Fragrance Guide | Best of Holiday 2014 Perfumes and Colognes

I just released my epic Holiday Gift Guide + Beauty Catalog, but I wanted to focus specifically on fragrances here because scent is quite personal and demands a little more attention than a photo. Since I love giving and receiving fragrances during the holidays, I wanted to share my my top picks. A new perfume or cologne is the perfect way to kick off a new year, smelling and feeling new!

Some might consider perfume a 'throwaway' easy gift, but make it a personal and thoughtful gift by taking the time to consider the giftee's lifestyle, taste in fashion, and current fragrance wardrobe. I recommend stopping by Nordstrom, where you can whiff away until you can't find your nose any more. I always find the fragrance specialists (especially at Diptyque and Tom Ford) the most helpful when narrowing down my selections.

Now, my skin is exceptionally dry and does not hold scent well, so I try to purchase matching lotions when possible. That is why I rely heavily on Jo Malone. Her body creams are as divine as her colognes! Scents usually lean fresh or powdery on me, so I can wear sweet florals like English Pear and Freesia + Nectarine and Honey Blossom all year round. I, however, recommend Peony and Blush Suede + Pomegranate Noir for chilly winter months. Mix and match for more personality. Nordstrom also has plenty of Jo Malone holiday gift sets that offer value for the buyer and versatility for the user. Plus, Jo Malone's complimentary gift wrapping is so charming! No DIY necessary.

As much as I adore Jo Malone, my go-to scent this Fall/Winter season has been Burberry's My Burberry Eau de Parfum. It captures the fragrance of a London garden after the rain. The packaging is perfection, with an oversized button stopper and trench-inspired bow detailing to mimic the fashion house's jacket. The top notes of sweet pea and bergamot (for once) actually wear true on my skin, but they are not so sweet that they induce a headache. My sense of smell is weak yet highly sensitive and easily irritated, but I can wear My Burberry and truly enjoy every second of it. This won Allure magazine's 2014 award for Best New Scent with good reason!

I highly recommend the Marc Jacobs Daisy family for soft floral scents, and this limited edition Daisy Dream Large Gift Set is just divine! The bottle is breathtakingly whimsical and pretty, so it will melt any young woman's heart. My friends always ooh and ahh over the packaging when they spot it on my perfume tray. Daisy Dream is light and airy, ideal for school/work and day time when subtle scents are more appropriate. If you would rather gift a variety of scents, try this MJ Daisy Rollerball Trio! These are easy to toss into a purse or overnight bag.

For a more elegant take on day time scents that are less floral, I rely on Hermès. I have been wearing Un Jardin Sur le Toit recently, but I also highly recommend my mother's favorite, Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. Sur Le Nil is currently offered in a lovely limited edition Fête en Hermès gift set box with a mini EDT, body milk, and body gel. It is an excellent introduction to Hermès fragrances and will surely please any woman addicted to refreshing scents. I absolutely adore the translucent ombré effect of all the bottles, which look even more irresistible when collected on a mirrored tray!
Now, nothing beats a classic like Chanel's No5 EdP. It is the only perfume that my grandmother will wear, and she has worn it for over thirty years so I always associate a sort of maternal comfort when I catch a whiff of it. Here, however, is where No5 Eau Premiere comes to play! This is the modern, lighter interpretation of the intensely warm, rich original. It is equally lady-like and powdery but does not overwhelm the room so even younger women in their twenties can wear it comfortably. Nordstrom currently offers the No5 Eau Premiere in a Twist and Spray Set (pictured above) that makes on-the-go application a chic ritual!

For the one-of-a-kind personality in your life, try gifting Diptyque's Solid Perfumes. My favorites are Do Son, which is a beautiful feminine tuberose, and L'Ombre Dans L'eau, which has a bit more deep green, musky winter allure. Do Son is an enlightened basic, but I personally think L'Ombre Dans L'eau is a unique and sexy scent for a woman with great confidence. The hefty, intricate metal packaging adds to the luxurious retro experience, and there is no better intimate indulgence than applying these solid perfumes.

If you have special men in your life, I recommend gifting Tom Ford. I adore Tobacco Vanille and Grey Vetiver. Tom Ford's Private Blend Tobacco Vanille is an assertive signature scent with tonka bean, tobacco leaves, cocoa and wood sap — inspired by old-world men's clubs. It can definitely be shared, so splurge for your significant other and treat yourself to it, too! Tobacco Vanille is more memorable during the colder months because the Oriental spiciness warms up the fragrance. A more affordable Tom Ford option is Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum, and it is a fresh, charming yet distinctly masculine scent. The woodsy dry down with a hint of citrus make this one of Tom Ford's most universally pleasing fragrances.

For sporty or fresh scent lovers, I recommend the Gucci Guilty Gift Set (bright lemon) or Dior Homme (spicy grapefruit). Gucci Guilty seems to be well loved by both the young men who wear it and women who sniff it, so I always recommend giving it a try. Dior Homme is relatively new to the realm, but how can you deny that packaging? The bold, urban edge of the glass construction reflects a refinement to the scent that makes Dior Homme worth a second look for men in their thirties and up.

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  1. Great recommendations! I personally love Tobacco Vanille, both on my man and myself.

  2. Hi Rae, just curious if you're a fan of Chanel Bleu and how the Tom Ford scents compare to them? Thanks for this post, I've been looking for a new signature scent with little luck so far. I usually wear Versace Bright Crystal, but I've become nose blind to it, it's starting to just smell like musk to me. Anything you recommend from the above list? Thank you!


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