Fragrant Gift Ideas for the Holidays

For my gift guide this year I decided to focus on fragrant selections to satisfy all the senses, such as spices, Japanese fruit, bath oils, Persian cookies and perfumery kits. I narrowed down my choices to my favorite online shops, including options for those who live in Europe and the USA. My readers often ask me for my scented recommendations, and this guide includes many things I enjoy.

Mala Market Starter Sichuan Collection

Mala Market is a US-based online shop selling Sichuan ingredients. Outside of China, it’s hard to find another better source for fragrant Sichuan pepper or dried chilies. The Starter Sichuan Collection makes a great gift for those who like cooking, and it includes: premium da hong pao Sichuan pepper, facing heaven zi dan tou dried chilies, fragrant hot ground chilies (chili flakes), handcrafted Pixian chili bean paste, Yibin yacai (a mustard-stem pickle used in many Sichuan dishes,) and recipe cards for chili oil, dan dan noodles, gong bao (kung pao) chicken, mapo tofu and dry-fried green beans. $60

Another gift idea is Mala Market’s selection of green and red Sichuan peppercorns. They are large and so wonderfully scented that you will be wishing for a perfume with the same notes.

Available at: Mala Market. Ships worldwide, but the international shipping charges are expensive.

Nishikidori Yuzu Addict Gift Box

Nishikidori is based in France and offers premium ingredients for Japanese cooking. Their Yuzu addict Gift box features the winter Japanese citrus fruit in different forms. Its scent is floral and spicy, with a piney twist. The box includes a Yuzu drink, Yellow Yuzu Kosho condiment, Yuzu flavored roasted sesame seeds, candied Yuzu peel in syrup, Yuzu juice, and Yuzu somen noodles.  A great way to enjoy the scent of yuzu in many different ways. €49.95.

Available at Nishikidori. Shipping in Europe.

Épices Rœllinger Poudre des Bulgares

Chef Olivier Roellinger collaborated with perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena on the creation of Hermès Épice Marine. When you smell his spice blends, you can understand that he has a perfumer’s sensibility. His blends have complexity and depth, and they lend themselves to experiments in the kitchen. Any of his mixes would be a good gift, but my favorite is Poudre des Bulgares, a vanilla and rose-scented powder that makes an ordinary bowl of yogurt into an exquisite dessert. 100g, 8,10 €.

Available at Épices Rœllinger. Ships worldwide. In case you can’t get Mala Market’s Sichuan pepper, Roellinger’s is also very good.

Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath and Shower Oil Collection

A collection of aromatherapy blends for a luxurious bath experience. The selection features Deep Relax, Light Relax, De-Stress Mind, De-Stress Muscle, Revive Morning, Revive Evening, Support Breathe, Lavender and Peppermint, Support Equilibrium, Inner Strength. You can use these oils in the bath or put a few drops into the palm of your hand and rub them into skin while in the shower. The scents are natural and rich, with enough variety. €86/$99.

Available at Necessities, an Antwerp-based store or at Eskinstore in the US. Depending on your location, you might find different options, so I recommend searching online for a retailer near you.

Kusmi Tea Green Rose

An elegant blend of green tea scented with roses, Kusmi’s Green Rose is beautifully balanced and has a lingering floral aftertaste. While green tea is difficult to perfume with roses without its own delicate flavor being drowned out, this combination is successful. It also makes a delicious iced tea.

Available at Kusmi Tea.

Palais des Thés Les Perles de Jasmin or Le Grand Jasmin Chun Feng

Les Perles de Jasmin is my favorite jasmine tea for its rich scent. Unfortunately, it’s often out of stock, in which case my other recommendation is Le Grand Jasmin Chun Feng. Opulent, layered and complex. A tea to drink while reading poetry.

Available at Palais des Thés. You can also watch a film about the way jasmine pearls are made.

ZoZoBaking Persian Cookies

The first time I tried ZoZoBaking’s macarons and rice cookies, I thought that I was back in Yazd. The pastry chef Fariba Nafissi recreates the flavors of her homeland in her California pastry shop and regales us with Persian delights. Included in the box are chocolate Kolompeh, pistachio cardamom cookies, rice cookies, cinnamon cookies, coconut cookies, ginger cookies, Persian macarons, Marzipan, and chickpea cookies. 250g, $35.

Available at ZoZoBaking, along with many other delicious choices. The website ships internationally, but the pastries are delivered only within the US. ZoZoBaking also has a blog with recipes, in case you yearn for a taste of her cookies but can’t obtain them.

Perfumer’s Apprentice Kit

Perfumer’s Apprentice offers many different kits, but the Natural Perfumery Beginner’s Kit is both comprehensive and affordable at $65 for 15 essential oils and absolutes. The kit contains Bergamot (Bergaptene Free) Essential Oil, Cedarwood (Virginia) Essential Oil, Clary Sage Oil, Geranium Oil, Lavender Maillette, Lime Essential Oil, Oakmoss Absolute 10%, Orange Bitter Essential Oil, Patchouli Essential Oil, Peru Balsam Oil, Rosewood (Bois de Rose) Essential Oil, Tarragon Essential Oil, Tonka Bean Absolute 50%, Vetiver Essential Oil, Ylang Complete (Nosy Be) Essential Oil. You can compose a wide variety of accords with this selection. There are also perfumery supplies in the kit such as carrier oil, scent strips, pipettes, and bottles. It was created to be used alongside Mandy Aftel’s Essence and Alchemy, so this book would make a nice gift.

Available at Perfumer’s Apprentice Kit. Ships worldwide.

What gift would you like to receive? Or what fragrant gifts are you planning this year for your friends and family?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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28 Comments

  • Nancy Chan: May I also add to your list Olverum bath oil? The citrussy- menthol like scent from the essential oils will relax and makes for drifting off in the land of nod in no time at all. It is also available as a bath salt, in the same scent, with a slight earthinesss to it.

    Aromatherapy Associates oils are great, and their packaging beautiful. December 16, 2022 at 9:58am Reply

    • Victoria: They also have a smaller box, I think. Either way, they make great gifts. December 17, 2022 at 11:42am Reply

      • Nancy Chan: I started off with the 15ml trio travel size bath oils. The scent is so relaxing and warming, good enough to upgrade to the 125ml bottle.

        On my wishlist, is Forest Essentials Rose soaps and Nargis soaps. There is now a Forest Essentials shop in Covent Garden, London. December 17, 2022 at 5:38pm Reply

        • Silvermoon: Hello Nancy,

          I still use the AA rose shower oil you recommended a couple of years ago. I have the gift set from them which I got last year at Christmas. It’s specifically good for those who take baths or night showers. I don’t do either often (I am a morning shower person), so working my way gradually through it.

          I have mentioned the Forest Essentials here some years ago when I discovered them on a trip to India (pre COVID). I really love the Nargis soap as well as the Bengal Tuberose. Others are beautiful too. Victoria, I think wrote about their Vetiver facial mist some years ago. It’s wonderfully refreshing in the summer. December 18, 2022 at 6:19am Reply

          • Nancy Chan: Hello Silvermoon, I’m glad you enjoy the Aromatherapy Associates shower oils.

            Yes, I remembered Forest Essentials was mentioned here on Bois de Jasmin. This is where I first heard of this brand.
            The Rose and Nargis soap smell amazing. It is now on my list of products to try. December 18, 2022 at 10:18am Reply

        • Victoria: How lucky! I really like this brand, but it’s difficult to find here. December 20, 2022 at 4:12am Reply

          • Nancy Chan: Next time when you visit London, please visit the shop. The products are beautiful. December 20, 2022 at 4:40am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I love Perles de Jasmin tea also! December 16, 2022 at 10:06am Reply

    • Victoria: I want a perfume that smells like that. December 17, 2022 at 11:42am Reply

  • Hera: What a great list , thank you!
    I would be happy to receive any of these great recommendations.
    I would add Rose and Lavender syrup and a spice set from Quebec at Gourmet Sauvage . December 16, 2022 at 10:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Hera. The combination of lavender and rose sounds wonderful. December 17, 2022 at 11:43am Reply

    • Tara C: Thanks for mentioning that Hera, I’ll go check it out at Jean Talon market. December 19, 2022 at 9:44pm Reply

  • Emily: What an enticing list! Unfortunately I want it all for myself now.

    To add to the spice list, year I’ve become obsessively enamored of https://www.burlapandbarrel.com/

    Gathered from smallholder farms from all over the globe. Fair warning, the black pepper alone may ruin you for all other pepper. December 16, 2022 at 10:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for a great recommendation. December 17, 2022 at 11:43am Reply

  • Natalie: This is off topic Victoria, but I remember you sharing your fondness for mimosa flowers. L’Artisan Parfumeur has a new perfume called Soleil de Provence, which is as they described, “an homage to the mimosa flower and its bright yellow colour that guides the road stretching from Bormes le Mimosas to Grasse”. I bought a sample from their website which I can’t wait to try. It sounds lovely. December 16, 2022 at 11:30am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m going to look for that sample. Thank you very much, Natalie. December 17, 2022 at 11:44am Reply

  • Damiana: What a wonderful list, Victoria! For anyone living in the U.S., I highly recommend HENNY FAIR Co., owned by a talented independent perfumer who sells her own fragrance line. The online store also includes a section called The Botanist’s Cupboard, which sells jams, butters, spreads, chocolates, and teas flavored with floral essences, spices, and herbs. There’s also a nice selection of books! https://hennyfaire.com/ December 16, 2022 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much. It looks very interesting. December 17, 2022 at 11:44am Reply

  • Gabriela: Great list. What a pitty shipping costs 25 euros for the Epices Roellinger, I already had the cart ready!

    The idea of giving spices is wonderful, thank you! December 16, 2022 at 2:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Their spices are wonderful, but 25 euros is too much. December 17, 2022 at 11:46am Reply

  • Sandra: I bought Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath and Shower Oil Collection after reading your post, a gift for a friend.
    I have never heard of this brand! Hope she enjoys it. December 16, 2022 at 7:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s an excellent brand, and I’m sure your friend will enjoy it. December 17, 2022 at 11:47am Reply

  • Aurora: What a great and original list.

    I would like to recommend Bleu Provence website for everything lavender, including biscuits. Their eo of lavande fine organic is wonderful, distilled on site. But I’m not sure they ship to the US. December 17, 2022 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, I will check their website. December 20, 2022 at 4:05am Reply

  • mziani: Love the Mala Market recommendation – they have so many wonderful products!
    Wanted to also recommend Diaspora Co. for some of the most flavorful and fresh spices I have ever encountered. It’s a small selection that is particularly suited to Indo-Pak cuisines and the owner works with small family farms throughout India to source gorgeously fragrant varieties. Not sure about international shipping, the company is based out of the US. December 17, 2022 at 10:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for a recommendation! December 20, 2022 at 4:13am Reply

  • Silvermoon: Lovely list of suggestions. Thanks, Victoria.

    A gentle/soft and beautiful spice laden perfume with a seasonal feel is Noire Epices (F Malle collection). December 18, 2022 at 6:27am Reply

    • Victoria: A perfect seasonal choice. December 20, 2022 at 4:14am Reply

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