Indulgent, luxurious and deeply personal, perfume can be a winning gift for the special people in your life. Because fragrance is so personal, choosing just the right one can be intimidating, but with a few tricks and a litte investigative ability, you'll be able to gift them a perfume they'll love to wear.
If you're buying for someone who wears perfume often, you're in luck: By knowing that perfume's name, or even just its fragrance family, you'll be able to shop for similar perfumes with nuanced differences the recipient is bound to appreciate.
If the recipient doesn't tend to wear perfume, think about their personality, what they like to do and when they wear perfume. Fragrances for daytime tend to be lighter, while a perfume for a night out might be spicy or complex. Similarly, someone who likes to get outside and hike might prefer a fresh, woodsy fragrance, while an avid baker might enjoy a sweet gourmand scent.
If possible, find a perfume counter or beauty retailer where you can obtain a sample of the perfume to test at home. Avoid making your decision based on the paper strip sprayed in store: Those initial notes will fade the fastest, leaving a very different fragrance after an hour or so. Plus, the individual's body chemistry can affect how the perfume smells once it's on skin.
If you're still not sure, consider a set of mini or sample bottles. The recipient will be able to try a wide variety of scents and decide on their favorite without having to commit to a full-size bottle. Plus, if they wind up with a favorite, you'll have next year's gift lined up.
Not sure how to translate how a perfume's fragrance is described? Here's a breakdown of the most common categories.
It's not always enough to know a single descriptor for a perfume: The complete fragrance notes are also important for understanding how a perfume will smell while it's worn.
Perfume descriptions usually include its top, middle and base notes. The top notes are what you smell first, immediately on application. Middle notes, also called heart notes, are longer-lasting and more complex. Base notes linger longest and combine with the middle notes to create the perfume's most lasting and memorable scent.
This modern scent reinvents florals by combining lavender and orange blossom with woody musk. Warm and bold, it's suitable for day or night in any season.
Light and lively, this variation on a signature Dior scent features peony, damask rose and sweet pea with white musk. It's available in four sizes ranging from 1 to 5 ounces.
Notes of peony and mandarin celebrate the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This limited-edition bottle celebrates Bloomingdale's 150th anniversary with black-and-white checkerboard packaging.
Enjoy the signature Philosophy body care scent in a 2-ounce bottle of fresh, lightweight perfume. Notes of lily of the valley and lavender are refreshed and modernized with leafy greens, citrus and musk.
This floral fragrance combines luxurious jasmine and vanilla bourbon with a modern woody accord. The pink-hued perfume arrives packaged in the iconic Valentino studded glass bottle.
This iconic, free-spirited fragrance features notes of jasmine absolute, pear blossom and gardenia blended with a warm brown sugar accord. Its lacquered pink bottle showcases archival Gucci artwork from 1966.
If the gift recipient is searching for their signature scent, this expansive sample set can help. It includes 14 popular fragrances, including spicy Carolina Herrera Good Girl, sweet Armani My Way and sophisticated Cartier La Panthère.
This luxurious set features the floral, citrusy scent of iconic Miss Dior. Enjoy its notes of peony, lily of the valley and rose in three sizes, perfect for displaying on your vanity or bringing along on vacation.
Sample this cult-favorite brand with this set of five essential Jo Malone fragrances. The set includes English Pear & Freesia, white floral Wild Bluebell, Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Lime Basil & Mandarin and sweetly floral Peony & Blush Suede.
This set includes three variations of Burberry's famous Her fragrance. Her Eau de Parfum is musky and fruity, Her Elixir is a gourmand fruity scent and Her Eau de Toilette features notes of peony and green pear with a woody base.
This elegant set includes four sample-size bottles of Esteé Lauder fragrances. It comes with boldly floral Beautiful, light and wearable Beautiful Magnolia, lilac-forward Pleasures and summery Bronze Goddess.
Celebrate floral fragrance with this set of three Gucci Flora Gorgeous perfumes: Gardenia, Jasmine and Magnolia. Each travel-friendly pen spray contains 0.34 ounces of perfume.
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Laura Reed writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.