Holiday Fragrance Gift Picks 2010

Overwhelmed at the mall? Blanking on holiday gift ideas? Let your Fumey Godmother (errmmmm, that'll be me) suggest ways to make sure that everyone in your life smells as good as you do. (I know, not humanly possible, but let's aim high.)
Prada L'Eau Ambrée -- amber as elegant and pretty as a silk chiffon scarf. Starting at $58 for 1.0 oz from, and Stella McCartney Stella rollerball -- sheer, woody rose. $20 for .33 oz from and
Guerlain Vetiver -- fresh, grassy and spicy. Starting at $45 for 1.7 oz from, and Bulgari Black -- cool rubber and hot vanilla smoke. Starting at $28 for 1.3 oz from, and
Narciso Rodriguez for Her eau de parfum -- irresistible femininity conveyed by a kiss of orange blossom and a nuzzle of musk. Sexy, but refined. Starting at $78 for 1.6 oz from, and Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess -- soft, clean musk. Starting at $7 for .33 oz from
Hermes Terre d'Hermes parfum -- fruit and florals grounded by rocks and woods. Rugged, with brains. $91 for 2.5 oz from Fresh Cannabis Santal -- rich patchouli, sweet chocolate, fruity plums and sensual musk. $32 for 1.0 oz from
Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming purse bullet -- tender rose, tangy berries, a wisp of musk. Happy and girly! $75 for .50 oz from and Kat Von D Sinner rollerball -- caramel-tinged rose patchouli. $16 for .33oz from and
Hanae Mori HM -- lemon, lavender, jasmine, chocolate, cedarwood. Sounds crazy, smells good. Starting at $50 for 1.7 oz from, and Jovan White Musk for Men -- crisp, fruity musk. Starting at $12 for 3.0 oz from and
Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady -- billowing clouds of rose, spice, blackcurrant, patchouli, incense and musk. A Guerlain Nahéma for the new century. $200 for 1.7 oz at By Killian Pure Oud -- slightly charred woods and slightly dirty animals. The smoothest oud out there, and the most decadent layering fragrance...ever! $395 for 1.7 oz at


  1. Hmm, I wear Prada L'Eau Ambree (accent intended) and have worn Stella. I guess that makes me a MOM. Wait - I am a mom. Carry on!

  2. Ha-ha, SoS! Though you reminded me that I want to add that my categories are merely suggestions, rather than rules to smell by. If anything sounds like it's a good fit for a gift-ee, regardless on where they fall on the teenage-to-elder scale, then the gift-er should snap it up!

  3. Hi Katie!

    My mother-in-law wears Shalimar (which I love and own in every concentration), and the last time I was at her house, I noticed that she's almost emptied her bottle. So, I'm getting her Miller Harris Fleur Oriental for Christmas! I love Fleur Oriental, and I think that she will too.

    For my own mom, I got Tendre Madeleine, Gres Cabaret, Aveda Chakra 7, and Herve Leger (she's a budding perfumista!). I'm thinking of adding L'eau Ambree now too...

    I'm hoping to get:
    Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche
    Chanel Bois des Iles
    L'AP Traveresee du Bosphore (I only have a decant).

    Thanks for another fun video!!! : )

  4. deeHowe, if your mother-in-law loves Shalimar, I think Fleur Oriental is the perfect choice!

    And your mom's getting an entire collection! Lucky her...

    May your fumie wishes get granted!

  5. Hi Katie,
    I love love love your videos...I'm looking for a sexy perfume for my best friend, she has this femme fatal personality, and also wanted to ask what do you think Carolina Herrera Perfume.
    Thanks for your help and keep doing the videos ;)


  6. Marisol, Carolina Herrera is a good femme fatale option, actually, but it is *extremely* powerful. And tuberose is already a domineering floral in a perfume. I prefer Robert Piguet Fracas for a sexy tuberose scent, as well as Estee Lauder Tuberose Gardenia. One of my favorite femme fatale perfumes, however, is the saffron rose chypre, Agent Provocateur.

  7. I'm with you on Portrait of a Lady. Gets my vote for fragrance of the year. I know it's a feminine n all, but it smelled amazing on manly ole me.

    My sister is an Annick Goutal fangirl, so was thinking either Heure Exquise or Songes (maybe in that moon bottle!) for her, and, yes, Cannabis Santal for her husband.

  8. Furriner, the testimonials are rolling in that Portrait of a Lady sits just fine in the frame of a gentleman.

  9. Hi Katie,

    Lovely vid as always. I bought my sister Bulgari Black for her birthday which she loved and have got her Jasmin Noir for Christmas. Bought my Mum YSL's Cinema a while back which she likes. L'Eau Ambree is a really good suggestion as I think most people would like it.

    I know I'm getting Serge Luten's Sarrasins for Christmas because I've ordered it for myself! - my very first bell jar - so excited.

  10. tara, yeah, I do feel that L'Eau Ambree is easy and flexible and pleasing. Wowie wow on your marvelous Sarrasins present - that's one I'm most keen to try!

  11. While digging through a collection that seems to be multiplying at a Gremlin like rate, I noticed that there were many that I loved to smell but had trouble wearing for one reason or another. A really great super early holiday gift I received ( 'I' before 'E' except after 'C' ) is Narciso Rodriguez For Him Musc Oil. Suddenly, the unwearables (I'm talking to you Tom Ford Black Orchid!) clean up real nice and morph in ways I hadn't anticipated. I'm experiment more now with layering and I think it's a great gift idea for the huffer in your life who thinks they have everything.

  12. I'd be really grateful if Santa would consider getting me:

    Jasmin Noir - Katie's recommendation unsniffed, she got it right with Bulgari Black, so I'm confident that this will be right for me as well.

    Stella Rose Absolue - I love Stella and more of a good thing is bound to be good.

    Amouage Jubilation 25 for women. I'm still a die hard chypre lover and this one is simply made in chypre heaven. I'm willing to skip next years Christmas presents for this one.

    Shalimar. It took me a while, but now I'm there.

    Dior Escale a Portofino. It's a slightly old fashioned cologne type scent that I really, really like.

    Juliette Has a Gun Calamity J. or Etat libre d'Orange Putain des Palaces. I'm sure Santa won't mind.

    I sadly don't know anyone who'd really appreciate getting perfume for Christmas, but if I did I'd love to get someone Agent Provocateur - it's so interesting. For someone who likes a warm, comforting scent I might choose Kenzo Amour. It's pleasant and uncomplicated. My mother sometimes gets scented bath products for Christmas and she's liked scents as different as J'adore, Aromatics Elixir and Miss Dior - the original - so it's not too difficult to get her something nice.

  13. katie you are the best .. for me i like to wear Christian Dior Eau Sauvage Extreme for the winter .. What perfume appropriate for young adolescents in winter

  14. rekoob23 - you are singing my song with Narciso Rodriguez For Him Musc Oil! It is REALLY good - so different and much better than the For Him EdT. It's subtle, but more "there" than the NR For Her Musc Oil, which is hard for me to even detect on my skin (the Her/Him oils are completely different scents, mind you).

  15. Junelady - I love all of your choices, probably because they're a perfect match for my personal taste. Your instinct about Stella Absolue is spot on.

  16. Ra7oom - you might enjoy Diesel Fuel for Life for Men.

  17. I'm asking for Fresh Cannabis Santal for myself, and my dream perfume gift is the La Maison de la Vanille sampler.

    I probably won't be buying any fumes for anyone this year. It was an uphill battle to get my boyfriend to wear anything beyond Cetaphil, so he's out.

    I'd love to lure my brother away from Axe (or worse, Bod) with some BPAL, but we'll see.

  18. Anne, those are all fine fragrance wishes, both for yourself and for the yet-to-be-fumed others in your life. I know a man who always has a subtle but nice smell about him, and it turns out his secret is Old Spice deodorant! That could be a way to sneak a scent into your boyfriend's life, if you felt up for another battle.

  19. [this reader's comment came direct to my inbox]

    Carnal Flower !

    I had been reading a lot (particularly in before smelling it and I was a bit suspicious. But when the SA at Frederic Malle's handed the cardboard to me the other day, it was love at first sniff ! I coudn't wait to try it on me. I did today and it feels incredibly familiar and easy to wear. Nothing glamourous nor sophisticated as I would have expected, I am in jeans and tshirt and it fits perfectly!


  20. I'm not sure what fragrace I want for Christmas yet.. Though I do think I know what I'm going to get a good friend of mine.
    I remember you reviewing both versions of Gwen Stafani's Harajuku Girls and there are new ones out! I think they're the Wicked ones. My friend always thought they were cute and adorable. At Sephora, I saw them in little rollerballs all five of them (I think?) for only $15 and the rollers are about a 1/3 of the size as the normal ones. Doesn't sound too bad of a buy!
    Oh, and are you going to do a review on them too??

    Do you recommend something not to musky and maybe flowery?


  21. Hi Flora - I think those Harajuku Lovers sets make such sweet presents. I haven't checked out those latest "Wicked Style" HLs - I think I've hit a wall with reviewing them for the mo'- trying to evaluate 5 new smells at once can wear a girl out! But without even smelling them, I can say that one will be great, two will be okay, and two will suck. Of course, I could be wrong!

    For flowery/not too musky, have you tried the latest Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea? It's a beautiful, springy orangy/honey floral.

    Also very nice is Pink Jasmine by Fresh. Also delightful is Nina Ricci Nina.

  22. i buy the 75ml of Diesel Fuel for Life for Men , its amazing and i buy for my mother Prada L'Eau Ambrée and she love it .. katie can you tell me more parfums for my age ( 18 years )

  23. Hi Katie,

    I love your videos. They always make me laugh because you are so funny and happy. What do you think of JOY by Jean Patou? I'd love to have your take on it. Thanks so much and happy holidays!

  24. hello, I hope you're still answering comments for this post because I know what I'm getting everyone else for x-mas except for my mom. She loves the scent of vanilla and some of her fav body sprays are from bath and body works; japanese cherry blossom/warm vanilla sugar/sensual amber.. are there any fragrances that come to mind when you think of vanilla or anything sweet like it??

  25. Ra7oom - try Tom Ford Grey Vetiver.

    Baroque Seas - Joy is a mountain I've not yet climbed. I've smelled it in passing, but have never worn it and sat down and thought about. Is it a perfume love of yours?

  26. Veronica - here are some ideas for nice vanilla and vanilla/amber perfumes:

    Kenzo Amour
    Estee Lauder Amber Ylang Ylang
    Guerlain Shalimar Ode a la Vanille (the limited edition version of Shalimar; Shalimar's good, too, but the Ode a la Vanille is sweeter/more vanilla-y)
    Maison Vanille Vanille Sauvage de Madagascar
    Leslie Blodgett Bare Skin