Green Perfumes We Love
Fragrance

Earth Month: Green Perfumes We Love!

Read on for a list of all-natural and sustainable brands, as well as a curated list of their scents we think you’ll love.

Perfume is a luxury. And on days like Earth Day, when we audit the necessities and excesses of our lifestyle and their effects on the health of the planet, it can seem like luxuries are, by definition, out of sync with the natural world. 

However, there are fragrance brands making steps to work within the bounds of nature. Some produce perfume using only plant-based materials. Others have spearheaded initiatives in favour of sustainable production and radical transparency. 

Read on for a list of all-natural and sustainable brands, as well as a curated list of their scents we think you’ll love. 

ALL NATURAL PERFUME BRANDS

ABEL

Abel is the ultimate intersection of art, ethics and natural science.

Following a failed search for a natural perfume that was chic, modern and long lasting, Abel was founded in Amsterdam by New Zealander Frances Shoemack with a simple goal – to create the world’s best natural perfume.

Abel is made of 100% natural ingredients. Rather than clouding your personality with a consistent intensity, the beauty of all natural ingredients is their evolution on your skin, working with the natural chemistry of your body to create a unique scent.

Abel believes in the power and beauty of scent, and its ability to enrich daily life in a way nothing else can. Their scents prove that indulgence doesn’t need to have a negative impact on the earth, its inhabitants, or you. 

HIRAM GREEN

Since 2013, Canadian-born perfumer Hiram Green creates handcrafted fragrances made exclusively from natural materials.

All fragrances are developed and produced in small batches by Hiram in his perfume studio in Gouda, The Netherlands. He believes that natural fragrances need not be instantly recognizable as natural, or have less intensity or silllage than traditional perfumes.

His vibrant compositions have been praised by perfume experts and enthusiasts alike. Each Hiram Green scent is proof that polished, world-class perfume can be made solely from natural ingredients. 

SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES

HERMETICA

Hermetica is a collection of molecular fragrances inspired by the ancient practice of alchemy. Hermetica founders John and Clara Molloy created the brand on a foundation of sustainable manufacturing and ingredient transparency. Their bottles are made from recycled glass, and their boxes are made from biodegradable, recycled paper and zero plastic.

In addition, Hermetica has partenered with Planète Urgence, the French environmental non-profit organization, to finance the planting of more than 5,000 trees in Madagascar and Indonesia. With every purchase, you will be supporting reforestation programs in the region. 

Hermetica uses a blend of natural and molecular ingredients, and features a unique raw material index on their website which catalogs every ingredient in their formulations (a rarity in perfume). 

MAISON CRIVELLI

Maison Crivelli is a new French perfume house practicing a philosophy of slow perfume. Their scents showcase classic ingredients in surprising new blends, resulting in groundbreaking new synaesthetic scent experiences.

Their fragrances are bottled in eco-responsible packaging, with an eye to reduce waste. They use 100% cardboard boxes without plastic, hand crafted and created from artistic FSC Italian paper, and wrap them in biodegradable cellophane which is produced from wood. 

Their founder Thibaud Crivelli’s long experience with sourcing natural raw materials led him to support the Cœur de Forêt (Heart of the Forest) association, which supports the sustainable farming of patchouli in Indonesia. For every purchase of 3 bottles, Maison Crivelli finances the planting of one sustainable patchouli cutting.

GOLDFIELD & BANKS

Goldfield & Banks is the first luxury perfume house in Australia. It was founded to represent the majestic, varied landscapes the country is known for, as well as showcase the indispensable natural raw materials they produce, such as sandalwood, buddha wood, boronia, blue cypress, wattle (mimosa), and even oud. 

Working closely with Australian farmers, they prize traceability and quality in their materials. Their fragrances and ingredients are cruelty free and child labor free. Their bottles feature wooden caps made of repurposed driftwood, and are packaged in FSC paper boxes with biodegradable cellophane. 

NATURE-CONSCIOUS SCENTS TO TRY

Fresh: Tauer – Cologne du Maghreb (all-natural fragrance)

Green: Heeley – Vetiver Veritas (all-natural fragrance)

Citrus: Maison Crivelli – Citrus Batikanga (eco-conscious brand)

Classic Floral: Hiram Green – Moon Bloom (all-natural brand)

Modern Floral: Hermetica – Peonypop (eco-conscious brand)

Fresh Woody: Abel – Green Cedar (all-natural brand)

Rich Woody: Goldfield & Banks – Silky Woods (eco-conscious brand)

Musky: Abel – Cyan Nori (all-natural brand)

Sweet: Hiram Green – Slow Dive (all-natural brand)

Mother's Day Fragrances
Gift Giving

Mother’s Day: Scents Mom Will Love

A fragrance she'll love...

Scents can lift the spirit, bring back memories, and carve out moments of reflection, connection, and joy. For this Mother’s Day, we’ve selected a variety of products both nostalgic and forward thinking, and for both the body and home. From upgrades of classic perfume styles to new flights of fragrant fancy, these are sure to delight, surprise, and show how much you care. 

Ella
ARQUISTE
For the mom who’s fashionably old-school – a new twist on ultra-chic ladies perfume. 
Vivid Gardenia Soap
TAUER
A dramatically fragrant self-care moment. Like a new bouquet of flowers for every bath or shower. 
Fennel Soap
MONSILLAGE
Quirky, refreshing, garden-inspired soap from the beloved Montréal perfume house. 
Lavander and Goat Milk Soap
MONSILLAGE
The perfect touch of luxury for any mom who likes things subtly scented. 
Athalia
PARFUMS DE MARLY
A gorgeous, grown-up signature scent. A bit floral, a bit woody, totally sophisticated. 
Chiavi Candle
FORNASETTI
A gorgeously designed ceramic candle with a warm herbal scent. 
A Lilac a Day
VILHELM PARFUMERIE
A refreshing, modern recreation of a backyard floral favourite. Perfect on fabric too!
Aramara Diffuser
CULTI MILANO
An easy reed diffuser that feels like opening a window on an Italian orange grove. 
The Favourite
PENHALIGON’S
A modern floral with a perfect name for gifting. A delicate perfume fit for a queen!
Blanc Poudre
HEELEY
Clean, fresh, minimalist and timeless. A perfect daily scent for creative moms. 
Tel Aviv
GALLIVANT
This breezy vacation in a bottle is a subtle, work-appropriate fragrance upgrade!
Eau Fraîche
MONSILLAGE
A joyful, transparent summer scent for any mom who hates heavy perfumes. 
Lilac & Willow
T.LEES
A breath of fresh air for any room, or a soothing accompaniment to bath time. 
Nurture
ABEL
This ultra-light, all-natural scent was designed for the sensitive noses of new moms. 
Premier Figuier
L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR
A green, poetic fig scent for the mom who loves to change things up. 

Shop these gift ideas online at etiket.ca or stop by the store!

DISCOVER NAOMI GOODSIR AT ETIKET BOUTIQUE
Fragrance

Naomi Goodsir: Discover Perfumes Like Vivid Dreams…

The cult perfume house from Sydney-born, Grasse-based milliner Naomi Goodsir invites you on an unforgettable olfactory journey.  

Known for her avant-garde silhouettes and flashes of punk-infused fantasy, the aesthetic world of Naomi Goodsir balances inspiration with French savoir-faire. Founded in 2012, her namesake collection of perfume extends her uncompromising vision and impeccable craftsmanship to the realm of fragrance. These are statement perfumes of the highest order, and must be experienced to be believed.

Unique, polished and achingly beautiful, the fragrances of Naomi Goodsir are not for smelling like everyone else. However, for those willing to take the plunge, they are sure to hypnotize and delight all who enter their trail.

EXPERTLY ECCENTRIC

Founder Naomi Goodsir is a true original. Born in Sydney, Australia, avant-garde milliner Naomi Goodsir has created pieces for the English National Opera and Kanye West’s eponymous label, and has been exhibited by museums around the world. With creative director Renaud Coutaudier, she crafts perfumes as detailed and unmistakeable as her accessories, in collaboration with perfumers such as Julien Rasquinet, Bertrand Duchaufour and Isabelle Doyen. Her collection is an idiosyncratic olfactory ecosystem, full of emotion and mysterious textures.

THE COLLECTION

BOIS D'ASCÈSE - NAOMI GOODSIR
Bois d’Ascèse
NAOMI GOODSIR

“Bois D’Ascèsce smells like the most expensive country fireplace in the world, crackling in comfortable silence as a story begins to be told. Mysterious, slightly mystical, and quietly very confident, this is one of the most well-balanced, romantically polished woodsmoke fragrances we’ve smelled.

CORPUS EQUUS - NAOMIR GOODSIR
Corpus Equus
NAOMI GOODSIR

A vivid recreation of clean saddle leather saddle that blurs the line between racehorse and racecar. Dark, dry resins mingle with something akin to burnt rubber, infusing the scent with animalistic alertness. It’s intense but also polished, crisp, energizing, and even, in a strange way, refreshing.

CUIR VELOURS - NAOMI GOODSIR
Cuir Velours
NAOMI GOODSIR

A langorous take on leather, with fruity facets of immortelle sparkling in the long rays of afternoon sun. The brooding atmosphere is playfully subverted with a whiff of sweet tobacco and… lipstick? Like lounging in a luxurious pied-a-terre awaiting a hedonistic summer’s eve.

IRIS CENDRÉ - NAOMI GOODSIR
Iris Cendré
NAOMI GOODSIR

A portal to the earthy soul of iris root, with its green and buttery aspects in full display. It wears like an invisible texture, both fudgey and feathered, surreal and edgy, as if Alexander McQueen and Iris van Herpen traded notes. A poetic nature documentary filmed in visceral virtual reality.

NUIT DE BAKÉLITE - NAOMI GOODSIR
Nuit de Bakélite
NAOMI GOODSIR

An avant-garde scent both reckless and controlled, gritty and operatic, with milky, humid tuberose anchored by pungent green galbanum and earthy woods. Wild, alchemical, hallucinatory, full of movement and bracing nature, it feels like wearing a sculptural piece of scent couture. Astonishing.

OR DU SÉRAIL - NAOMI GOODSIR
Or du Sérail
NAOMI GOODSIR

Though tobacco-inspired, to us this fragrance smells as cheerfully intoxicating as a hot toddy. Tangential references to oak, maple, rum and coconut are decadently set ablaze, but even with all that warmth, “Or du Sérail” remains comforting and approachable, imploring others to get closer.

SAMPLE THE COLLECTION

Shop Naomi Goodsir’s Discovery Set: A perfect way to immerse yourself in the world of Naomi Goodsir. 

This set features 2ml spray samples of all six fragrances in the collection. It also includes illustrated blotters to experience each olfactory artwork in its purest form. 

Discover Naomi Goodsir at etiket.ca or in-store!

Discover our most attractive scents
Fragrance

Most Attractive Fragrances

Whether we're single or partnered, most of us want to be alluring. So, if attraction is the goal, how do you want to smell?

Most of us want to be alluring in some way, whether we’re single, partnered, or something in between. And there is perhaps no sense more tailored towards intimacy, or the prospect of it, than the sense of smell. Smell is a primal sense, hijacking memory and emotion, triggered by a poetic process in which a tiny piece of what you smell must breach your physical boundaries and enter your olfactory sensors in literal physical communion. 

So, if attraction is the goal, how to harness the sense of smell?

First and foremost, we need something that makes us feel confident. A study showed that women rated men’s attractiveness higher when they were wearing a scent, even if they only looked at a picture of the man and couldn’t actually smell what they were wearing. In other words, scent helps us feel like we’re projecting our best selves. But while confidence is key, for Valentine’s month, we decided to dig a little deeper. We dove into the history of sensory research, discovering which raw materials have been shown to be attractive, stimulating, and emboldening. From there, we curated a list of scents that are sure to make an impression. 

Musk was one universal choice. It mimics an animalic rush of intimacy, warm and slightly forbidden. Arquiste’s Él is like wearing a tailored suit to a glamourous tropical disco, and dries down to an intoxicatingly sexy musk; never veering too far into old-fashioned funk. For a more carefree sex appeal, all-natural brand Abel manages to capture an addictive salt-kissed skin musk effect in Cyan Nori – and perhaps there’s nothing sexier than effortlessness.

Speaking of effortlessness, the abstract molecular aura of Escentric 02 by Escentric Molecules takes the magnetic skin-enhancing magic the brand is known for and adds an effervescent freshness. It features hedione, a molecule similar to aspects of jasmine, which has been shown to possess aphrodisiac qualities. And like all Escentric Molecules scents, it smells even better to those around you.  

The history of perfume is filled with winking nods to intimacy. The fragrance 1725 by Histoires de Parfum is a modern reinterpretation of the seminal perfume Fougère Royale, a civilized scent for nobility which, as scent writer Luca Turin has noted, featured an irreverently dirty drydown. This version, suitably dedicated to Casanova, is cleaner and more delicious than its historic reference. It adds a layer of elegant vanilla to the composition, an ingredient also cited for its attractive powers. 

In fact, for some people, there is nothing more alluring than waves of unctuous vanilla. For this reason, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a fragrance tailor-made for sex appeal:  Absolute Aphrodisiac by Initio. Unabashedly swooning, the fragrance glows with an eternal, narcotic vanilla warmth, deepened by amber and musk. 

It surprised us to learn that fruity notes have also been shown to stimulate attraction. Habdan by Parfums de Marly contains one of the most surprisingly well-structured uses of fruit we’ve smelled in fragrance, using the crisp snap of fresh apple to enliven incense with devilish panache. 

Fruity notes also enhance the plush textural symphony of Phi: Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer. The fragrance is a velvety ode to rose, a material which studies have shown increases the perception of attractiveness. In fact, the natural Afghani rose oil used in the formula is so unbelievably rare the perfumer himself warns it is sometimes impossible to produce. Even if you didn’t know what went into making it, the scent feels like an intoxicating, ultra-luxurious cuddle, and would make anyone want to get a closer sniff. 

Rose isn’t the only flower that has been shown to have powerful emotional effects. Lilies, even in synthetic reconstruction, have been shown to have a stimulating effect. Long the realm of classical, stately compositions, lily becomes vibrant, ultramodern and achingly fashionable in Lys Sølaberg by Maison Crivelli. A smoky, wood and amber undercurrent cements the allure and keeps it wearable for all genders. 

For those who want to make a seductive impression, woods and resins are an excellent go-to. Autoportrait by Olfactive Studio blends musk, incense and moss with vetiver, an earthy ingredient that has been shown to heighten attraction. It’s a versatile, daily signature with a coy excitement sizzling beneath the surface. There’s something about it that smells youthful and commanding at the same time, projecting spontaneity and confidence. 

In the same family, Pachuli Kozha by Nishane might be one of the most lusciously sensual smoky fragrances we can think of. Top notes of aphrodisiac ylang-ylang brighten a delicious current of black pepper and honey, which pours lavishly over the brooding embers of incense and patchouli. It’s impossible to wear and not feel your confidence soar. 

Fragrance

Our Favourite New Fragrances from 2021

Our favourite new arrivals reinvented the classics, and shared a versatile comforting warmth.

This year saw the arrival of some of the most memorable fragrances in recent memory. As we started compiling our favourites, we noticed many of our picks were united by a spirit of reinvention. Modern takes on chypres, fougères, and incense & rose, for example, mined old tropes for newly satisfying blends. In addition, most scents shared a sense of warmth, as if anticipating the extra comfort we’d need to stay grounded in our turbulent world.

Creamy dreamscapes, poetic forests, glowing auras of musk and smouldering incense helped us access serenity at Etiket HQ. But make no mistake: these scents are not just for winter! Instead, they prove that cozy, soothing or contemplative fragrances don’t have to be boring. Read on to discover our favourites, listed in no particular order.

Imaginary Authors
FOX IN THE FLOWERBED

A joyful, soothing ode to jasmine, diffused through the sepia lens of an early summer sunset. Colourfully nostalgic, like the films of Wes Anderson.
Escentric Molecules
MOLECULE 01 + PATCHOULI 

This reinvention of single-ingredient masterpiece Molecule 01 adds a moody, musky, spicy, sparkling patchouli layer to its skin-enhancing base.  
Arquiste
PEAU

Like sensual bass notes for the skin, with cedar air and an almost indescribable musk accord. Layer under everything: wide-eyed compliments will ensue.  
Meleg Perfumes
CIVET CAT CHYPRE

Meleg’s scents are unlike anything else on the market. Airy, buttery, and breathtakingly elegant; this is handmade perfumery at its best. 
Libertine Fragrance
SWEET GRASS 

A masterful recreation of the green tobacco pleasures of Canadian sweetgrass. A youthful fougère that’s equal parts prairie poetry and urban sex appeal.
Zoologist
MACAQUE YUZU EDITION

The tart-sweet bite of yuzu energizes the lemony facets of Hinoki wood, resulting in a dynamic and wearable composition with that trademark Zoologist twist.
Maison Crivelli
IRIS MALIKHÂN

A surprising reinvention of iris, with waves of vanilla pod crashing on an amber origami shore as a floral fog rolls in. This is fragrance as textural symphony.
Hiram Green
VETIVER

Two origins of vetiver lay rumbling at the heart of this all-natural ode to citrus and earth; so vivid it’s almost hallucinogenic. Perfectly balanced between wild and civilized. 

Indult
MY JU-JU

Like the creamy-woody smell of someone familiar, this scent deliciously evades description. Dewy green notes dance on a base reminiscent of cashmere donut icing.
Tauer
SUNDOWNER

Vivid but relaxed, and with “hygge” to spare, citrus and cocoa crackle over a layer of warm wood like an impossibly sexy bonfire. For venturing outwards with your sense of home intact.
L’Artisan Parfumeur
CONTES DU LEVANT

Damask rose illuminates a suspended geometry of pepper, patchouli and incense. Polished, gleaming, romantic, and much more than the sum of its parts.
2021 FRAGRANCE FAVOURITES SAMPLE PACK

Curious about this year’s top 10? This sample pack contains all the fragrances featured here. Grab one and find a new favourite!
Seahorse from Zoologist launches at Etiket!
Fragrance

Zoologist’s New Fragrance Takes Us Under the Sea

Zoologist's new fragrance has landed at Etiket. It's an inspired voyage below the ocean surface. Let's dive in...

If you’ve never encountered the fragrances of Toronto-based Zoologist, you’re in for a wild ride. Each extrait de parfum is inspired by a different animal, invoking its personality and even, in the case of Hyrax, actual (humanely harvested) aromatics from the titular creature. But no animal, humans included, exists in isolation. They’re but one part of the web of flora and fauna which collaborate on the unknowable art project that is their respective habitat. This is why, at least to me, Zoologist perfumes aren’t really about animals as much as the scent of wild landscapes. Panda evokes a misty bamboo forest; Chameleon a tropical island fantasy. Now, with their newest scent, Zoologist turns its attention to a world under the sea. 

When Pixar was developing “Finding Nemo”, the production team took scuba lessons to learn more about the look and feel of being underwater. They soon realized that even the clearest, cleanest water is filled with textures; little floating organisms, plant matter, bits of coral and sand floating by, glittering in the shafts of wobbly sunlight. Hours of painstaking animation ensued to add multitudinous sea stuff to each shot. This proved to be the elusive ingredient in making the underwater world feel real. 

Zoologist’s new fragrance Seahorse is filled to the brim with “Finding Nemo” textures. You can smell the colours of a richly animated oceanic ecosystem, pulsating like a garden of algae and alien wildflowers. Blue orange blossoms sway in the airless breeze, tides sluice around glossy grass, and all sound goes underwater quiet. In fact, in my opinion, this stillness is key to the uniqueness of this fragrance. Many aquatic scents take the constant churning motion of waves as inspiration, evoking sea spray on the shore where humans can greedily inhale its vapour. But there is something more serene and grounded about Seahorse — still playful but meditative, lapping instead of crashing, like touring the palatial gardens of an undersea empire. This scent doesn’t just take you to an oceanside view, it invites you to be fully submerged.

On the skin, the scent can feel like bioluminescence, the green notes waxing and waning, a foamy floral warmth anchoring all that freshness. Transparent tuberose adds touches of neon coral, and vetiver and ambergris conjure a sheer vegetal earthiness, evoking the sandy sea floor at the base of everything. Those for whom aquatic scents are solely for the heat of summer, take note: the lifelike nature photography in this scent gives it enough depth to wear all year round. If each Zoologist scent is conceived as a voyage into an unknown world of unspoiled nature, Seahorse might be one of their most fully realized. It’s a transportive fragrance, thrillingly foreign and, perhaps from the films of our childhoods, also strangely familiar.

Can Perfumes Have Textures?
Fragrance

Can Perfumes Have Textures?

When speaking about perfume, we often use words borrowed from other senses. To me, an important sense to invoke in our understanding of perfume is touch. Obviously, smells don’t have physical textures or temperatures. But thinking about the tactile qualities of a perfume can be a gateway to their emotional heart.

When speaking about perfume, we often use words borrowed from other senses. Ingredients become “notes”, like ones you might play on a piano (which is why a perfumer’s desk is referred to as an “organ”). A fragrance can be too “light” for us, and while it’s sometimes unclear whether we’re describing physical weight or colour, our noses can’t truly perceive either. Scent is steeped in sensory metaphor.

To me, an important sense to invoke in our understanding of perfume is touch. Obviously, smells don’t have physical textures or temperatures. But thinking about the tactile qualities of a perfume can be a gateway to their emotional heart. 

Perfumers thinking texturally has led to breakthroughs in the world of fragrance. It often requires a metaphoric leap in the mind of each nose; if one forgets about what an ingredient actually is, what might it make you think of? Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena uses a signature green tea effect to create a luminous quality, like transparent flowing water, which made hits of fragrances like Bvlgari’s Thé Vert and Hermes’ Un Jardin en Méditerranée (you can sample his work at Etiket in Dia Woman and L’Eau D’Ambre Extrême). Similarly, Olivia Giacobetti pioneered the use of fig and other fresh effects to make fragrances that seem airy and subtly cool to the touch, as she does in Premier Figuier and Passage D’Enfer

On the other side of the spectrum, perfumer Sophia Grojsman’s work often feels fuzzy and thick because of her trademark “hug me accord”: an abstract blend of synthetic jasmine, violet, musk and cedar molecules which makes her fragrances seem cozy and warm (like in Lancome’s classic Tresor). And Andy Tauer has created a rabid cult following with his unapologetic waves of hot spice, which add a dry crackling heat to scents like L’Air du Désert Marocain and Cologne du Maghreb. Composed with care, a perfume can imply closeness or distance; glass, cloth, paper, powder or liquid; warm or cool; movement or stillness. 

The fragrances of Maison Crivelli make brilliant use of texture, and they do so in a modern way. Many of them have what I call a “holographic” texture: lifelike, shimmery, and light-reflecting. Creating fragrances with this effect allows the rich amber notes of Lys Sølaberg to feel approachable and relaxed. It allows bold ingredients like woods and spices to seem almost weightless in Santal Volcanique and Bois Datchaï. And it gives rose, which can smell surprisingly thick, even jammy in isolation, a new, breezy lifein Rose Saltifolia, as if the scent were dancing across your perception on a seaside summer wind.

Maison Crivelli fragrances also use textural elements to evoke extremes of temperature, which form surprising contrasts with classic ingredients. A sparkling, icy freshness makes the lavender, juniper and musk in Absinthe Boréale seem enrobed in a delicate frost. The juicy heat of chili and the earthy depth of vetiver makes the orange and bergamot inside Citrus Batikanga sizzle in the bustling heat of a tropical market. 

If all this sounds a bit far-fetched, like those sommeliers who tell you you must be able to taste butter in your chardonnay, don’t worry. The ultimate truism of fragrance is that all scent is subjective. But asking yourself which textures, colours or temperatures you sense when you smell a perfume, regardless of what you come up with, can help make sense of a fragrance’s energy, which will, in turn, hint at what it might feel like to wear it. For example, while everybody’s skin is different, a cool, airy or watery fragrance might leave a more casual impression on your skin than something dark, syrupy, sandy or hot. 

Finally, looking for textures is a way to rediscover ingredients or scent families you thought you knew. If you love earthy and smoky notes, but you can’t imagine wearing them to the office, you could step away from the hottest, driest Tauer scents, for example, and towards a more liquid and transparent scent like Smoke Show. If light floral perfumes often feel aggressive and headache-inducing, but you love the scent of real flowers, you could try finding scents that are less cool, bright and sharp and more velvety and warm. And if you thought you hated powdery fragrances because they always feel too “classic”, meet Crivelli’s Papyrus Moléculaire or Iris Malikhan, which both take the concept of powder in richer, darker, edgier, and more contemporary directions. 

David, Director of Fragrance at Etiket

Is Fragrance Giftable?
Fragrance

Is Fragrance Really Giftable?

As the holiday season rolls around, we’re often asked about the best way to select a fragrance as a gift. Here are some steps to help you achieve a fragrance gifting triumph.

As the holiday season rolls around, we’re often asked about the best way to select a fragrance as a gift. Many people like the idea of gifting fragrance, especially for a loved one who’s often within smelling distance. But the wide variety of fragrances available and the personal nature of scent make it a particular challenge, especially if you’re not a diehard fragrance lover yourself. However, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get them a fragrance they’ll love! In a perfect world, you could just buy them another bottle of their favourite, in which case, you’ll be done before you know it. Assuming that’s not an option, here are some steps to help you achieve a fragrance gifting triumph.

1. Don’t think so much about ”notes” or ingredients; think about personality

Perfumes are often described by what fragrance “families” they belong to. Are they sweet? Floral? Woody? Animalic? And while knowing your recipient’s taste in ingredients can help, often fragrances can vary just as much within families as between them. Instead, we suggest thinking first about the personality or style of the person you’re buying for. Are they bold? Reserved? Dramatic? Fun? Distinctions like fancy or casual, and for work or for play, can often help narrow the field better than deciding between cedar and vanilla.

To this end, we’ve compiled a Fragrance Gift Guide with nine categories of fragrance lovers (or the fragrance curious). Look for ones that feel like they describe your recipient’s disposition, taste in clothes, or the way they greet the world.

2. Stick to the safe bets (and beware some tricky ingredients)

There are two reasons that ingredients do matter a little for gift giving: skin chemistry and scent associations. Scent is closely tied to memory, which can make the exact same smell feel different to different people. Additionally, perfume changes subtly once it hits skin, making it harder to estimate how certain perfumes will smell on any particular person. To maximize your chances of success, we recommend sticking to more versatile scents with crowd-pleasing ingredients and styles.

Try: Escentric Molecules

This brand is a hit for a reason. Without getting too technical, many of their most-loved perfumes aren’t really “perfumes” in the sense that vanilla isn’t really a cake. Instead, their line of “Molecule” scents (numbered 01-05) are suspensions of a single versatile base note in alcohol. Translation? They’re the frame, not the painting. This means that they adapt to anyone’s skin and amplify the best qualities of their natural scent. The result is a wear-it-anywhere automatic jaw dropper that can also layer beautifully with any other scents in their collection.

Try: Malin + Goetz

These fun, modern fragrances are a nice bridge between “nice smell” and “proper perfume” (and we mean that in the best way possible). They’re inspired by easily-identifiable smells, and evoke them in an accessible way. They’re already well loved for their addictive body products, and their packaging is effortlessly chic. And worst comes to worst, buying someone a fragrance named “Cannabis” is sure to at least make them smile (but it would also smell great on almost anyone anyway).

Be careful with: buying something ”fresh”

“Fresh” is a concept in perfume that’s become such a cliché it hardly means anything. If they’ve told you they like “fresh” fragrances, or you have a memory of them smelling “clean”, this could be helpful, or could be a trap. Because of the way scent is tied to memory, “fresh” could mean anything from citrus to mint, light flowers to aquatic, and even white musk. Try to narrow your search by thinking of their personality, or if “fresh” is all you have to go on, consider any Heeley fragrance with a white label.

Be careful with: Floral for the sake of floral

Flowers are foundational to the history of perfume. They also could be the most polarizing ingredient of them all. Not only can people have strong reactions to heavily floral scents, but the way that flowers show up in a composition ranges from “shrieking” to “invisible”. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from any fragrance which lists flowers among the notes; most will have some somewhere. However, if a fragrance is described as both rich/intense and predominantly floral, you might want to get them to try a sample first (unless you or they are experienced fragrance buyers).

One exception to this rule is if you know they have a favourite flower. If so, find a fragrance that doesn’t just include it, but is overwhelmingly and exclusively inspired by it. Lilac lovers will likely love A Lilac a Day, orange blossom enthusiasts will likely swoon over Histoire d’Orangers, and if they grow real roses in their garden, Lustre should remind them of home. 

3. Smell for yourself, and even get a second opinion

It will not surprise you to hear that smells cannot be fully experienced through the internet (at least not yet). While many of our clients have learned enough about their personal taste to shop our fragrance selection online, buying a fragrance gift can put many of us back at square one. An excellent way to complete your holiday shopping would be to visit our Montréal boutique and sniff a shortlist of options. If this is a possibility for you, the same advice from #1 applies; when smelling each fragrance, try to think of the person’s energy, personality and style more than decide whether they’d like the actual ingredients.

For those who aren’t lucky enough to live nearby, we also offer the option to purchase samples online of almost any fragrance we sell. If you plan ahead, investing a small amount in an assortment of samples can help you seal the deal, or even sneak an option onto the skin of the actual person you’re buying for. And if the element of surprise is too important to give up, bring the samples around to someone who knows your recipient just as well (or even better) than you do. When seeking a second opinion, the question we’d recommend asking isn’t “would they like this?” as much as “do you think this smells like them?” Lastly, if you’re their significant other, remember to consider what scents you’d enjoy smelling on them as well!

4. Don’t forget the home!

If you’re still not ready to make a judgement call on a fragrance for skin, try a fragrance for space! Any room is enlivened by the invisible colour of a home fraIf you’re still too scared to make a judgement call about a fragrance for skin, try a fragrance for space! Any room is enlivened by the invisible colour of a home fragrance, and we carry a beautiful array of scents in various formats. Home scents are the perfect gifting sweet spot: something almost everybody loves, but many people often don’t buy for themselves.  

The range of diffusers from Culti Milano have been extremely popular, as well as their car sachets – a unique gift for anybody who drives to work. Local Montréal brands Les Citadines and T. Lees create artisanal, elevated scents for every taste, and Arquiste’s candles are vibrant, transportive and unique. Finally, for the ultimate luxury experience, the world-renowned house of Fornasetti makes candles which rise to the level of art objects – taking home scent from invisible accent to dazzling decor.

Finally, gifting fragrance with Etiket has one distinct advantage – free samples! Like most retailers, we can’t accept returns of used fragrance, even if it’s only been sprayed once. However, Etiket offers complimentary fragrance samples with every purchase. Simply request a sample of the scents you’re buying and we’ll happily include them so your recipient can try the sample on before they open the full-sized bottle. If it turns out it’s not for them, they can easily return the unused fragrance and get something for themselves. This also means that every bottle of fragrance you buy for someone else lets you try some free samples for yourself, and if that isn’t a reason to be generous, I don’t know what is!

Image source: @penhaligons_london

Penhaligon’s Holiday Collection 2014

It’s that time of year again and British perfume house Penhaligon’s has unveiled their most decadent Holiday ...

Read More →

It’s that time of year again and British perfume house Penhaligon’s has unveiled their most decadent Holiday …

Read More →

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Inscrivez-vous à l'infolettre d'Etiket et obtenez 10% sur votre premier achat sur Etiket.ca.