THE IN-TRAY

Mother’s Day sorted: 10 fragrances with personality (which is yours?)

HOLD THE CHOCOLATES AND THE FLOWERS. THIS MOTHER’S DAY, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON SPRITZING IS AN EVOCATIVE FRAGRANCE. HERE’S OUR EDIT OF THE BEST IN SHOW.

There are certain crowd-pleasers we all reach for as easy solutions to Mother’s Day gifting. Candles are one, pyjamas another. Also? Boxes of chocolates and blooms. These presents might be met with a polite smile, but they do tend to lack personality. And if you ask me, Mother’s Day is the day to let your mama know you see her for exactly who she is. To do that, you’ve got to look past her role as caregiver and matriarch to the complex woman beneath, then choose something personal for her.

Having recently become a mum myself, Mother’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning. Truth be told, I’m suddenly ashamed of the gifts I’ve given my own mother over the years. This change in perspective came as a result of discovering that your identity often takes a hit when a kid comes into the picture. For instance, my friend Susie, once best known for her ability to quote every Seinfeld episode, is now mostly referred to as “Willow-with-the-red-hair’s mum”. Another pal, Elle, is a member of Mensa (!) and makes the best green curry I’ve had outside of Phuket. The way she tells it she’d transformed into “the lady with twins” before she’d even left the hospital.

For me, fragrance highlights what you appreciate most about the recipient. (Read: It’s perfect for Mother’s Day.) When carefully considered, the gift of scent can be incredibly special. Gifting perfume says, “I thought about you and what you like, and then I found it—bottled.” And it also says, “I think you’re tops and I’d like you to feel amazing when you wear this.” Sure, it can be a gamble to get perfume right, but pick wisely and it will win you favourite child status.

Keep scrolling for the latest and greatest fragrances on shelf at MECCA and their perfect mum match.

If she loves: Reading in the sun and coconut tanning oil
She’ll love: Byredo Sundazed

The latest addition to the Byredo family, this is a refined take on what I like to call “suntan lotion-esque” scents. A little bit zesty (mandarin and lemon) and a little bit sweet (cotton candy), it’s a lot nice. The formula includes an interesting accord called “skin musk” which evokes the exact smell of sun-kissed skin. If your mama is planning to wait out the winter watching The O.C, she’ll dig this.

If she loves: Eating apricot cobbler in her silk pyjamas
She’ll love: Jo Malone Silk Blossom

Named for its key note—the unctuous, apricot-scented silk blossom—this juice is airy and delicate. Expect a burst of spicy bergamot on the first spritz before it settles into a hazy, vanilla-spiked floral. Perfect for a mum who’s absolutely no-nonsense, it’s fresh and elegant, and not fussy in the slightest.

If she loves: A smoky eye on a mum’s night out
She’ll love: Tocca Cleopatra

Inspired by its namesake’s storied beauty rituals, this sultry scent is a blend of juicy grapefruit, creamy white flowers and peach nectar. (It’s easy to imagine a modern-day Cleopatra misting it onto pulse points before meeting up with her Marc Antony tbh.) After an hour on the skin it gets even more seductive thanks to a blend of voluptuous notes like patchouli, amber and vanilla in the base.

If she loves: Clean hair and men’s aftershave
She’ll love: Diptyque Eau de Minthé

Named in honour of a watery nymph from Greek mythology, this unique scent is evocative of freshly-scrubbed skin. Surprisingly refreshing, the cocktail of peppery mint balanced with rose, lavender and aromatic patchouli will make her think of sipping herbal tea post-treatment in a gender-neutral spa.

If she loves: Pinning Pernille Teisbaek’s outfits.
She’ll love: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Amyris Femme

Picture a chic woman strolling down a street in Copenhagen in vintage blue jeans, cashmere and leather pumps—she could very easily be wearing this. Based on Jamaican amyris (a super-fragrant sandalwood varietal) she’ll sense a cosiness, but the overall impression is crisp, clean and citrusy.

If she loves: Roses, duh.
She’ll love: Le Labo Rose 31

While there’s nothing wrong with a posy of red roses (or box of the long-stemmed variety), neither are a match for this made-to-order scent. Le Labo is known for its modern-but-classic fragrances, and this one is a beautiful reimagining of one of the oldest perfumery notes there is. (Read: rose.) Spiked with cumin and resinous olibanum (aka frankincense) it has an exotic twist that’ll set her apart.

If she loves: Cracking the top of a crème brûlée
She’ll love: 100Bon Davana et Vanille

If she’s ever wanted to smell like an expensive dessert (or just likes eating them), this bourbon vanilla, lychee and sugared mandarin scent will be just what her sweet-tooth ordered. It’s unapologetically sweet but a teensy hint of something like smoky tobacco keeps it from bordering on the saccharine.

If she loves: Red lipstick on date night
She’ll love: Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Is it weird to buy your mum an overtly sexy perfume? I’m not sure but, personally, I’m for it. If you are too, this one is a classic and famed for its ability to attract compliments. (To be frank, it’s more seductive than Jason Momoa holding a basket of puppies.) It starts off sweet with melon and creamy coconut before slowly morphing into something sensual thanks to lashings of X-rated tuberose.

If she loves: Reminiscing about her Italian honeymoon
She’ll love: Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Tree

The Replica series is all about evoking beautiful scent-based memories. This addition to the range was inspired by Palermo in the eighties, and while it does conjure up the lemon tree it’s named for, it’s more nuanced than she might imagine—spicy cardamom, grassy yerba mate and lime give it complexity.

If she loves: Her Acne black leather jacket
She’ll love: Floral Street Black Lotus

Built on a base of syrupy black cherry, lush centifolia rose and smoky red peppercorn, this statement fragrance is equal parts feminine and masculine. (It blurs the line so completely it’s almost unisex.) Disarmingly erotic, it smells like fresh flowers, tobacco, spiced whiskey, and lipstick-kissed skin.

Words by Lisa Patulny
Photography by Nick Dale
Styling by Marsha Golemac
April 2019

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