My weekend mornings start with a cup of tea and a couple of French magazines. I call it my language practice, but there are other reasons I prefer French Marie-Claire and Elle to their US equivalents–more articles on diverse topics, in-depth interviews, and better fashion coverage. They feature much more on perfume, besides the usual sponsored ads and token mentions of the advertisers’ products. Thanks to French Marie-Claire, I’ve rediscovered Shiseido Zen and fell in love with a delightful orange blossom cologne Bien-être L’Eau Parfumée des Familles.
With the holiday season approaching, the glossy pages are splashed with tempting perfume gift ideas, and today I wanted to share with you a few of them. I love the idea of a scented present that includes several fragrances to try, but in some cases I also wanted to highlight a few interesting products that are presented exclusively for the holidays. While I’ve collected some of the ideas from my dog-eared issues of French Marie-Claire, Vogue and Elle, I featured the sets that can be easily found in the US as well as Europe.
Atelier Cologne set 0.25 oz of their seven perfumes: Orange Sanguine, Grand Néroli, Bois Blonds, Trèfle Pur, Oolang Infini, Vanille Insensée, and Ambre Nue. A beautiful presentation and a great way to try the collection. Available at Sephora and Bergdorf Goodman. $95.00
Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien Set
No wonder that the French press fell in love with this holiday set. The packaging is elegant and festive, and I like the gilded 10 ml purse spray (in addition to the 50ml of eau de toilette). Eau d’Hadrien is one of the classics, and those who enjoy fresh, crisp scents will appreciate its effervescence of lemon and bergamot. A glimpse of the summer on a white Christmas morning, perhaps? Available at Annick Goutal counters and online. £60.00
Chanel No 5 Sheer Moisture Mist
Chanel No 5 Sheer Moisture Mist is presented as a limited edition for the holidays. I saw it mentioned in Vogue and Elle, and when I tried it at the store, I understood why the beauty editors were smitten. It’s a light veil of scent that nevertheless has a great tenacity, and it leaves skin silky soft. Now, Chanel, please make this mist scented with No 22 and No 19. Available at Chanel.com and most Chanel counters. 3.40z, $50.00
Chanel No 5 Gift Set with Body Lotion and Gel
I usually am not tempted by scented body products, but I make an exception for Chanel. The quality of their lotion and gel bases is excellent, with body creams seeping into the skin within seconds, leaving it supple and perfumed. The holiday gift set is a luxurious one, but it includes everything that a Chanel No 5 fan would want: Eau de Parfum Spray 3.4 oz. ($130 value), Body Lotion 3.4 oz. and Bath Gel 3.4 oz.; in a deluxe gift box. Available at Chanel.com, Bergdorf Goodman, and most Chanel counters.$180.00
I love the whimsical packaging of this L’Artisan Fragrance Gift Set, which unfolds to reveal three 0.5oz bottles of their signature scents. For women, L’Artisan offers Mûre et Musc, La Chasse Aux Papillons, and Premier Figuier, while the set for men–and that’s the one I’m eyeing–includes Timbuktu, Fou d’Absinthe (EDP), and Mechant Loup. Available at Aedes, Barney’s and Selfridges. $98.00
Penhaligon’s Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ miniature fragrance set
The opulent boxes decorated with illustrations of Victorian theatre-goers are irresistible, but I also like the idea of a varied collection of scents. I wish that the sets included some of the recent launches like Juniper Sling and Peoneve, but Quercus, Blenheim Bouquet, Endymion, Sartorial, and Opus 1870 make for a classically minded choice. The collection for women likewise contains 5 x 5ml bottles of perfume: Artemisia, Gardenia, Malabah, Lily of the Valley, and Ellenisia. Available at penhaligons.com, Saks Fifth Avenue and Selfridges. $50.00
Penhaligon’s website includes more gift ideas, both for perfume and for body products.
Jo Malone Cologne Collection
The beauty of Jo Malone sets is that the fragrances can be layered and that they are light and understated enough to appeal to a wide audience. Blackberry & Bay has been a hit in the French magazines, which called it nostalgic and romantic. Cologne Collection includes Lime Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir, Blackberry & Bay, Red Roses and Amber & Lavender, in 9ml spray bottles. Available at Neiman Marcus and jomalone.com. $95.00
Robert Piguet Fracas Little Pink Box
Packaged in what looks like a vintage hat box with a black satin box, Robert Piguet Fracas gift set includes Fracas Eau de Parfum Spray, 1oz and Eau de parfum roll on, .25oz. Available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Selfridges. $65.00
Estée Lauder Private collection tuberose gardenia evening star
Another great option for a white floral lover–a duo of Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia Eau de Parfum Spray 30ml and Eau de Parfum Travel Spray 4ml. This lush tuberose scent is accented with crisp green notes, which give it an effervescent aura. But the drydown is languid and warm, wrapping you like a delicate cashmere veil. Available at Selfridges and Estée Lauder counters. £59.00 ($95.00)
Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile Holiday Set
Guerlain Vétiver set
According to the local Guerlain counter, Vétive de Guerlain is still the best seller for men, and these gift sets have already been sold out since the beginning of the month. For a gentleman who likes classical elegance, Vétiver has few rivals. The set includes Vétiver Eau de Toilette (100ml), Vétiver Shower Gel (75ml), and Vétiver Deodorant (50ml). Available at Selfridges and Guerlain counters. 56 euros
Tom Ford Violet Blonde Collection
Violet Blonde easily goes from morning to evening and that has enough sensuality to play up its refined green violet aura. The Tom Ford Violet Blonde collection includes an Eau de Parfum (1.7 oz.) and Body Moisturizer (5 oz.). A perfect gift for someone who likes understated, elegant florals. Available at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Tom Ford boutiques. $105.00 Tom Ford for Men, Grey Vetiver, and Black Orchid are also offered as gift sets.
Shu Uemura Chocolat Donna Eye Palette
A little bonus for the makeup lovers. When I first saw this palette in the Selfridges’s holiday catalogue, I knew right away that one of my friends will be getting it in her Christmas stocking. This limited edition Mint and Vanilla palette is inspired by a box of chocolates. The case is refillable, and it includes three matte colors in dark brown tones and three shimmer shades–mint, gold and pearl. Like all Japanese makeup brands, Shu Uemura offers excellent quality. The finely milled eyeshadows are easy to apply and layer, and the colors are vibrant and rich. Available at shuuemura-usa.com and Shu Uemura counters. $65.00 (other color selections include Orange-Pistachio and Raspberry-Mocha)
Have you seen any interesting gift ideas in stores? What is on your wishlist this holiday season?
Top photo by Bois de Jasmin