Perfume should be one of life’s luxuries, the sole purpose of which is to give olfactory pleasure. And yet with every Kim, Justin and Gaga releasing yet another syrupy celebrity juice, these days fragrance can feel too accessible and common to be special. But Christmas is a great time to buy perfume as brands compete to bring out the most spectacular editions and the bar is raised for pretty packaging. Just any bottle will not do.


Chanel No.5 remains the mother of all fragrances in every sense of the word: generations have grown up sneaking spritzes of the luminous aldehydic jasmine rose scent from a beloved matriarch’s bottle. Now is the time to give it back in a limited edition 200ml bottle which will be enough juice to bewitch another generation. For those with a sweet tooth Prada have brought out their Candy fragrance in an immodest 900ml size. Diabetics should proceed with caution.




If you’re looking for something off the blockbuster track then there are gems to be found in the niche perfume brands for those looking for the beautiful and unusual. The namesake fragrance by New York boutique Aedes de Venustas is now available in the UK. The scent is crisp and tart and uses notes of rhubarb rather than the standard citrus to give it a fresh bite. The latest collection from By Kilian explores sweet and spicy facets of fruit in winter wonderland appropriate white bottles rather than the brand’s usual austere black.



For the more traditional, this is the time of year to keep an eye on the special editions of classic fragrances. Annick Goutal release seasonal editions of their fragrances in “butterfly” bottles (named for the butterfly shaped stopper) and this Christmas is the turn of a cyan blue, painted Nuit Étoilée with gold illustration. Perfume can easily fall into the lazy level of gift but with all the variety on offer at this time of year there’s no excuse for anything other than special.