Acqua Di ParmaColonia Essenza Eau de Cologne, £104
The Winter Cologne
I can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t like Paul Simon’s Graceland or Acqua di Parma Colonia. End of. They are both laced with magic and improve every situation, and generally make you a better person. For this festive season, pump up the volume with the majestic Colonia Essenza – a slightly deeper, richer version of the classic splashy icon with a wisp more clove, patchouli, moss and amber. It is the failsafe, goes-with-anything cologne that only people with excellent taste like. And if they don’t, you seriously need to reconsider your relationship.
Boy SmellsGardener Scented Candle, £44
The Cool Candle
Flying the flame for gender-fluid, progressive-thinking boujee bougies is Boy Smells, with its proud packaging plus eco-luxe details that cover all activism bases. Gardener is a safe bet, as it’s reminiscent of dewy mown lawns and succulent climbing plants, with a tinge of green tomato leaf and sweet-steamy honeysuckle. Even the most hardened, sternest soul will soften at this candle’s nostalgic ‘grandad’s greenhouse’ vibe.
NeomHappiness Diffuser, £45
The Subliminal Message
If you really can’t win with a particularly tricky person, then play them at their own game. Gifting a treat that has the actual word ‘happiness’ on it means that if they don’t like it, they’re a miserable git. This makes it their problem, not yours, and instead of a glint of disappointment in their eye it’ll be a glint of shame. Which is secretly satisfying, given the shopping pain they’ve caused you over the years. The added bonus with this diffuser is that it’s absolutely delicious and will fill their home with floral and citrus joy, which will seep into their souls and make them a nicer person. Win win, for you especially.
Escentric MoleculesFragrance Discovery Set, £20
The Try-Before-You-Buy Gift Box
Escentric Molecule 01 is our go-to gifting scent as it suits everyone and is perfect for fragrance layering. An even safer bet is the brand’s Fragrance Discovery Set which includes two 2ml samples of each of the five scents. It’s the perfect way to explore the brand and find your new signature scent.
ChantecailleVetyver Eau de Parfum, N/A
The Surprise Soulmate
Vetiver is an ingredient that tricky people are drawn to. It’s a long, enduring grass that grows on rugged island coastlines and its distilled oil has an earthy, warm and refreshing scent. It’s not pretty or girly. It’s not manly or tough. Instead it’s poetic, curious, reflective and misunderstood – much like whom you’re shopping for. Chantecaille’s version focuses on the refreshing character of vetiver (also spelt vetyver) with a zingy boost of lemon and pepper. But those deep, soil-rich roots stretch out in the dry-down linger, feeding all those complicated characteristics you secretly adore in the recipient.
DiptyqueCar Diffuser And Baies Scented Insert, £85
The WOW One
Diptyque perfumers are geniuses: once in a while they’ll take an unassuming everyday object and infuse it with their scents, upgrading it to luxury new heights. Woven bracelets, stickers and hourglasses have all been ‘Diptyquefied’, as has the humble car freshener. This diffuser pod discreetly slots into your car’s dashboard air vent and emits a subtle aroma that makes traffic jams an exquisite nirvana. There are a few scents to choose from, including Fig, Rose and Orange Blossom. My top pick is Baies, a tangy, cool and invigorating squeeze of fresh blackcurrants and ripped bitter leaves and did I mention I’d very much like this one please, mum?
Tom FordRose Prick Eau De Parfum, £290
The Absurd Renegade
If in doubt, go epic. Like really epic. So epic that it stuns the receiver out of their festering fusspot of trickiness into a hypnotic shock of scented submission. Who better to do that than Tom Ford, with his indecent-but-LOLs-named Rose Prick perfume? Warning: this is not your polite dewy innocent rose. This is your obscenely nudey-rudey, fleshy rose smothered in Turkish Delight syrup, running across a posh Chateau garden at dawn looking for your undies, carefree and tantalisingly starkers from a night of mischief. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that action?
Maison MargielaReplica Candle Trio Set, £75
You can’t go wrong with a scented candle, but if the thought of choosing just one for a pernickety friend makes you break out in hives, then this trio is perfect. With warm and snuggly By The Fireplace, clean and crisp Lazy Sunday Morning and cosy Bubble Bath, there’s a candle to suit every mood.