Christmas/Hanukkah Women’s Fragrance Gift Guide

My apologies for being away so long but with the holidays coming up and code freezes encroaching (which drives everyone involved with software development crazy) I’ve gotten behind in posting.  Nevertheless, I’m back with what I hope will be a very helpful and inspiring post involving the touch aspect of fragrance gifting for the holidays for that special woman in your life.  My fragrance recommendations for gifting the men in your life haven’t changed since my Father’s Day article.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! Bring on the fragrance!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! Bring on the fragrance!

I realize that fragrance is a very individual thing.  However, my experience has been there are some fragrances within groups that hold appeal to everyone, and are not as likely to offend everyone around you.  The fragrances I will recommend in this post are either owned by me, or spoken highly of by those with a nose for fragrance and passion for fashion.

Clean and Bright

Perfect for formal settings yet interesting enough to make you stand out, clean and bright fragrances inspire smiles and generate compliments.  Consider these fragrances for someone who likes a fragrance that is memorable but not heavy or ‘offensive’.

Body by Victoria 

Marchesa Parfum d’Extase

Versace Bright Crystal

Coach Legacy


For that ‘I can’t quite place it but I love that scent’ women, complex fragrances offer a wonderful lingering scent that people can’t seem to place.  Be unforgettable with these scents.

Hanae Mori

Gucci Guilty Intense

Acqua di Gioia

Vince Camuto


For the woman who seems to have it all under control or at least gives the appearance as such, go for a fragrance as sophisticated as she is.

Guerlain Shalimar

Bulgari Jasmin Noir

Michael Kors MICHAEL

Vera Wang


Sometimes a floral fragrance isn’t desired.  For those women who prefer their scents more spice than floral based, try one of these lovelies.

YSL Opium

Calvin Klein Obsession

Guerlain Samsara

Chanel Chance


These are great fragrances for women who aren’t big into wearing perfume.  Fresh scents evoke memories of fresh fruits, therapeutic essential oils and exhilarating ‘greens’.

Dolce and Gabanna Light Blue

Tom Ford Lavender Palm

Philosophy’s Living Grace

Clean Original


For teens and tweens, scents that are close to that of baked goods or simple notes such as vanilla are perfect choices and not too grown-up but are definitely not kid’s stuff. Fresh scents work as well for this age group.

Prada Candy

Fresh Lemon Sugar

Aquolina Pink Sugar

Philosophy’s Pure Grace

Fragrances to AVOID!!!

I personally do not favor gifting anyone with Chanel No 5 because it is a very heavy and very rich fragrance that doesn’t smell good on everyone (including myself).  Dior’s Poison is another heavy fragrance that unless you know for sure the woman you are shopping for wants it, please do not consider buying it.

As a public service I must warn you that no matter how slick the advertising, how pretty the pictures or how big of a fan you/your mom/your daughter/your mother -in-law is, please, do NOT purchase any ‘celebrity’ fragrance.  These include such scents as the infamous Lady Gaga’s Fame, Niki Minaj’s  Pink Friday and any fragrance with Beyonce or Kim Kardashian’s name on it.

So dear readers, are there any other fragrances I haven’t metioned that you think are great gifts?  Any to add to the ‘avoid at all costs’ list?  Please do drop a line and let me know.

Father’s Day Shopping Guide: Fragrance Gifting

Think fast! Have you purchased your Father’s Day gift(s) yet?

“Fifty Shades Of Grey is Every-damn-where!”

If you are anything like me, you put off purchasing any gift at the last possible minute.  Unfortunately it makes you run around like a headless chicken. But not to fret–I’ve got you covered.  Unlike a tie (which is a lame loser gift anyway) fragrance is something that not only enhances the attractiveness of the wearer, but makes the wearer nice to be around.  It’s a gift that gives way past the recipient and giving it suggests you took time to consider what they would like as opposed to just shoving something in a box that you wouldn’t gift to your worst enemy.

For your consideration and last-minute shopping, I have culled together an assortment of men’s fragrances that are fresh, classic, edgy and downright awesome for gift-giving.  I realize fragrance is a very personal thing but given the testing I’ve done over the past several weeks, talking with lonely but very helpful men’s fragrance counter sales associates, reading industry articles, talking to friends and getting the scoop from the 2012 Fragrance Industry (FiFi) awards, I feel this is a safe assortment of scents that won’t recall fragrance memories of Brut, Hai Karate or even worse, Axe body spray.

Gucci Guilty

Gucci Guilty for Men — The 2012 Fifi Mens’ Fragrance of the Year

I’m not even going to mince words.  Gucci Guilty, the brainchild of the ever-so-sexy Tom Ford, is a kick-ass sexy fragrance in a bottle so masculine yet elegant, James Bond would sport it without shame.

The industry says:

Made for the man who knows what he wants, this fragrance is a powerful mix of excitement, allure, and sensuality. It awakens the senses with a burst of zesty lemon, cool lavender, and spicy pink pepper. The subtle heart notes then reinforce the fragrance’s clean freshness, creating a bridge to the sensual and provocative woodiness in the base. As it dries down, the scent focuses the hallmark of all Gucci fragrances, patchouli, and mingles alluringly with cedar, sandalwood, and amber. The overall effect is young, stylish, and sexy—a bold and uncompromising fragrance that captures the essence of Gucci.

I say:

Blows back your nose hairs from the pure, raw sensuality of the fragrance then softens to a sexy, alluring mix of fresh woods and spices.  It won the 2012 FiFi Award for Best Men’s Fragrance.  In other words, the people for whom fragrance is their business have anointed this men’s fragrance as ‘The Business’.  Make this the FIRST mens fragrance you smell while shopping.

Aqua di Gio

Aqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani — 2012 Fifi Awards ‘Hall Of Fame’ Winner

Back in the day (and I know I’m dating myself) the clasically timeless fragrances were the likes of Polo by Ralph Lauren and Drakkar by Guy Laroche.  Fast forward to today and Aqua Di Gio has earned its way into this prestigious club.  Don’t think so? I dare you to walk into anywhere mens fragrance is sold and not see this prominently displayed.  Even Target has it on hand.

The industry says:

A resolutely masculine fragrance born from the sea, the sun, the earth, and the breeze of a Mediterranean island. Transparent, aromatic, and woody in nature Aqua Di Gio Pour Homme is a contemporary expression of masculinity, in an aura of marine notes, fruits, herbs, and wood.

I say:

Classically sexy.  If you’re shopping for a man who takes risks within reason and loves to be the best dressed in the room with his own edge, this is an excellent choice.  This year it won the 2012 FiFi Hall Of Fame award so those who have a paid ‘nose’ have known for years how hot this fragrance is and how many man consistently flock to it and women are drawn to the smell of it.

Hanae Mori HM for Men

Hanae Mori HM For Men

My affinity for this fragrance is completely Neiman Marcus’ fault.  At first sniff you are captivated by the strength and complexity of this fragrance.  It takes a certain masculine strength to wear this fragrance or else it will wear you.  Frankly, this is my first choice for gifting to anyone in the military for Father’s Day.

The Industry says:

A subtle blend of 50 exquisite essences harmonize with the warmth of the skin to produce a woodsy Asian scent unlike any other. Lemon, lavender and black currants float over a mossy vanilla and sandalwood base. The cap’s design is inspired by the Tsuka, the piece found at the extremity of antique samurai swords. HM by Hanae Mori —an enduring classic.

I say:

This fragrance contains oakmoss which adds to the strength of this woodsy fragrance and makes it stand out in contrast with other woodsy fragrances like Ralph Lauren’s Polo.  If the man you are shopping for is into finely-crafted goods whether they be watches, swords or my favorite, firearms, this is an excellent choice.  Hanae Mori fragrances are mainly found in upscale retailers so while it is possible it may be in the prestige fragrance section at Target, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Guerlain Homme


Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

Fresh from my favorite luxury brand comes a new men’s fragrance that is so fresh, so clean I consider it a must-have for men who live in the tropics and sub-tropics.  I had the great fortune of smelling this fragrance at the Guerlain boutique in the France pavillion at EPCOT.  Not sure if it was the amazing sexy smell or the Cuban Disney Cast Member trying to sell me on it but it definitely made an impression on me.

The Industry says:

Introducing Guerlain Homme, a magnetic new fragrance for him, inspired by the famous “mojito” cocktail. A splash of citrus and fresh floral notes atop aromatic, woodsy accords blend into an addictive, subtly faceted mélange that is both astonishing and familiar. This scent is the ultimate stimulation for the senses—the essence of luxury for the sophisticated man.

I say:

The use of lime, sugarcane, rum, vetiver and rum in this fragrance makes it an excellent choice for men who love their cigars.  Even if your man isn’t a cigar afficionado (and why isn’t he?), this scent has a lighter, sweeter smell with musky grassy notes from Vetiver and Pelargonium.  Fresh, surprising and unmistakeably masculine.

Bleu de Chanel

Bleu de Chanel–fresh, crisp and masculine

If you remember Davidoff’s Cool Water, Bleu de Chanel is more sophisticated but still retains that ‘ocean’ freshness.  This is a fragrance I believe is more suited to younger men (remember, NO Axe!) but if your man is young at heart it is still an excellent choice.

The Industry Says:

A woody aromatic fragrance for the man who defies convention, and resists the ordinary every day, finding satisfaction in the unexpected. His fragrance, a provocative blend of citrus and woods, liberates the senses — fresh, clean, profoundly sensual — a signature statement of determination and desire. Be unexpected.

I say:

Men who love luxury but are not into showing it off all the time, or young men making their first real foray into the land of men’s fragrance should find this scent appealing.  This is a pretty safe choice for gifting.

Chrome by Azzaro

Chrome by Azzaro

Azzaro’s Chrome is a fresh light smell very similar to Bleu de Chanel but a touch fresher.  Chrome has lingering orange-citrus notes while Bleu de Chanel leans slightly more woodsy.

The Industry says:

Inspired by the dreams of a new generation and the reflections of those who came before, Chrome is a contemporary, yet traditional masculine fragrance that speaks to men of all ages. Created in 1997 by world-renowned couturier Loris Azzaro, Chrome’s fresh citrus notes are an authentic expression of man and his infinite tenderness.

I say:

The industry description may sound ‘flowery’ but this fragrance is anything but.  It is a ‘fresh from the shower’ type of smell.  Still masculine, this is a softer and more contemporary scent.

Finalizing Your Decision

So have you decided yet?  What I’ve presented is a mere fraction of what is available in the world of Men’s fragrance but what I consider to be the ‘cream of the crop’.

Still not sure what to get?  Not sure which scent your man would like for Father’s Day? Just like with my Art of Shaving article, Sephora has you covered.  Behold, the Deluxe Fragrance Sampler for Him by Sephora:


The Deluxe Fragrance Sampler for Him by Sephora. Get all of these for a great price to sample for Father Day and redeem the enclosed certificate for a full size of his favorite!

Granted Sephora does have other sets but the Deluxe set includes three (3) of my absolute favorite scents for men: Gucci Guilty, Hanae Mori HM and Aqua di Gio.  The other scents are quite nice and the small sizes make them perfect to put into a carry-on without having TSA confiscate it.  The best part is, while only priced at $50 (it’s almost a $100 total value), your man can decide which fragrance he likes out of of the group and using the certificate inside can redeem it for a full-sized bottle that he (or you) like the most.

So let me know–what men’s fragrances are your favorites?  Remember, we get to do this all over again for Christmas/Hanukkah!

Lust Must: Chanel Eau Premiere

Even after sniffing it and gagging when I was 16 years old, the original No 5 still stinks to high heaven as an old lady. Unless it’s Chanel Chance (which was purposely formatted for young chicks like me who said eeeww to their other fragrances) I steered clear of fragrances from this brand and stayed safe w/ Guerlain and Givenchy.

HOWEVER, I got a sample of the Eau Premiere and it is off the chain! So light. sophisticated and smells like nothing else on the market. The spirit of No 5 is there but it will make you think, “It smells a little like Chanel #5 but doesn’t stink like it.”

$88 for 2oz, $125 for 5oz. Go big or go home.

Available at Nordstrom