12/13/2013 12:47 pm ET Updated Feb 12, 2014

Fragrant Gifts for the Holidays

When it comes to gift giving, some of us have a particular philosophy: always give something that lasts forever. From this point of view, it would seem that perfumes and complementary products do not qualify as proper gifts. However, it is important to notice that fragrances can often give birth to olfactory memories that last a lifetime. Even more, people can relive a special moment by wearing the same scent they wore on a particularly memorable day.

Now that winter has the Northern hemisphere under its reign, we should choose fragrances that are able to cut through the cold. At low temperatures, heavy notes have a great effect both on the person wearing the perfume and on the ones who encounter someone else wearing it. As a rule, the best scents for the cold weather feature one or more of the following: spices, resins, boozy accords, woody notes, and vanilla or Tonka beans.

Spicy Sweet Fragrances
Few things are as good as an apple pie eaten around Christmas, and fortunately, this smell can be evoked with the help of fragrances, too. If perfumers use apple as a fresh note in summer perfumes, they combine it with such spices as cinnamon and nutmeg to obtain mesmerizing winter scents. Cloves have a similarly magic effect, especially when combined with vanilla, amber and sandalwood. Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss is a great scent emulating this mood with notes of apple, vanilla, cinnamon, plum and sandalwood. For women, Coco Chanel is a mature yet romantic scent that projects notes of clove, amber, rose, tonka and vanilla.

Boozy Fragrances
Regardless if they contain whiskey, rum or cognac notes, will provide the illusion of sitting in front of a fireplace while sipping from a glass of the respective drink. If given the chance, such scents should be worn in this scenario, as they become a complementary accessory to the entire atmosphere. A great perfume house to start looking for boozy scents is Frapin. However, a great one to try is Straight to Heaven by Killian, which features notes of rum, nutmeg and dried fruits. For women, Idole d'Armani is a wonderful boozy perfume featuring notes of ginger, pear and saffron.

Woody Fragrances
Among the woody and resinous notes, agarwood (commonly referred to as oud) has very recently become one of the most popular notes to be used in fragrances. While not a new ingredient in perfumery, oud made a comeback and since then both designers and niche perfumeries have tried to emphasize its role in their creations. Some companies developed entirely new fragrances containing this note, while others preferred to introduce flankers of previous compositions in which the oud note is either added or accentuated. A great scent to start with is Red Oud by Montale, which showcases notes of oud, saffron, rose and pepper. If you want to stick with sweet resinous scents, try scents with amber and honey; Chergui by Serge Lutens includes tobacco, honey and amber; it's on my current favorites!

Perfumes containing any of these notes would make perfect gifts, but there is no doubt that some scents are better than others. Before gifting any fragrance, it's best to ensure the receiver will like the scent. Be sneaky and test out a sample on yourself and then ask the true gift receiver for their opinion.