The festive season is upon us and although we understand the need to make sure your Christmas outfits are perfect, just as important for us is what fragrance to wear. Picking the perfect perfume to accompany you through all the Yo-Ho-Ho! fun can be a lot more rewarding too, your favourite scent won’t strain at the waist when you eat too many roast potatoes or hurt your feet if you go dancing all night long.
Similarly, picking the right scent could help you survive those moments when it all gets too much. Recent research by SIRC* discovered that the daily use of pleasant-smelling colognes significantly improves the mood of middle aged men and women, reducing tension, depression, anger and fatigue. So regular spraying of your favourite scent may help, and if you aren’t mid-life, we bet a regular spritz will still help.
So, here’s our edit of our favourite fragrances to wear this Holiday Season.
Galop D’Hermès By Hermès – stylish, upbeat and elegant.
Not only is this a beautifully fresh and up beat fragrance to spritz throughout the season, it comes in the most charming bottle design we’ve seen for a long time. Galop d’Hermès is the first fragrance from new in-house nose, (the name given to the person who creates the fragrance) Christine Nagel. It’s quite a ‘thing’ that the brand now has a woman in such an esteemed position as the fragrance industry has been rather male dominated in its top-level positions. The stirrup shaped bottle is in homage to the brand’s horse-accessory heritage, with a cute leather lanyard from which to swing it, should you choose (although we don’t advocate swinging it at annoying relatives, please).
We love Galop D’Hermès because it’s so cheerfully stylish (it’s Hermès, after all). It’s impossible not to smile when you detect the sparkly, fruity top notes – quince, since you asked. This is swiftly followed by a real charmer of a sensual rose note, absolutely guaranteed to ease the most fretful of nerves. Then comes the warm leather dry down, lasting on the skin like a reassuring, suede-soft hug of comfort. It’s a very wearable scent for both men and women, and will elevate every outfit, be it the tweeds and leather boots combo for your countryside Boxing Day walk or your best Christmas sweater.
Aquilaria by Nancy Meiland – A smoky, outdoorsy embrace.
This beautiful, smoked-woody perfume from British perfumer Nancy Meiland is one of our top three fragrances of the year for 2016. Nancy is a talented under-the-radar perfumer and Aquilaria would make the perfect companion to your Holiday Season, everyone will compliment you on what you are wearing and few will have heard of the brand, thus asserting your expert perfume knowledge status.
Aquilaria is the name of the tree that oud – one of the most expensive ingredients in fragrance – comes from. Oud is a powerful woody note and not every perfumer uses it with the care it requires. Here, a gentle hint of rich woodiness is combined with a gorgeous bergamot-citrus top note, followed by a sweet, smoky fug of bonfire, roses and vanilla, all combined with a smooth, contemporary hand.
Nancy wanted this scent to feel like a crisp, cold walk in the countryside, with every passing aroma – from wild roses, mossy paths, woody glades and autumnal wood smoke – featuring along the way. Wear it for both day and night, adding a touch of scented glamour to the grocery shopping or spritzing on the insides of our evening coats as we head out to party.
Coach by Coach – energetic, yet reassuringly snugly.
I’m not sure what it is about December that draws us to those warm, textural, leathery scents but they do provide reassuring comfort on those cold, damp days. Christmas can be demanding on a person, we need energy and comfort in equal measures, which is where this Coach fragrance comes in. Coach is having something of a fashion moment, it’s new creative director Stuart Vevers has modernised the brand to must-have level. This new fragrance reflects Coach’s hand bag heritage (think soft suede notes) and the energy of that fashion vibe (pink peppercorns add that up-beat sparkle). The bottle even has a natty handbag-style clasp opening too.
The fragrance is full of can-do spirit, from the gently tangy pear and raspberry top note vibe to the sparky peppercorn uplift, which will keep you going longer than a power smoothy could ever hope to. Once the brightness has cast it’s spell, the warm leathery softness from the dry down spreads a reassuring air of comfort. It’s ideal for when you are in a last minute panic working your way down the gift buying list or wrapping presents in your Santa-printed onesie, a fortifying glass of Pinot Grigio to hand…
Damn Rebel Bitches By Urban Reivers – gloriously determined and full of good cheer.
While the title of this fragrance may alarm some – it’s inspired by the formidable Scottish Jacobean women who rescued their husbands from British imprisonment – the scent itself is delicious and invigorating woody citrus. Urban Reivers is a new fragrance brand and it’s first scent has been created by innovative British nose Sarah McCartney, whose characterful formulations, we’ve discovered, appeal to those who want a modern perfume, free from musty-fusty tradition.
Damn Rebel Bitches has a rich, citrus-fresh opening of blood orange – slightly darker and more caramel than your average festive clementine – with a herby, bright edge, that could come from a morning walk in the garden or, if you’re lucky, a chilled sunny hike across inspiring moorland. There’s a warm nibbly-nut undertone (hazelnuts) and a hint of booze to fortify flagging spirits. It is both uplifting (from yet more peppery notes) and embracing (the sweet malty fug) in equal measures.
There’s an undeniable feminist angle to Damn Rebel Bitches, which memorialises ‘heroic, unapologetic and passionate women’ from history, according to the brand. However, strip away the story and this becomes a scent that is modern and youthful and very much free of gender. We know plenty of teenage boys who love it. Wear proudly, and with attitude.
*SIRC Social Issues Research Centre, based in Oxford.
Our beautiful images are by Richard Foster Studios for We Wear Perfume. Re touching by Jon Gibson Skinner.