Out of all our senses, smell is the one that triggers memory the most, making fragrance one of the most personal presents someone can receive.

A gift that shows somebody just how much you’ve really thought about them, a well-chosen perfume can become an important part of someone’s daily routine, and serve as a way to unlock cherished memories once the bottle has been stored away for a while.

That being said, the potential to get it wrong also means that fragrance is one of the most perilous presents you could choose this Christmas.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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That’s not to say you should avoid it completely though. The trick here is to do a little investigative work by knowing what they already wear and asking in-store fragrance experts to help pinpoint which olfactive family their signature scent belongs to. 

Or, if that all proves too tricky, the good news is there are other types of odorous delights you can invest in such as candles, diffusers and room sprays.  

If you do want to tempt and treat a loved one with the precious gift of perfume, start by taking a peek at their dressing table to get an indication of the types of whiff they like. 

Let’s say they’re the type of person that likes to change their scents with the season. In this case, the smoky embers and festive wafts of winter are a great place to start, so keep a look out for warming and more intense ingredients like vetiver, patchouli, leather and sandalwood. 

Huda Beauty, Kayali Elixir, £84, Cult Beauty

For women, our picks go to Huda Beauty’s Kayali in Elixir, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Scandal by Night Intense and Elizabeth and James’s Nirvana Bourbon.

At the lighter end of the spectrum, floral, sweet and citrusy smells will provide a scent that’s refreshing and light on the skin. Here, look for fragrances that include ingredients like mandarin, lavender and rose, which can be found in new launches like Joy by Dior and Givenchy’s L’interdit.

Jean Paul Gaultier, Scandal Intense, £61.20, John Lewis

When it comes to signature scents for men, those with a mounting collection or a unique nose will benefit from something distinctive like Maison Margiela’s Jazz Club or Comme des Garcon’s Concrete.

But if you’re really unsure, you can’t go wrong with well-known classics and we’re yet to find a guy that doesn’t like the traditionally masculine whiff of Chanel’s Bleu. 

Joy by Dior, £63.75, John Lewis

If all else fails, or you’re shopping for more of a homebody than a beauty buff, candles, diffusers, room sprays and oil burners are a great alternative.

For products that deliver an instant hit of fragrance, a good place to start is with the scents of the holiday season and as luck would have it, there’s an ever-growing market for home fragrance options in the scents we love about Christmas – think spicy cinnamon, freshly baked cookies and sparkling fruits.

Comme des Garcons, Concret, £114, Feel Unique

A relative one-stop shop for all things scented, your best bet is to hit The White Company where you’ll find an array of candles and diffusers in scents like Winter, Fir Tree, Pomegranate and Orange Rind.

Alternatively, if the person you’re buying for enjoys a pamper session or is in need of a little self-love, choose a product that contains ingredients known to help you destress such as lavender, jasmine, bamboo or vanilla. 

Pomegranate Botanical Candle, £25, The White Company

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