There’s nothing quite like Christmas and it’s nearly here again. Perfume is a perfect gift – it’s old, it’s new, it’s always exciting – but make sure you treat yourself first. My personal tip to take the sting out of Christmas shopping is to recommend that you start by buying something great for your own use and amusement. And let’s face it, scent is a sound investment: it enhances your personality, improves your mood and bucks you up as efficiently as a pink gin. PLUS, if thoughtfully chosen it will give intense pleasure to everyone you meet. So it’s evidently a sin not to treat yourself to a new cologne – or maybe two – for the Festive Season.

Here is a baker’s dozen of Christmas Crackers to keep you fragrant and diverted throughout the Twelve Days. Have a good one!

Under the Mistletoe

With a spritz of VETIVER FATAL by Atelier Cologne. Most vetivers enhance a chap’s masculine aura and make a girl go weak at the knees. The scent is warm, earthy and classic; vetiver essential oil is excellent for muscular relief and is very grounding – so this cologne is reassuringly virile and confident. Sharp lemon keeps it clean, there’s enigmatic oud for a darkly handsome kick and violet leaves for a fresh greenness to pick up on the mistletoe overhead…which with this scent you may hardly need.

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Panto Matinee

A wicked uncle can convincingly play the Demon King for his little charges and add to the stage thrills by steeping himself in Nu_ Be’s SULPHUR before settling down in the Front Circle on a dark December afternoon. One of a collection of fragrances inspired by the Big Bang and the light that set fire to the stars, this is a truly chthonic scent to make your hair stand agreeably on end and frighten the horses. Pimento, cinnamon, black angelica, ginger and opoponax ignite inner fires within  earthy subterranean caves of oud. Ferocious and feisty: a ghost story for Christmas.

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Playing Santa

“You don’t have to be Father Christmas, just act like him” – Garbo. Hope they’ve left out the port for you. Meanwhile brace yourself for the stocking-stuffing with STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN by Kilian and its generous tot of rum spiced with aromatic nutmeg. Virile dark notes of patchouli and tactile soft smooth rosewood will ensure Yummy Mummy is eager to kiss Santa Claus, while the fragrance leaves a suitably exotic sugary sillage on the children’s landing indicating the passage of a man of magic.

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Christmas Lunch

Cut a swathe as you play the genial host or perfect guest; and after the feast relax your packed tum with a the crystallized plum liqueur accord of Kilian’s LIAISONS DANGEREUSES. Cool green geranium oil (calming, antidepressant and excellent for detoxifying the liver) contrasts with warm carnal musks and creamy soothing sandalwood. Lie back and revel in a sweet haze of precious woods, letting rare and succulent oils induce a mood of hedonistic well-being.

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The Hangover

You need the calm clear coolth of Creed’s NEROLI SAUVAGE or Atelier Cologne’s GRAND NEROLI. Soft peaceful and discreet orange flower oils to soothe the head and calm the body. Both fragrances lower your stress levels and make you feel washed through, poised, pure and clean. The Creed version is rich with woodsy notes and the House’s signature ambergris.

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GRAND NEROLI is super-light but long lasting, with touches of bracing lemon and bitter green galbanum. You’ll be on your feet again by noon.

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All Alone at Christmas

It’s not all gloom. Indulge in some much-needed quality time just for you. Recoup your energies, nourish yourself and plan for 2014. Shut out the world with double-lined wine velvet curtains and a good roaring log fire. Francis Kurkdjian’s VELVET OUD is heavy, dense, opulent, hypnotic and comforting using the finest quality Laos oud, long prized in the East for its spiritually cleansing qualities: plus a touch of Christmas cinnamon, an inhalation of golden saffron. So that when those unexpected kind friends ring the door bell you’ll be centred, smelling fantastic and all ready to party.

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Office Parties…

….THE END OF THE WORLD by Etat Libre d’Orange will fit the bill. Manic but fun: and the effects last a LONG time. Sweet dry accords of popcorn are laced with the gunpowder scent of a pulled cracker mixed with toasted sesame, cumin, styrax, powdery orris and steady old vetiver. Exhibits a lively exuberant mood like all good team players – and  has depth and character. Releases inhibitions and puts you at ease with yourself while the vivid orange and gold packaging chimes in with the paper chains and tinsel.

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Boxing Day Footie Match

Out with the guys wearing Creed’s most successful fragrance ever. Amazing AVENTUS is bright and breezy, great for outdoors, as well as unassumingly stylish and devastating in aphrodisiac impact. ( ‘Cos girls go to the match, too ). Sunny top notes of pineapple, apple and blackcurrant mature into birch wood, juniper, oakmoss and patchouli. A touch of jasmine is brought in to exploit its edgy indolic animal influence. Aventus – which does sound rather like a European club – is extroverted, classic and easy-going: the perfect crowd pleaser with a genuine charm and artistry.

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Stylish Christmas Eve Dinner

Wow them with something extra-special, unexpected and entirely individual. UNE FLEUR DE CASSIE by Editions de Parfums is the big floral sleeper which fragrance maestro Frederic Malle recommends for the male connoisseur. Resplendently floral, it is nonetheless almost animalic in its intensity and sits fantastically well on a man’s skin, especially if you are dark or olive complexioned. The core of mimosa gives a woody richness complemented by touches of clove carnation and the sensuousness of apricot. Knock ’em dead.

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Carol Service

Whether you’re at Midnight Mass or doing the streets with a collecting tin, Andy Tauer’s INCENSE ROSE is the perfect accoutrement. Don’t have a fit at the mention of rose: this is a bitter, fumey blend of myrrh, patchouli and balsamic resins further complicated with cedar, vetiver and cardamom. Wonderfully smoky and High Church: the hint of Bulgarian rose helps to relax  the formality and tempers the acridity. A truly singular scent which combines all the darkness of mid-winter with a woody warmth and an other worldly psychotropic feel. Open your chest: sing up and breathe deeply.

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Brisk Walk

Get some fresh air and exercise with Huitieme Art’s MONSIEUR, a magnificent evocation of the smells of the mountain woods and streams of rural France. No floral or citric notes, just a breathtaking burst of woody accords from green poplar and papyrus to vetiver roots, forest floor patchouli, aromatic cedar and clean clear sandalwood. Immensely stylish and accomplished; perfect for an energetic and elegant gentleman of any age. Luxuriously simple, highly sophisticated but above all classically versatile: as much at home in the New Year office as on a winter break or   taking the dog down the fields.

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Fagging Round the Sales

Whether you’re hauled out at dawn for the Boxing Day bargains or simply mopping up the final reductions in the dog days of January you’ll need to be calm, sweet-tempered and ready to open your wallet. So first invest in a bottle of Mona di Orio’s EAU ABSOLUE, a summation of all its creator’s memories of Mediterranean summers. Clementine, mandarin, bergamot are spiced with pink pepper before warming to a soothing base of resinous cistus, bay, vetiver and cedar with a dash of sexy animalic labdanum at the base. Calm, escapist, mesmerising: keeps you poised, cool and on an even keel whatever the high street may throw at you.”

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