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Our Edit of The Best Fragrant Gifts this Festive Season

2017 has been a wonderful year for perfume, with many new independent brands launching gorgeous collections. These fragrances are not just beautiful constructions, but also richly innovative in their use of ingredients and story telling, creating unisex scents that are exciting to wear.

At our most recent Scent Salon*, we selected a few stand out fragrances we think would make perfect presents, (thank you Olympic Studios Members Club for hosting us!). Helpfully, we found most of the brands we’d selected had produced well priced discovery boxes, which are not just a great way to sample the whole range on or off line, but also make excellent stocking fillers.

Here’s our edit, we hope you’ll find some gifting (and self gifting) ideas either as full size bottles or as part of a discovery box set.

4160 Tuesdays, Our Modern Lives Sunset – for those who like their scents natural and mindful.

The deliciously warm, winter citrus Sunset, from the new Our Modern Lives collection (part of the 4160 Tuesdays portfolio) is a 100% natural perfume by talented Indie perfumers, Sarah McCartney. Sarah created OML after customer requests for fragrances that would help them cope with today’s stresses and anxieties, so all seven of the natural fragrances have wellness benefits as well as smelling wonderful.

Our pick is Sunset, a soft burst of blood orange and neroli on first spritz, which builds into a gentle sparkle of rose geranium and honeyed warmth at its heart. Cocoa and vanilla add notes of comfort and familiarity and the whole evokes a feeling of peace and serenity. I could imagine using this at the end of a busy day, to distinguish between work and play, or busy and calm. A grounding and serene moment in time wrapped up in a perfume bottle. The pretty selection pack of all seven fragrances would also make a lovely gift.

Gallivant London – for travellers and urban nomads

Nick Steward, founder of Gallivant, wanted to create a set of scents ‘for urban explorers’ who – like him – enjoyed the emotional adventure of travel. He loves to walk around new cities to absorb the style, the architecture and the atmosphere, as well as noting the distinct ‘scent’ of a place. All this inspired his small but perfectly formed collection, which is also travel-friendly, as each 30ml bottle is safe to pack in carry-on luggage. So if you’re buying for someone who lives in or loves London, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Istanbul, Brooklyn or Amsterdam, then this is for you. The very well priced discovery box is a perfect entry point..

We’ve selected London, because it’s our home city, and we love its use of greenish violet leaves, soft rose and leather, which create a distinctly unisex and very modern scent. We could see it being worn equally well by some sharp-suited city dude or a Vetements-wearing creative. At our Scent Salon, we actually sold out of Tel Aviv, a gloriously sunny, jasmine floral with bright notes of blackcurrent and clementine that we were all intoxicated by.

Jusbox Feather Supreme – for music fans, whatever the genre.

The music-based concept of Jusbox, where different genres of music and the emotions they create are linked to scent, worked well with our surroundings at The Olympic Studios, once the go-to place for recording artists. For example, you may listen to reggae to chill you out, or disco to pick you up, similarly you might inhale lavender oil to calm you down or rosemary to make your brain sharper. Jusbox’s collection combines the two concepts and allows you to wear a fragrance that makes you smell as good as the music makes you feel. This strikes us as a clever way to pick a scent for a music fan, particularly as a gift (there is a wonderful discovery box). And did we mention the exquisite, vinyl inspired bottle, with its album shaped cap and label?

Being big Aretha Franklin fans, we’re hooked on Feather Supreme,  a softly textural scent inspired by Aretha’s strength and her mastery of music, from gospel to R&B, from jazz to upbeat pop. It starts with a gentle hint of apple over a floral heart of jasmine, tuberose and ylang ylang, which really does feel like a feathery dance of strength and style. warming to a sensual patchouli and musk base. A cracking good time in a bottle.

Paul Schutze Behind The Rain – for creatives and artists

The multi media artist Paul Schutze brings a creative, left-of-field approach to scent construction that has given us some of our favourite fragrances of this year. He moved into fragrance after creating a scented art installation that was much admired and allowed him license to delve into a new medium where he could further engage emotions through his artistic storytelling.

Behind The Rain, is the atmosphere of a pebbled, Aegean beach just after a gigantic thunderstorm, at that moment when the sun emerges again and warms the damp shoreline. it’s the burst of crushed herby aromas from the plants on the coastal path that merge with pine cones, hot sea and the endless sunny euphoria that results in a ‘let’s chuck in the day job and move here forever’ moment. Again the chic discovery box, which features three 7.5 ml bottles, is extremely covetable.

Evody Onde 7 –  for festive dreamers

If there was ever a fragrance that summed up the sensuous, good-time feel of the festive season, it is the gorgeous Onde 7 by Evody. Created by Paris based, mother and daughter duo Regine Droin and Cerine Vasseur, the scent is inspired by the Ancient Egyptians and their unabashed love of scenting everything with Kyphi, a delicious mix of spiced and resinous scent oils.

On first spritz there’s a warm fug of cinnamon, beeswax and honey, uplifted by a fresh ginger note, which then give way to a sensuous stroke of floral narcissus. If you haven’t fallen hard in love with it at this point, along comes a comforting coffee-and-vanilla tonka bean note, layered over an elegant and hardly there patchouli and sandalwood base. It’s all soft curves and silky textures and perfect for either wrapping up in your cashmere sweater with, or misting over your most fabulous party outfit.

*Our Scent Salons are a relaxing, enjoyable way to discover and buy beautiful fragrances, do let us know if you’d like to attend in the future.

All images by the super talented Kate Anglestein.

The amazingly high-end, image retouching by Jon Gibson Skinner