manages to twist and turn as it evolves, taking you on a peculiar and haunting journey.
  • Cabaret Nocturne by V/siteur – The inaugural collection from V/siteur delighted earlier in the year with its boldness and willingness to do things a bit differently. Cabaret Nocturne was a firm favourite, evoking the excitement of a night out in a cabaret bar.

For the rebels

There are always going to be those who want to push boundaries, break from the norm and strike out on their own – and indeed who can blame them for wanting to stamp their own individuality through the scents they wear. These are the fragrances you should buy those wanting to stand out from the crowd.

  • Sticky Fingers by Francesca Bianchi – The ultimate in rock and roll type fragrances, Sticky Fingers melds hedonism with a blend of patchouli, leather, tobacco and iris to create a scent which is magnetic and sexy.
  • Fashion Intervention by M.Int – If sitting in an upscale bar, rather than a dive-club, is more your scene, and you would rather sip a crafted cocktail than a beer, Fashion Intervention might be the scent to choose. Reminiscent of a fruity cocktail with a definite alcoholic punch, this scent is bright, beautiful and most definitely on trend.
  • Boys by Freddie Albrighton – Another new brand that launched this year, Freddie Albrighton fragrances are playful, exciting and raw. Boys is a massive concoction which combines violet with latex and musk as well as cream soda. It’s both bonkers and beautiful.

For those who love food

The popularity of gourmand fragrances shows no sign of abating, so dig in to our favourites in this category – scents to satisfy even the most tenacious of cravings.

  • Madeleine by Masque Milano – A dainty little pastry of a scent, taken in a Parisian cafe. Madeleine is classy and moreish.
  • Loudo by Sarah Baker – Oud done gourmand, Loudo manages to put a new spin on the oud profile with this scent which feels novel and innovative as well as delicious.
  • Vanille de Tahiti by Perris Monte Carlo – Although Vanille de Tahiti definitely plays on the more floral aspects that vanilla can contain, there is enough of the beautiful, resinous vanilla here in the base to satisfy even the most ardent of vanilla lovers. A classy take on an ingredient which can go a bit “cake batter” if not handled carefully.

For someone bold

Sometimes nothing short of a stunning, bold fragrance will do. For those wanting to make an impression or stand out, for a big day, or for just any day when you need an extra bit of oomph.

  • Athanor by Mendittorosa – In contrast to Daymon, Athanor is one of the more “out there” scents from Mendittorosa, but it is an absolute triumph of a scent. Unlike anything else around, Athanor has bountiful levels of boldness, and the sulphuric element it contains is intoxicating.
  • Flame and Fortune by Sarah Baker – Another scent which plays with light and shadow to amazing effect is Flame and Fortune. This fragrance manages tension really well and is luminescent and radiant.

For those dreaming of travel

Many of us will not have crossed borders this year, so wanderlust is on the rise again. To satisfy those cravings, why not treat yourself or a loved one, to a scent which is as transportive as a holiday.

  • Alphaora by Pierre Guillaume – Luminous moss under the Northern lights. What could be more ethereal or transportive than that?
  • Sandal Koti by Ricardo Ramos – If a warm trip is more what you are craving then join us in the sandalwood warehouses of India with this delicate and soothing woody composition.
  • Hamaca by 27 87 – Tonka and coconut make Hamaca as relaxing as settling into a hammock, kicking back, and waiting for your cocktail to arrive.
  • Tesoro by D:Sol MMXVI – A wonderfully aromatic, orangey and sunlit composition, Tesoro takes us to both the Mediterranean and a moment in the past. A fragrance full of imagination and excitement, Tesoro is well worth the trip to check out.

For the classically elegant

Some folks just ooze a classical elegance whether they’re walking the dog or popping to the shops to stock up on coffee and croissants. These are the scents you should buy them.

  • Vetiver by Hiram Green – Old school Hollywood glamour, nothing more, nothing less. The vetiver is accented by zesty notes but otherwise allowed to shine.
  • Neroli Oranger by Matiere Premiere – Another uncluttered composition, here neroli is presented in its sunny, luminous best. Totally gorgeous, very wearable, year-round chic.
  • Petales Sous le Soleil by 1000 Flowers – The brand, 1000 Flowers, is based in Grasse and that high tradition of French perfumery is evidenced in this pretty and timeless composition. It’s white flowers in the sunshine, and that will never go out of fashion.

For those wanting to scent their homes

Finally, who can forget home fragrances at this time of year. The candle reviews we have done this orbit around the sun have unearthed some absolute corkers.

  • Boujee Bougies – Favourites are Cuir Culture (leather and books) and Hellflower (an intoxicating, alien bloom) but all the candles from Boujee Bougies are fulsome and bold
  • Jonathan Ward – Kiss in Rio is a hauntingly good candle which has the nuance of a well composed skin scent coupled with the throw to fill a room quickly. An absolute beauty. Treat yourself to this if you don’t treat someone else.

The other stuff

If we received gifted samples or product, this is listed on the original review (linked above). We weren’t paid or incentivised to include any of the fragrances or candles in this round up.

Photo by Superkitina on Unsplash.

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