Fragrance is a perfect Mother’s Day gift option because it is personal and all about pampering. (If you’re not confident about picking out just the right scent, indulge mom with a candle or room diffuser.) To get you thinking outside the typical mega-brand offerings, I’ve pulled together some of my favorite boutique fragrance and gift set collections. Happy shopping!
Caldrea is best known for its home products, but this past February the company added body care to its lineup. The result is three eau de parfums: the exotic Coconut Fig Leaf, the floral Aloe Water Apricot, and—my pick—the earthy but sensual Tea Olive Lime (pictured, above). Each scent is light enough to wear every day, plus they’re all formulated without chemicals (no phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates, DEA, or artificial colors) and sans animal testing.
Get It: $18 each, caldrea.com
For L’Occitane’s La Collection de Grasse, each of the four eau de toilette fragrances meld a different pair of ingredients: citrusy Thé Vert (green tea) & Bigarade (bitter orange), fruity Magnolia & Mûre (blackberry), floral Jasmin & Bergamote, and oriental Vanille & Narcisse. Instead of choosing which one Mom will prefer, pick up all four in a purse-size, travel-friendly gift set.
Get It: $30, usa.loccitane.com
If you want to splurge, choose a perfumer with four centuries of experience like the French House of Houbigant, a maison that created scents for Marie Antoinette and Napoleon. For its Orangers en Fleurs, Houbigant draws from each part of the blooming orange tree, from the peel (essential oils) to the flowers. The perfume is elegantly contained in a modernized version of an early 20th-century Baccarat Crystal bottle, and then placed in a handmade hardwood lacquered box with an engraved emblem. Translation: total luxury.
Get It: $180 (100 mL), Pure Perfume $600 (100 mL), Neiman Marcus, 3030 E. First Ave., 303-329-2600, neimanmarcus.com
Staying in France (but bringing the price tag down considerably) is botanical line Yves Rocher, which has been manufacturing skincare products and scents for 50 years. With a foundation in the company's own organically grown plants, Rocher's Neroli Eau de Parfum is a soft, musky floral fragrance that blends orange blossom and neroli (produced from the blossoms of a bitter orange tree) essential oils.
Get It: $69 (1.6 fl. oz.), yvesrocherusa.com
Local nose Margot Elena’s latest release for her Lollia line is Wander, a romantic combination of floral notes (night-blooming jasmine, water lily) and ancient cypress and dew-drenched greens. Pick up the special Mother's Day 2013 Wander Collection, which includes shea butter hand cream, bubbling bath, and bath oil, all beautifully wrapped up.
Get It: $89, lollialife.com
Newbie FolieM (from the Latin word for leaf) was developed by four Denver women who immersed themselves in the study of perfume. Their first four scents were released in March 2012, with each one highlighting a different characteristic of a woman’s personality (passion, rebellion, impulse, and confidence). My choice: Gift Mom eMpowered, for its potent blend of patchouli and jasmine.
Luxe home ambience and personal care line Antica Farmacista has just launched a new spring/summer fragrance, Bergamot & Ocean Aria. This lovely scent is built on fresh saltwater notes blended with jasmine and lavender, plus sweet bergamot and warm base notes of white musk and oakmoss. Treat Mom to a diffuser ($25-$92) or a bottle of hand cream ($18).
Get It: anticafarmacista.com
Want something other than perfume or body care products? Try Nest’s limited-edition White Narcisse Classic Candle. The intoxicating scent is composed of white narcisse blended with hints of French mimosa, dewy muguet (aka Lily of the Valley), and creamy sandalwood.
Get It: $48, Neiman Marcus, or shop.nestfragrances.com
Option two: Archipelago’s Black Forest Reed Diffuser—a favorite of celebs such as Taylor Swift. Housed in a dramatic black bottle with matching 10-inch reeds, the scent combines Douglas Fir and ebony wood, with a hint of black currant.
Get It: $48, shoparchipelago.com
If your mom is more of a DIY type, book the pair of you a special Mother’s Day Scented Journey at the Scented Studio. This 90-minute workshop lets participants explore the art of perfume making with a guided tour through 22 signature scents, followed by the chance to create your own distinctive fragrance.
Details: Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12, 11 a.m., $55 per person (includes 30 ml bottle, complimentary refreshments, and hors d'oeuvres), 215 Detroit St., 303-333-3315