Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Art of Giving Fragrant Gifts

One of the most fun things about the Holiday Season is matching gifts to the people I love. And of course, I want to give them something that I love too, something that I would be excited to receive as much as I am to give… This can make for an interesting outcome, and not necessarily the desired effect. We tend to want to give people things that they will enjoy, but also, something that we like and will be proud of giving and be remembered by. And so, as a shameless and hopeless perfume lover, nothing pleases me more than finding fragrant gifts for my friends and family.

However, this is not an easy task. Scents are very personal, some love certain scents and some hate them with a passion. This gets particularly complicated with more complex scents that can trigger a wide range of emotions, from ecstatic pleasure, through all degrees of ambivalence and all the way to profound repulsion. So you got to be careful! You don’t want to give someone a scent that reminds them of their ex-boyfriend or dying grandmother. This might make them sad or upset them. On the other hand, this is unavoidable in some cases, unless you know the person really, really, and I mean REALLY well. The following are a few tips for scent-giving.

Give a person a new scent only if you know them really well. You’ll need your intuition (more on this later), but also there are a few pieces of information that can be helpful:

Which perfumes is s/he wearing at the moment?
If you know which fragrances s/he likes already, you will be able to pick something similar. Do you notice a similarity or a connection between the scents? If you don’t you can search online and gather information about the scent – which family does it belong to (oriental, chypre, floral, citrus, etc.)? Which notes are in it? You may be reminded of other scents that you noticed your friend liked when you look at those notes. I recommend these two sites for getting information about perfume notes:
Perfume Addict Database
Basenotes Directory

Which foods and/or beverages does s/he likes?
Taste and smell are closely connected. In fact, there is very little to be experienced in food without our noses’ capability to discern the different subtle aromas. Taste is limited to only 5 possibilities (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami) while there are thousands of aromas perceived by humans which affect profoundly the way we perceive what we put in our mouths. If a person hates cinnamon in their food, most likely they will hate it in a perfume too. On the other hand, if they love certain aromas in their food, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will want to their body to smell like this all day long. But this would still be a good starting point for getting some ideas for scents.

And last but not least – use your imagination and intuition!
Is s/he playful or serious? Is s/he trendy, individualistic or classic in his/her fashion tastes? These traits will give you a hint of what to look for – a newly released perfume can be an exciting gift for a person who likes to keep up with the current trends; a classic perfume would be a good choice for a person who strives for elegance and simplicity; an unusual, cutting-edge niche perfume might be the choice for your individualistic friend.

If you require assistance in finding a fragrance for a loved one at any time of the year, you can invite them to take the Fragrance Consultation via Ayala Moriel Parfums. This consultation is free of charge for the Ayala Moriel’s customers. If you require assistance in choosing perfumes from other lines, you will be charged a fee of $25 per consultation. For any further inquiries email Ayala.

A few last tips to remember:
* Give a perfume only to a person you know their taste really well.
* You won’t fail if you give a refill or a gift-set of their favourite perfume.
* It’s also courteous to give them a gift-receipt so that they can exchange it if they don’t like the fragrance.

The big NO’s:
* Don’t give a perfume to a person who is allergic to perfume
* Don’t forget to include a gifts receipt

For your friends who don’t indulge in perfumes particularly often, there are many other delightfully fragrant gifts to choose from. Finding a scented gift other than perfumes is just as fun to receive, will leave a lasting impression - yet a bit less demanding to pick (or use). My top suggestions for other scented products are:

The beauty of candles is that they can be shared with others. Because they are less personal (not worn on the skin) they can be given as a gift to more than one person – i.e.: a family or a couple. It’s also a sneaky way to give a romantic gift to yourself (I get my boyfriend candles all the time, but we end up enjoying them together!). Candles truly make a beautiful gift, especially in the season of defeating darkness with light… (see, there is even a spiritual reason for treating yourself and your loved ones to candles!).
My favourite candles this year are Origins’ “Into The Woods” candle, which smells like fir absolute (sweet and foresty at once), but unfortunately this has been discontinued. My new favourite is Annick Goutal’s Noel candles, a limited edition for the Holiday Season which comes out every year – and smells like freshly crushed coniferous needles and an underlining delicate olibanum base. They smell quite realistic, and burn for many hours emitting a subtle yet definite smell of forest everywhere in my house (which has a very tall ceiling, by the way).

The neat thing about getting bath and body products is that for the most part these are enjoyed in the bathing time, but linger afterwards only very gently. This makes them a lot more widely acceptable than perfumes. Also, even if their scent is not the absolutely perfect one, they will be at least embraced for their functionality… My new favourite thing is sugar body scrub, and of these my most favourite are Nyakio’s Kenyan Coffee & Sugar body scrub
(the scent is fantastic, and the experience is phenomenal!), and Crabtree & Evelyn’s Lemongrass & Brown Sugar Body Scrub, which is actually also a moisturizer, with tuns of rich shea butter.

For those of you who like to get your hands dirty and give truly original gifts, you can easily make your own bath products. Bath salts and bath/massage oils are very simple to make, and you can customize your own scents. Below is a recipe for the one and only Black Truffle & Cassis Bath & Massage Oil and Bath Salts!

For other interesting tips for gift giving visit this site.

Image credit: Gift of My Heart
by JeffClow

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