Shopping: 16 posts

Is it Safe to Buy Perfume from Online Discounters?

Even if you live in a city with lots of perfume shopping options, sooner or later you discover that buying fragrance online can be simpler and cheaper. You google the name of your favorite scent, and lo and behold, it’s offered on Ebay, strawberry.net or fragrancenet for considerably less than at a brick & mortal retailer. Moreover, the choice is vast, from popular best-sellers like Hugo Boss to niche stars like Serge Lutens. The only question, is it safe to make a purchase?

joy

The answer is no, it’s not 100% safe, but the level of risk varies. The list of aforementioned sites can be expanded to include dozens of others, and while they have different standards and selling angles, most of them are not authorized retailers for the brands they carry.  What they offer is grey market inventory, which includes goods that are imported from abroad and sold outside of the manufacturer’s official channels of distribution.

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Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Soaps and Creams

For this holiday gift guide, I decided to put together some of my favorite scented body products and some fun accessories. I also wanted for all selections to be under $50. Despite what beauty magazines tell you, you can really score some great, quality products on a budget. The second part of my holiday guide includes interesting finds like soap made with real sandalwood, luscious looking powder puffs and orange blossom scented skincare for men.

soap incense etc

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

Rosewater or Orange Blossom Water

As a scented gift for someone who also enjoys cooking, floral waters are unbeatable. They are available at gourmet food stores, Iranian, Indian and Middle Eastern shops and Whole Foods. $5-15, depending on the brand. If your gift recipient is new to floral waters, including a note with some of your favorite ways to use them would be a nice touch. You can find extra ideas here: 10 Ways to Use Rosewater and 10 Ways to Use Orange Blossom Water.

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Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

And so December begins. The selection of holiday sets and packages at stores and online is downright overwhelming, and I don’t pretend to offer you a comprehensive guide. It’s only a collection of my favorite things, gifts I’ve given before to friends and family (and the ones they’ve enjoyed) and whatever I have seen and liked myself. Today the spotlight is on perfume sets.

perfume set

Giving perfume as gifts is tricky, but if you decide to introduce a friend to fragrance, a set of mini bottles or samples is perfect. One gift idea is to make your own decants and package them in spray atomizers. Clear, well-attached labels and a quality atomizer are a must, but the rest is easy–a colorful box, a few notes describing perfumes, and a ribbon. If you would rather go with commercial sets, below are a few ideas for both men and women.

Another gift idea is a set of perfume and lotion, a good idea if you know a fragrance your gift recipient wears. The only problem is that many luxury brands’ body products are a disappointment. A big price tag won’t guarantee a quality lotion or a moisturizing cream or that they would even smell close to the original perfume. I include a few favorites that I found well done, but in all cases, I recommend sampling the body products at store.

Two exceptions aside, all sets are under $100. While I include a few suggestions on where to find them online, the list is far from exhaustive.

L’Artisan Parfumeur  The Perfume Box

l'artisan samples

L’Artisan always does excellent holiday sets, and this selection of 10 samples is terrific and well-priced. $20 gets you and your lucky gift recipient 10 x 2 ml vials of Batucada Eau de Toilette, Caligna Eau de Parfum, La Chasse Aux Papillonsr Eau de Toilette, L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme Eau de Parfum, Fou D’Absinthe Eau de Parfum, Mure Et Musc Extreme Eau de Parfum, Nuit De Tubereuse Eau de Parfum, Premier Figuier Eau de Toilette, Seville a L’Aube Eau de Parfum, and Timbuktu Eau de Parfum. $20. Available at Luckyscent, Aedes, Barneys and major department stores.

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The Simple Art of Dreaming

One of many reasons why I’m captivated by scents is their ability to take me out of the ordinary and into the world of fantasies. They inspire me to dream, but because a perfume is a story with a set of characters, plot twists and backdrop changes, there is always a sense of discovery. In this spirit of discovery, if you have 10 minutes, I would like to invite you on a short animated journey with “Hedgehog in the Fog”.

Why this film and what does it have to do with perfume? At first glance, little, but its themes of curiosity, adventure, and discovery, its lyrical atmosphere, and its fascinating characters plunge me into the same dreamy state as the best perfumes. Hedgehog in the Fog, created by Yuriy Norshteyn in 1975, is also a must see because it’s an animation masterpiece, cited by renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki and director Michel Gondry as one of their favorites.

I won’t tell you the story, which is very simple, but every second of this 10 minute film is exquisite, supported by incredible drawing, muted colors, and a haunting soundtrack. It was made for children, but it’s really a little philosophical tale for adults.

“‘I wonder,’ thought hedgehog, ‘if the horse falls asleep, will it drown in the fog?’ And he started descending into the fog to see what it was like inside.”

Holiday Gifts Ideas from French Magazines

It’s time for my gifts lists inspired by French magazines and Belgian stores. Christmas decorations are going up around Avenue Louise, Brussels’s version of Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and the boutiques are receiving their seasonal gift sets. I’m rarely tempted by the matching scented creams and shower gels, but the presentations are so irresistible that it’s hard to walk past the perfume shop window without taking a quick peak inside.

galerieslafayette

My list reflects things that I like to give and would love to receive. If you would like to introduce someone to fragrance and know a bit about their tastes, discovery kits are excellent options, and there are several choices below. Another criterion for including the sets is the high-quality matching products. All too often the body lotions and creams are of mediocre quality in comparison to the perfume and needless to say, such sets don’t make the cut.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • OnWingsofSaffron in Recommend Me a Perfume : March 2020: Oh, I have no qualms whatsoever. I bought the product, it’s mine; it’s not a unique treasure that you’ll spoil forever for wo/mankind; the end-result is better sometimes. For instance,… April 1, 2020 at 1:05pm

  • OnWingsofSaffron in Recommend Me a Perfume : March 2020: I’m not sure whether it’ still available: “Peau de Pêche” by Keiko Mecheri. I thought it was quite wonderful, more peach skin than the fruit. And quite elegant too! For… April 1, 2020 at 12:55pm

  • OnWingsofSaffron in Recommend Me a Perfume : March 2020: As Sebastian mentions: Hiram Green‘ Slowdive. I find it absolutely sumptious with a long, delicious drydown—Slowdive indeed! April 1, 2020 at 12:46pm

  • Maria in Recommend Me a Perfume : March 2020: Summer favorite when I don’t want to offend anyone is Shalimar with Goutal Eau d’Hadrien (I was so proud to see that Jean-Claude Ellena recommends it, too, while I was… April 1, 2020 at 9:57am

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