Fragrances are very personal because of individual taste and the differences in our sense of smell and are therefore very difficult to buy for other people but if you know your friend really well, you may get away with it, so here’s how to choose perfume as a gift.

Firstly, you need to know that perfume comes in groups. There are 14 perfume groups but only 6 main ones and if you realize this you’ll be on the way to a successful gift purchase.


Of course citrus includes lime, lemon mandarin and orange. It is fresh and not at all sweet but clean, fresh and understated. Citrus is ideal for someone who isn’t that keen on traditional perfume. If you’re looking for a citrus scent you might try any of the following:

  • Giorgio Armani – Acqua di Gioia Eau de Toilette
  • Chantecaille – Vetyver Fragrance
  • Bond No. 9 – New York ‘Little Italy’ Fragrance
  • Chloe – L’Eau de Chloe Eau de Toilette
  • Chanel – Cristalle Eau Verte


Fruity covers fruit scents other than citrus fruits; think peaches, nectarines, blackcurrants, strawberries and apples. In the main, if someone likes to eat these fruits then they’ll probably like the smell.

  • Escada – Taj Sunset
  • Marc Jacobs – Apple Splash
  • DKNY – Be Delicious
  • Juicy Couture – Viva La Juicy
  • Nina Ricci – L’Elixir Eau De Parfum for Women


Floral perfumes might be rose, freesia, gardenia or indeed, any other garden flower. Floral perfumes are inclined to be quite strongly scented, sweet and long lasting and are considered to be very romantic and feminine so maybe not such a good choice if you’re choosing for a girl who is just a friend, but perfect for a girlfriend or spouse.

  • Elizabeth Arden – Pretty Hot
  • Ralph Lauren – Romance
  • Halle Berry – Reveal
  • Coach – Poppy Flower
  • Marc Jacobs – Daisy


Think herbs and grass here but with a hint of citrus; for example basil, sage, lavender or rosemary.

  • Penhaligon’s – Lavandula Eau de Parfum
  • Calvin Klein – CK One
  • Lancome – O de Lancome.
  • Burberry – Brit Rhythm Eau de Toilette
  • Rochas – Eau de Rochas


Woody fragrances are luxurious and sensual and rather grown up with hints of moss and earth; imagine sandalwood and cedarwood.

  • Thierry Mugler – Womanity
  • Burberry – Body
  • Tom Ford – Sahara Noir
  • Givenchy – Play For Her Intense
  • Estee Lauder – Amber Mystique


Oriental scents are musky and spicy, sweet and warm and include vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon but beware, these perfumes are very strong and heavy and definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste. Here are some examples

  • Roberto Cavalli – Roberto Cavalli
  • Armani – She
  • Britney Spears – Fantasy
  • Jimmy Choo – Illicit
  • Hugo Boss – HUGO Deep Red

A few additional tips are:

  • Citrus is probably the favourite group and unlikely to offend anyone.
  • Even a floral perfume with a musk base will lose its floral notes first and will leave the musk.
  • Oriental is a very dangerous choice unless you know for a fact that your friend likes it.
  • You will have to choose at least between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette. Perfume is more expensive and more concentrated than toilet water but will last longer.

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