Holiday Gift Ideas 2014

Source: Pinterest. Original source unknown.

Source: Pinterest. Original source unknown.

The holiday season is upon us and many of you have already started shopping for gifts. I thought I’d present a few ideas, whether it’s for the fragrance lover in your life, or merely an office coworker for whom you have to get a “secret Santa” gift. A few of my suggestions are suited for those who don’t even have a serious interest in perfume. For example, a book of poetry by 100 contemporary American poets who were each sent a different vial of unnamed perfume (ranging from Jo Malone to Tom Ford, Creed, Kilian or others), and then wrote a poem in response to the unknown scent.

As you will see, very few of my ideas have to do with buying actual perfume. I think it’s a truly terrible idea to gift someone fragrance unless you know them and their tastes extremely well or, ideally, have a precise shopping list of the exact perfumes that they want. Otherwise, it’s a potential disaster and, quite possibly, a huge waste of money. Given the vagaries of skin chemistry, you simply can’t know how a perfume bought blindly will actually turn out on their skin and if they’ll like it.

So, it’s far better to leave the choice up to them. For example, you can send an e-card, even on the day of Christmas if you’re a procrastinator who is truly behind schedule. Some people may see gift certificates as a sign of laziness or lack of thought but, for a perfumista, they’re the best thing ever! Even small amounts give one the freedom to sample new things, each a potential passage to olfactory Nirvana. Non-perfumistas might also enjoy certificates to places that sell luxury candles, men’s beauty products, or home fragrances. Or, you can go another route, and opt for fragrance-related things like books, foodie essences, or perfume-making kits. Here are a few suggestions.

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O’Driù comes to America!

I’m happy to report that the avant-garde Italian line, O’Driù, will be arriving shortly at Luckyscent. It is the first time that O’Driù (hereinafter spelled simply as “O’Driu” without the accent) will be available in America.

Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O'Driu. Source: Basenotes

Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driu. Source: Basenotes

For those of you who have never heard about the line, O’Driu is a small Italian niche company founded in 2010 as part of a project by the Pleasure Factory, a specialty communications company. All of O’Driu’s fragrances are made by Angelo Orazio Pregoni, who I find to be a truly fascinating chap. I wrote a little bit about him in my review of the bespoke fragrance, Peety, and about how sincerely he seems to believe in a more experimental, avant-garde approach to perfumery. A bohemian, intellectual, mad scientist who likes to think outside the box and who has a rather wicked sense of humour, if you will. (I still laugh when I think of his bio page on the O’Driu website.)

Angelo Orazio Pregoni via Fragrantica.

Angelo Orazio Pregoni via Fragrantica.

His creations are highly original, extremely concentrated, and almost purely all-natural. Many feel like extraits more than eau de parfums, and most have something like 96% fragrance oils, absolutes, or essentials. Some of the note lists include lyrical descriptions that are almost more like poetry than something you’d normally find in a perfume pyramid. One perfume, for example, Leva is said to include: “the nightmare that reveals the pleasure,” “a smell in the wood,” or, simply, “under the sun.” What is under the sun, I have no idea. (Also, I’m dying to know what note is symbolized by “a bath in the water,” which is supposedly one of the notes in the super-rich, tobacco, earthy, vetiver, licorice scent called Ladamo.) Whatever the actual ingredients turn out to be, I fully expect they will add to the unexpectedness of the fragrance bouquet. Since I wrote about Peety, I’ve had the chance to try a few more of Mr. Pregoni’s perfumes, and I can tell you that they are full of surprises. Continue reading