February 10th, 2014 / posted by paularath

Robert Piguet’s Fracas is sultry and sexy, a classic scent.

Fragrance is among the most popular last minute Valentine’s Day gifts for women AND men.

The key to finding the right fragrance to give? Choose something that suits the person you are giving it to. If she’s an outdoorsy surfer girl, an exotic, deep, sexy scent is probably not going to be her cup of tea. If she’s a refined, sophisticated career woman, something classic and not cloying should be considered.

Local girl Kate Growney, who created her own line of scents called Saffron James, told me “It’s not about what you like, it’s about taking the time to think about what they like. When I choose a perfume for someone I ask myself a lot of questions about who they are: What kind of food they like, what their favorite color is, who is their favorite designer, what kind of music do they listen to, where they grew up, where they like to travel. The answers will tell you a lot about what type of scent they would like.”

Someone who grew up in Hawaii most likely will like a floral scent, as opposed to someone who grew up int eh Midwest, who might prefer woods and grasses. Someone who loves to shop and dresses in couture will like something new and unique, someone who dresses more conservatively will appreciate a classic.


Geir Ness, a fragrance created in Norway, is my macho husband’s fave. Find it at Nordstrom.

It actually can be tough for a woman to choose a fragrance for a man, as we aren’t even really familiar with the forms that men’s scents take. Here’s a mini primer:

  • Perfume: Most concentrated, long-lasting form of fragrance. Meant to be applied sparingly to pulse points. This is not for the guy who is just getting sued to wearing scent!
  • After shave: Created to be applied to the face. There are two forms: One features cooling astringent qualities to heal small nicks; the other incorporates moisturizing ingredients. Formulated to perform for a short time.
It really helps to have a sales associate who will take the time to explore possibilities with you. It’s smart to sneak around and find out what fragrance he or she already has in the cabinet. This gives you a clear starting point and the best possible clues. If you know that he or she shops regularly at a certain boutique or department store, try to find out if a personal shopper has assisted in the past. A good personal shopper can be your best friend when searching for the right scent.

Note: Since all of the Saffron James fragrances are inspired by island flowers (puakenikeni, plumeria, pakalana, ginger for example), these would be a great place to start. Find them at Nordstrom Ala Moana, Red Pineapple in Ward Centre, Guava Shop in Haleiwa and Place on School Street. Some of these fragrances can also be unisex, in my opinion.

Even if you choose a fragrance that turns out not to be a fave, the gift of scent is always appreciated, especially if the giver has gone to the trouble of exploring your personal tastes.

– Paula Rath

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