GIFT GUIDE: 17 Fragrances (And Scented Stuff) For All The People In Your Life

All I want for Christmas is for you to smell really good.
IMAGE Louis Vuitton

Hey, guess what? We're about five weeks away from Christmas! That can either make you feel season-appropriate levels of joy, or, if you haven't started shopping for presents yet, low levels of panic. So we're bringing out the big guns: perfumes, the always-pleasing, non-disappointing gift to give. Behold, the results of a numb nose and one big headache, our super list of scented stocking stuffers.  

For People Who Like To Smell Different

For Individualists: Hermessence Santal Massoïa

Insider tip: Always head to the source, the Hermès boutique, where the Hermessence Collection is solely available. The best way to describe these scents by legendary perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena is that they are highly individual. Santal Massoïa is a particularly good choice. Ellena says there are “...pungent hints of resin and dried fruit, and familiar smells of dulce de leche and flowers.” He got us at milky sweets. Other Hermessence to check out include Epice Marine (safer) and Vanille Galante (adventurous). We personally think Galante smells like cat sweat, but only in a good way! Enthusiastic reviewers have described it as smoky, boozy, woody, or fishy. Your mileage may vary. Greenbelt 3 


For Francophiles: Louis Vuitton Dans la Peau

If you haven't heard, Louis Vuitton has taken the leap into the world of perfumery, and among its seven scents, Dans la Peau is a standout. Continuing our animal metaphors, we're going to say that this smells like the most delicious bovine, because it really is formulated with the scent of cow leather. Master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud inquired about the fate of leftover leathers and so Vuitton sent them over to his workshop in Grasse. The result is this animalistic scent infused with two kinds of jasmine, narcissus, and magnolia. Louis Vuitton describes Dans la Peau (translates to “in the skin”) as “boldly erotic.” You can also purchase a fragrance travel case for this—because why not? Greenbelt 4 

For The Elegant: Ermengildo Zegna Italian Bergamot

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Zegna has been busy with their new Elements of Man fragrances, but this OG one, from the outstanding Essenze Collection, remains a top choice. Put this on when you are attending something fancy. Or just want to feel fancy. In short, this mix of bergamot, neroli, rosemary, and vetiver is the olfactory expression of formal and expensive. Rustan's 

For The Bold: Bleu de Chanel

Because this is unmistakable and a crowd pleaser (also a lady killer), Bleu is what you choose if you want to cultivate a signature scent. Wear it every day of the week, and your associates will soon associate the double punch of clean citrus and earthy incense with your presence. A warning: A little goes a long way. Rustan's 

For The Intense: Bulgari Man In Black


A potent man like, say, your dad needs a potent flanker. This is a blast of rum, spices, and tobacco—in other words, it's undoubtably masculine. Men who wear this are either boardroom overlords who tear down business empires or lumberjacks. New versions of Bulgari Man are born each year, but we always come back to this.  

For The Quietly Complex: Jo Malone Incense and Cedrat

Jo Malone scents have a smell-me-up-close quality about them (as in, they invite hugging or are best for hugging). If you are gifting for a man, the darkly flavored Incense and Cedrat is a good bet. For a woman, the fall-appropriate English Oaks are recommended (though these are suitable for men, too).  Jos are stackable, and that is maybe why they feel sheer. Discovering the alchemy of different scents put together is the bonus, which your friends, if they're into personalization, will appreciate. We always ask lifestyle director Debbie Wild about the correct amount of fragrance to put on, and she always answers by spraying multiple pumps on herself. Lesson here: You can never have too much. Greenbelt 5 


For The Impishly Young: Twilly d'Hermès

Conceptually, Twilly is described as a young woman who has taken her mother's dress (presumably also Hermès) and cut it to suit her. In other words, this feels younger and also impulsive. The lantern-shaped bottle holds a mix of ginger, sandalwood, and tuberose (the sensual flavor of that last ingredient is known to drive men crazy). The ribbon-tie is one of a kind, too, but you can't take it off the bottle! Pro tip: The baby 30ml version is most perfect for gifting. Greenbelt 3 

For People Who Like Smells But Not Perfume

For Hands: Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin Soap


We are not a big fan of perfumed soaps, but Jo Malone made us rethink this. Rubbing their signature scent in bubbly solid form on the skin is indulgent. It's as if you have been whisked away to a spa, but you're just in your tiny bathroom and you're doing all the work yourself. We'd break this out after a stressful week or before a stressful week—okay, all the time. Greenbelt 5 

For Bedrooms: Gucci Scented Candle

Okay, wow. Take a moment to observe the print on this porcelain candle holder from Gucci's homeware collection. There are other designs available, but somehow the evil eye with baby hand speak to us the most. Formulated by creative director Alessandro Michelle, the candles come in four scents, with Fumus (birch, orange leaves, beeswax) feeling the most intriguing. Greenbelt 4 

For Bodies: Bench Coffee And Honey Crème Oil


This under-P200 steal feels slippy. That's a weird word, but it's the best way to describe the unique texture that will make even the most lotion-averse men want to rub this all over. Sinks into skin easily and does not leave a greasy feeling. Bench stores 

For (Vegan) Baths: Lush Snowcloud Soap

If you have a boatload of people on your gift list (why do you have so many friends?), Lush is a good resource, because they have so much stuff. This year, they're all about getting naked, as in ridding their soaps, bath bombs, shower gels, and more of packaging. We tried the vegan soap, Snowcloud, which has a potent milky quality that can fill your bathroom with scent long after your bath. It's very moisturizing, leading you to rub-a-dub-dub more often. Another reason to get this is that shape: a summer cloud. Glorietta 4  

Lightning Round: More Perfumes That Are Available Now 

Garden Memories: Dunhill Icon Racing


It is very, very tempting to get this just for the bottle—a dappled cylinder in racing green—but we must consider the potion inside, which is also, uh, green. Grapefruit, bergamot, lavender, and vetiver remind you of driving through the British countryside in a top-down convertible (even if you haven't been there). Rustan's 

Everyday Scent No. 1: Boss Bottled Tonic


This is an easy-to-wear scent that will not offend anyone. Which is exactly what you would expect from its combination of citrus, apple, and ginger. Zesty and then sharp. Rustan's  

Everyday Scent No. 2: Uomo Salvatore Ferragamo Casual Life

If you're not a fan of the sweet tiramisu feel of the original Uomo (we actually liked that one), this new iteration will please you. The yummy boozy note has been tamped down in favor of more citrus and coffee. 

Everyday Scent No. 3: Issey Miyake Nuit d'Issey Bleu Astral


From the very cool name, you may infer that this is about skinny dipping in the ocean with a star-littered night sky as background. Actually, Astral is lime, coriander, and amber wood, all of which translates to pleasant and fresh. Maybe it's not as romantic as you imagined, but it's unobjectionable for every day.  

Petal Swerve No. 1: Gucci Bloom

Let us take in Gucci creative director Alessandro Michelle's perfect description of Bloom: “I wanted a rich white floral fragrance, a courageous scent that transports you to a vast garden filled with many flowers and plants, a bouquet of abundance. The garden is as beautiful as women are...” Rustan's 

Petal Swerve No. 2: Kenzo World 


Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian designed this fragrance as a bloomin' explosion of peony and jasmine with the added kick of a secret ingredient, ambroxan.  That “...acts like the fog, when the mist blurs the contours of things all around, and we only recognize their hazy outline.” You can also forget all of this information and just get Kenzo World for its mesmerizing eye. Rustan's 

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Clifford Olanday
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