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Gifting Perfume with Confidence: How to Choose the Perfect Perfume for (Almost) Anyone

Choosing a perfume gift for someone is a challenging task, especially when you're not sure about their fragrance preferences. Whether you're shopping for a friend, a friend with benefits, a beloved, a family member, or even an acquaintance or colleague, choosing the right scent either as full-size bottle/spray or by curating your person a personalized set of samples can make for a thoughtful and memorable gift. In this shopping guide, we'll explore various strategies and tips for picking the right perfume when you're in the dark about someone's fragrance taste.

1. Do Some Detective Work

Before diving into the perfume selection process, try to gather some information about the person you're buying for. Here are a few sleuthing strategies to consider:

  • Ask Friends and Family: Reach out to their close friends or family members who might have some insights into their scent preferences.

  • Observe Their Style: Take a look at their fashion choices and personal style. Do they lean towards classic, elegant, or more casual? Modern or retro? Are their choices more unique or more mainstream? This can give you clues about the type of scents they might prefer.

  • Check Their Social Media: Someone's social media profile will help you know their preferred aesthetic. Sometimes, people drop hints about favorite fragrance memories on their social media posts.

  • Listen Carefully and Ask Discreet Questions: Pay attention and listen closely. People will often comment on smells they particularly enjoy (or dislike). Have they ever complimented you on a perfume that you're wearing? What did they like about it? If you're comfortable doing so, casually ask them about their favorite memories of scent, fragrances they enjoy smelling (or not!), or if they have any preferences.

  • Remember Any Past Gifts: If you've given them anything fragranced (perfume, home fragrance, aromatherapy, etc.) before, take note of their reaction. Did they seem pleased with the gift?

2. Consider Their Lifestyle and Hobbies

The recipient's lifestyle and hobbies can offer valuable insights into the type of perfume they might appreciate. 

3. Research Popular Perfume Notes and Fragrance Families

Understanding the basic perfume notes can help you narrow down your options. Perfumes are typically grouped into main categories based on their predominant notes:

  • Citrus: Fresh and zesty notes like lemon, lime, and bergamot.

  • Floral: Feminine and romantic notes like rose, jasmine, and lily.

  • Fruity: Juicy and vibrant notes like berries, peaches, apples, and apricot.

  • Gourmand: Delicious and tempting foody notes like vanilla, cookies, and candy

  • Resinous: Warm, sensual, and complex notes like patchouli, frankincense, and amber.

  • Woody: Earthy and robust notes like sandalwood, cedarwood, and vetiver.

By learning your recipient's personality and preferences, you can make an educated guess about which category might suit them best.

4. Consider Seasonal Scents

Perfume preferences can also be influenced by the season. Some scents are more suitable for warm weather, while others shine in the cold. Here's a general guideline:

5. Opt for Versatile Fragrances

If you're still unsure about the recipient's preferences, consider choosing an interesting and versatile fragrance that can be worn year-round like Silken Tent, Supernatural, Novella, Roll in the Hay, Ecstasies of Light, Inner Sanctum, or Moss Maiden. Such fragrances often have a balanced mix of notes, making them suitable for various occasions and seasons. Your Skin But Better scents are especially versatile.

6. The Ultimate Fail-Safe Perfume Gift: Sample Sets + Gift Cards

If you're pressed for time and/or still uncertain about which perfume to choose, it's time to consider a fail-safe option: purchasing a premade sample set or two along with a gift card so the recipient can enjoy sampling and then select the perfume of their choice. This works well if you have multiple people on your gift list as the gifting often evolves into a fun impromptu perfume-sampling party with everyone wanting to check out each other's samples.


Why Sample Sets Are Ideal:

  • Variety: Sample sets allow the recipient to explore a range of scents, increasing the chances of finding one they love.

  • Experimentation: It's an opportunity for them to step out of their comfort zone and try different fragrance families.

  • Travel-Friendly: Miniature vials are perfect for travel or on-the-go touch-ups.

  • Cost-Effective: Sample sets often provide better value because they reduce the risk of an unloved full-sized bottle.

Choosing a perfume for someone when you don't know their taste might seem daunting, but with a little research and some strategic thinking, you can make a thoughtful and well-received gift. Remember to consider their lifestyle, explore different fragrance families, and consider the combination of a sample set and gift card. This pairing ensures that your gift is both personalized and customizable, allowing the recipient to discover their perfect scent at their own pace.

Wishing you happy stress-free gifting!


  • The Sense of Sight by Philippe Mercier, c.1746
  • A Girl Writing/The Pet Goldfinch by Henriette Browne, c. 1870-74
  • A Masque of the Four Seasons by Walter Crane,c. 1905
  • The Gift for the Favourite by Antonio Fabres, c. 1890
  • The Gift by M.K. Ciurlionis, 1906