Let’s suppose, entirely hypothetically of course, that you haven’t yet chosen a gift for your sister, mother, partner or spouse. I know, the very idea. But you might be tempted, if you were that person, to hurriedly settle for the first designer perfume that doesn’t make you heave. Put the bottle down. You can be more creative with scent. Jo Loves’ Fragrance Paintbrushes (£40, 18ml) appeal to my inner stationery nerd. The scented gel is simply and satisfyingly painted on the skin, dries almost instantly and makes itself known for a good four hours. Green Orange & Coriander is my favourite, and manages to be suitably festive while remaining eminently wearable come summer, while Pomelo (grapefruity) has more universal appeal.
Tom Ford has steeped his musky, wearable Soleil Neige fragrance (think hot skin in cold weather) and tiny shimmering platinum flecks in a softening but light body oil (£72, 100ml). The effect is glowy and sexy on limbs and clavicles, and the scent lingers for far longer than I’d expected. For those with skin that reacts badly to a direct dab of scent (surprisingly common), Gucci’s Bloom Hair Mist For Her (£38, 30ml) imparts the same scent as the original, much-adored white flower bouquet, without drying hair.
Chanel has decanted its rightly iconic No5 into a lipstick-tube-sized refill spray (£66, 3x7ml), resulting in something very beautiful, chic and highly practical. Mine lives in my makeup bag and, so far, I’ve avoided sleepily spraying it on my mouth. Solid perfume is another useful space saver, and ideal for tossing into a handbag or holdall without worrying about breakage. Jo Malone’s extremely covetable Fragrance Combining Palette (£24) is the most impressive. The sturdy black metal compact slides into two – each half housing one of 10 of the brand’s bestsellers (£14 each), including Blackberry & Bay (my personal favourite) and Mimosa & Cardamom (the smell of my wedding), to be worn alone or layered as one (to beautiful effect, as it turns out).
I was initially appalled by DS & Durga’s Auto Fragrances, since I’ve always felt air freshener to be worse than anything it’s attempting to mask, with car fresheners their most gag-inducing incarnation. But trust me when I say these swinging tags (£10), are gentle and refined. The woody, wintry Portable Fireplace is a reminder, not of sickly, ciggy, 70s summer traffic jams, but of a cosy, classy, hunkery Christmas.
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