It’s that time of year, isn’t it? The frankly INSANE perfume ads are everywhere, inescapable, slightly sinister and not even remotely understandable or relatable, like the worst kind of fever dreams. It’s been harder to test new perfumes in the last couple of years, so it’s utterly daft that they’re still making it so tricky to get the real gist of each one. Get it right though, and these can make gorgeous gifts.
How about I cut through the pretentious crap for us all, and give you a quick description of the perfume family each fragrance gift is from, plus some of the strongest notes in it, and when it might be worn? I mean, that might actually be useful, right?
Let’s throw in a few good deals and offers along the way too: some bundles represent good value on their own, and others are being discounted around Black Friday weekend and probably on and off through most of December as well. NB: Offer prices are correct at time of publication, but are likely to be subject to change on a day to day basis.
What’s good then? I’m including a deep dive into this year’s main commercial big hitters that are also generally liked by fragrance aficionados, followed by some briefer nods to other crowd pleasers and interesting picks.
Best value Christmas 2021 perfume gift sets
These sets give you something extra when compared against your standard plain bottle: either high end makeup treats or additional fragrance and perfumed layering products. Here are my best value glam picks.
Yves Saint Laurent – Libre Eau de Parfum 50ml makeup icons gift set (worth £95)
Contents: Libre Eau de Parfum 50ml, Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils #1 Mini 2ml, Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick #70 Le Nu Mini 1.3g (satin nude). Fragrance type: floral citrus (technically amber chypre). Top notes: tangerine, neroli, lavender; middle notes: jasmine sambac, orange blossom; base notes: white musks, vanilla extract.
Strongest notes are orange blossom, lavender and vanilla. Clean-smelling and modern, leaning unisex and ideal for office wear. RRP £80.00. Best buy at Parfumdreams, and John Lewis.
Lancôme – Idôle Le Parfum (EdP) 50ml Christmas gift set (worth £93)
Contents: Idôle Le Parfum 50ml, Idôle Le Parfum Body Cream 50ml, Mini Lash Idôle Mascara in Black 2ml. Fragrance type: modern musky chypre floral. Top notes: bergamot, pear, pink peppercorn; middle notes: Turkish rose, rose de Mai and Indian jasmine; base notes: white musk, vanilla, patchouli, cedarwood.
Strongest notes are rose, pear and musk. A soft, powdery rose fragrance for feminine daytime wear. RRP £77.50. Best buy at FragranceDirect (get free delivery with code: FREEDEL) followed by AllBeauty.
Givenchy – L’interdit Eau de Parfum 50ml gift set
Contents: L’Interdit Eau de Parfum Spray 50ml, Mini Le Rouge Lipstick #333 (party red) L’Interdit 1.5g, Mini Volume Disturbia Mascara #01 Black Disturbia 4g. Fragrance type: amber floral. Top notes, pear, bergamot; middle notes: tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine sambac; base notes: patchouli, vanilla, ambroxan, vetiver.
Strongest notes are tuberose, pear and orange blossom. Elegant white floral with a hint of darker undertone, classic chic with a twist. RRP £73.50. Best buy at John Lewis, followed by Escentual.
Valentino – Voce Viva Eau de Parfum 50ml gift set
Contents: Voce Viva Eau de Parfum 50ml, Voce Viva Eau de Parfum travel spray 15ml. Fragrance type: technically a floral woody musk, but leaning sweet and fruity. Top notes: mandarin orange, bergamot, ginger; middle notes: orange blossom, gardenia; base notes vanilla, tonka bean, musk, sandalwood and oakmoss.
Strongest notes: vanilla, orange blossom, mandarin, tonka. Sweet and gently spicy but suitable for daytime wear. RRP £78. Best buys at Justmylook, John Lewis or Debenhams.
Armani – My Way Eau de Parfum 50ml gift set (worth £98)
Contents: My Way Eau de Parfum 50ml, My Way Eau de Parfum mini 15ml, My Way Body Lotion 75ml. Fragrance type: tuberose floral. Top notes: orange blossom, bergamot; middle notes: tuberose, Indian jasmine; base notes: Madagascan vanilla, white musk, Virginia cedar.
Strongest notes are tuberose, orange blossom and jasmine. Long lasting fresh, modern floral that will take you from desk to drinks. RRP £80. Best buy at FragranceDirect (get free delivery with code: FREEDEL) followed by AllBeauty.
Chloe – Chloe (signature) Eau de Parfum 75ml gift set
Contents: Chloé Eau de Parfum 75ml, Chloé Eau de Parfum mini 5ml, Chloé Body Lotion 100ml. Fragrance type: floral. Top notes: peony, litchi/lychee and freesia; middle notes: rose, lily-of-the-valley, magnolia; base notes: Virginia cedar, amber.
Strongest notes are rose, peony, lychee and freesia. A safe blind buy for anyone who likes chic, well-blended floral fragrances with a classic feminine touch. RRP £101. Best buy at Notino, followed by AllBeauty and FragranceDirect (get free delivery with code: FREEDEL).
Honourable mentions & popular picks:
There are a few newish releases, cult classics and popular fragrance gift sets it’d be almost rude to miss out too, and of course they’re all on special offer right now…
- Glossier You #5 Smells Like You 30ml gift set (unisex). Clean floral woody musk, a gentle fragrance for informal wear with millennial appeal, main notes: musk, ambrette seeds, ambroxan, green iris root, pink pepper. Deal at Glossier.
- Mugler – Alien 30ml gift set. Refillable bottle. Floral amber woody fragrance, bold and unique, main notes: jasmine, cashmere wood and amber. Best deals at Justmylook and John Lewis.
- Dolce&Gabbana – The Only One EdP 100ml Gift set. Adds up to 117.5ml of perfume. Floriental gourmand to get you noticed, main notes: caramel, vanilla, coffee, violet. Best deal at John Lewis.
- Chloe – Nomade EdP 75ml gift set. Chypre floral for adventurous, independent women, main notes: oakmoss, mirabelle plum, freesia, cardamom. Best deal at FragranceDirect (get free delivery with code: FREEDEL).
- Paco Rabanne – Olympea EdP 80ml gift set. Fresh oriental, with a young and sporty vibe, main notes: salt, vanilla, water jasmine, ginger. Best deal at FragranceDirect (get free delivery with code: FREEDEL).
- Lancôme – La Vie Est Belle EdP 50ml Christmas gift set. Floral-fruity gourmand, sweet and popular mainstream perfume, main notes: praline, vanilla, patchouli, blackcurrant. Best deal at AllBeauty.
- Yves Saint Laurent – Black Opium EdP 50ml & Makeup Icons gift set. Floral gourmand for women who like to stand out, main notes: vanilla, espresso coffee, pear, jasmine. Best deal at AllBeauty & FragranceDirect (get free delivery with code: FREEDEL).
- Tiffany & Co – Tiffany EdP (AKA Tiffany ‘Signature’) 50ml gift set. Elegant light floral for grown ups, main notes: iris, white musk, mandarin. Best deal at John Lewis. << PENNY’S PICK (yes please, Santa baby)
- Jimmy Choo – Jimmy Choo EdP 60ml gift set. Chypre fruity fragrance to get you noticed on a night out, main notes: toffee, patchouli, pear, orchid. Best deal at LookFantastic.
- Carolina Herrera – Good Girl EdP 80ml gift set. Amber floral leaning gourmand, something for date night, main notes: tonka bean, cocoa, tuberose, jasmine sambac. Best deal at LookFantastic.
Give them the gift of ‘mmmm, you smell lovely’ or just pick up your favourite frag at a bargain price.