The A-Line: Holiday Fragrances Extraordinaire


Anyone serious about fragrance, or buying perfume as a gift, absolutely must check out This is the source for many of the rarest, finest, or most interesting perfumes in the world. For the holidays, wrap yourself in one of the perfumes on this site. I recommend Nanadebary Bronze, which is light for daytime use, yet so unique that people lean in with a smile and glazed-over eyes to ask what it’s called. Its base is a warm mix of amber, vanilla, and musk entwined with cedar and a hint of patchouli. At its heart is a slightly spicy jasmine, a whiff of bergamot, cinnamon, iris and mandarine orange. $70 at

When visiting the Lucky Scent site, match your astrological sign to the recommended perfume for you, and read the explanation of why it just may suit you perfectly. This is also a great way to glean an overview of the site’s best perfumes, which overall is a mind-boggling collection.

Caron’s exhilarating French Can Can and Nuit de Noel are practically custom-blended for the holidays. Nuit de Noel, which in French means Christmas Eve, is an exotic oriental from the lauded House of Caron and was introduced in 1922. This enduring classic is comprised of citrus top notes, orris, sweet vanilla, oakmoss, sandalwood, and a heart of rare flowers, and its dramatic black flacon underscores sophistication. An elegant bottle of Nuit de Noel is an inspired gift.

French Can-Can was originally banned in the United States for its perceived naughtiness and link to the devilish, skin-baring dance of the same name. French Can-Can is a volumptuous bouquet of aromatic flowers, equally at home at the Place Vendome and anywhere this side of the Atlantic. Caron founder Ernest Daltross made perfumes like nobody else, and because he was untrained, he broke the rules of perfume-making to create astounding fragrances. Prices vary by size, so visit the Caron Boutique at 675 Madison Avenue or call 1-877-88Caron.

Annick Goutal’s Ce Soir Ou Jamais (Tonight or Never…Maybe Forever) is a classic workplace scent for the holidays because it’s feminine, floral, and distinctively seductive — yet light enough to be subtle. Pear, rose, wildflower and peach are combined with 156 other notes, and it took Goutal a decade to create this complex blend that somehow manages to smell different with every wearing. Magnificent! Women on your gift list will swoon when receiving this fragrant treat. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue, $65.

L’Artisan Parfumeur’s October debut in Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue marks this French line’s first “in store” boutique in the United States. This is one international expansion everyone can cheer, since L’Artisan Parfumeur is a quality line with exquisite offerings. Visit the scent bar in the L’Artisan boutique within Henri Bendel to see if you have a discerning “nose” for fragrance. The entire L’Artisan Parfumeur line can be found here, including handcrafted Amber Balls, hand-sewn sachets, the Bottega Veneta collection, the fresh new Fleur d’Oranger fragrance, and the best-selling Mure et Musc.

Hermes Eau des Merveilles, or Water of Wonders, is marvelously sweet due to ambergris. Ambergris is a rare substance regurgitated by whales and comprised mainly of cuttlefish beaks (to put perhaps too fine a point on it).Though any bottle of Hermes fragrance would be a welcome gift, this one is memorably crafted both inside and out. Italian lemon, orange, Indonesian pepper, pink pepper and elemi intermingle with oak, cedar, vetiver, balsam of Peru and tobacco. This magical fragrance has almost no floral notes, which is unusual in a woman’s fragrance, and the round orange bottle was designed to look like a toy and to invite playfulness. Available at Hermes stores and fine department stores, $55 – $120.

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