There’s something vaguely terrifying about buying scent for someone else. Part of the problem is the sheer amount of choice – there are hundreds of new perfumes released every year. Then take the fact that scent is so personal. Even the world’s bestselling perfumes can be an intoxicating love potion for some and a cloying headache for another.


Fear not, in an effort to decode the mystifying world of fine fragrance, we sat down with a few trusted connoisseurs of the trade to find out their tips on selecting scent. Breathe out a scented sigh of relief as we share the solutions to triumphing that fragrance-picking dilemma.

1. Do your background checks

Take inspiration from candles or fragrances your giftee already has, which will bring a sense of familiarity when they receive their gift. Find out what they have worn in the past, and what they like most about it. But most importantly, how the scent made them feel. “Perfume is definitely an emotional experience,” says Jill Timms, owner of Melbourne’s Haute Perfumery Peony. Timms’ says that the link between scent and memory means that any perfume purchase should be carefully considered and researched.

2. Ask an expert

If you know that special someone is looking for a new fragrance then take note of what they currently wear and head to a boutique fragrance store such as Peony, the fragrance departments in David Jones or Myer or Mecca Cosmetica.  A true fragrance expert will be able to match the scents they already use to a family of alternative scents to try. Robert Moore, the Fragrance Concierge at Mecca Cosmetica flagship store in South Yarra says that while it is a science, there’s no substitute for emotional intelligence. “You can throw the rules out the window and trust your gut instincts to navigate your way through. Fragrances, like beauty, are open to interpretation and are unique to each and every one of us,” he says.

3. Take a trip down memory lane

3. Take a trip down memory lane

Think about what scents from the real world your giftee might be drawn to and look for those. “The notes you pull from a scent are more indicative of what ingredients you have been exposed to throughout your life. A family cooking heavily with spices for example, or growing up with a luscious floral garden, or by the sea, near the woods, near a church or by the river…” points out Robert. “Fragrance has a unique way of linking emotion, feeling and moments and imprinting them to our memory. Nothing can flood your mind full of sweet or bittersweet memories in the same way. Fragrance can enhance everlasting memories.”

Three new scented indulgences we love…


Story by Ally McManus.

What’s your favourite fragrance?

Comment (0)