Fragrances as Gifts


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So the Christmas season is beating down on us and for those of you who celebrate it and know someone who’d enjoy getting a bottle of perfume might be wondering what kind of fragrances could make a good present. Whether it’s for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or a Birthday, perfume is often trotted out as one of the more popular options for gifts for both men and women. I’ve been asked several times for fragrance recommendations for people that I don’t know or have never met. The exchange usually goes something like this:

Well Meaning Individual: Hey Kay, you’re good with the perfumes. I want to buy one for my mom/wife/sister/friend/husband/father, which one should I get?

Me: I don’t know. What do they like?

Well Meaning Individual: . . . Something floral, but not too floral? Maybe clean but sexy? Something spicy but nothing with cinnamon or cloves in it. Oh yeah, something classy but young. Sweet but without vanilla. Oh yeah and nothing with jasmine or rose. Something not too heavy but will last the whole day. Oh and she/he hates musk. Nothing with musk in it. And I need it to be under $20. You know what? I don’t really know what she/he likes.

Me: . . .

The moral of the story is, don’t get your significant other a perfume without a clear idea of what they like in a fragrance first. Every year there is a torrent of tears and wrinkled noses as well meaning individuals hear other well meaning individuals like perfume and go out to purchase a fragrance without a clear understanding of what their intended likes in a fragrance. And year after year there’s cries of, “Oh God, this stinks!” Or, more likely, “I got a perfume for Christmas that I don’t like, can I exchange it?”

Now, you don’t have to go through the song and dance of lining up at the exchange counter. Instead of blind buying a fragrance (something no one should do), try getting your giftee a sampler pack. Sephora and a few other retailers (Shopper’s Drug Mart, if you live in Canada has a couple of these sample packs) have come up with a rather ingenious way to sell fragrances.

Basically the consumer goes to the store and picks up a perfume sampler pack that might contain 9 – 12 fragrance samples of the store’s top selling perfumes. They wrap that sucker up and give it to their giftee. Giftee opens it up and can sample from all the different fragrances in the pack and decide which one they like best. There is a voucher included in the pack they can take back to the store to exchange for a full sized bottle of perfume. And that’s how you deal with the person who likes perfume but doesn’t really know what they like.

Sephora sells a variety of fragrance sampler packs for men’s fragrances and women’s fragrances. Take a look on their site for more information.

This sampler pack business is all fine and dandy but the best way to get a fragrance your giftee will like is to find out what they actually enjoy. Don’t go buy what you like to smell as many people have discovered that pitfall when Judy wanted a bottle of Viva la Juicy and John bought her Santal de Mysore.

Granted, if someone bought me a bottle of Santal de Mysore, I wouldn’t complain at all!

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