Photo of Marlene Stang

Marlene Stang

Professional Fragrance Expert

Best Holiday Perfume & Best Women's Fragrance

Featured On:

  • MTV
  • E Entertainment
  • TLC
You have only to encounter the plethora of scent strips in any fashion or beauty magazine to gather that the fragrance market is both vast and forever expanding. And while there are those who remain undaunted by this fact because they are loyal to only one fragrance, many more scent seekers are left to ask themselves “where do I begin?!” I would like to begin 2008 with a review of what I feel are the best buys for celebrating the holiday season, whether you intend to do so at a big New Year’s bash or on your sofa.

Below you will find those fragrances that I feel are the Best of the Best, as well as those that are the Best of the Rest holiday scents for those of you who are on a budget. My aim is to present to you a range of fragrances that traverse genres, running the gamut from warm and sultry to aromatic and unisex. Some of them I select by virtue of their festive qualities, while others I select on the basis of their suitability for colder weather wear. Fragrance is truly about self-expression, so always remember to wear what you love, keeping in mind that your own body chemistry is any fragrance’s final and most important ingredient!

The best holiday perfume never goes out of style. Choose the best women's fragrances with our help. We recommend the best holiday scents that will show her how much you love her this holiday.

Best Womens Fragrance - Holiday 2007 by Marlene Stang

The Best You Can Get

  • Costes Eau de Toilette

    Marlene says: Costes fragrance was created for the luxurious and ultra-hip Hotel Costes in Paris by Olivia Giacobetti, and is an alluring mélange that begins with a burst of coriander and white pepper, evolves to reveal the freshness of lavender, laurel and rose and then ultimately warms to leave behind a dry, woody, purring trail of incense, musk, and woods. It is a scent that leaves people wanting more, which is fine since it is also available in a wide array of body care products, a candle, and an ambience spray.

    • Unisex
    • Spicy
    • Aphrodisiac
    • Sultry
    • Part of a range
  • Joy Comes From Within Eau de Parfum

    Marlene says: Featuring top notes of almond and nutmeg, a single orange blossom middle note and base notes of tonka bean, sandalwood, and musk, it is most certainly a gourmand fragrance, albeit a sheer one. It is perfect not only for lovers of “yummy” scents, but also those who prefer a scent that dries down “clean”. I invite those who belong to the latter group to try this lovely and category-defying fragrance if they are feeling adventurous and are looking for something that is at once familiar and totally different from anything they have ever tried.

    • Sheer
    • Enveloping
    • Warm
    • Fresh
    • Intimate
  • Saffron James Pūnono Eau de Parfum

    Marlene says: I cannot for the life of me think of a floral fragrance more suited to winter-wear and the possibility of a glamorous night out than Pūnono by Saffron James, launched but a month ago. Katherine Growney, a native of Hawaii, developed this fragrance as an homage to the Puakenikeni flower that is so beloved on that island. Designed to capture the spicy creaminess of this bloom whose blush-tinged petals emit an intoxicating aroma, it features notes of clove, ylang, pikake, vanilla, Tunisian Opium, and musk. This is not a perfume for the faint of heart but, that being said, its evolution on the skin is highly natural in the sense that wearing it is the closest one can come to emulating the effect of rubbing actual flower petals on the skin. Rendering it even more special is a subtle incense note that imparts this fragrance with a sacredness that must be experienced to be understood. Pūnono is an exquisite fragrance with an intricate composition, and is one of three fragrances designed to honor the flowers of Hawaii.

    • Floral-oriental
    • Spicy
    • Rich
    • Warm
    • Exceptionally long-wearing
  • Annick Goutal Mandragore Eau de Toilette

    Marlene says: The legendary Mandrake root (long believed to possess magical powers) served as the inspiration for this fragrance created by Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen. Containing a bracing array of notes that includes bergamot, black pepper, ginger, spearmint, star anise, mandrake, boxwood, and sage leaf, it crackles and pops on this skin before drying down to reveal a woody, slightly powdery finish. I think it is the way in which this fragrance juxtaposes the warmth of spice with its cooler notes that makes it a lovely interpretation of winter's magic, at once evoking brisk air and the warmth of a pomander. This is an excellent fragrance for those who prefer clean, fresh scents, and is particularly versatile as it can just as easily be worn on a sunlit beach.

    • Unisex
    • Clean
    • Citrusy
    • Herbaceous
    • Woody
  • Silk by Jaliane Perfume Oil

    Marlene says: From Jaliane Sommers, creater of the Bagutta Life line of fragrances, comes Silk, a hand-crafted arrangement of white amber, vanilla and marine notes that is sold in a hand-cut, Italian glass bottle. A little dab goes along way with this sheer yet almost smoky vanilla fragrance. On my own skin, it is somewhat reminiscent of fine bourbon, and conjures images of that lovely, reddish-brown-hued liquid swirling in a glass as it catches the light of a fire. The marine notes are more gently present, and impart to this scent a freshness that is infinitely compelling. It’s silliage or “throw” is subtle, making it a good choice for anyone who prefers it when others must lean in to smell their fragrance.

    • Deep
    • Gourmand
    • Rich
    • Alluring
    • Highly concentrated

You will be happy with any of these

  • Pacifica Spanish Amber Perfume

    Marlene says: Don’t let the price point fool you – this fragrance smells much more expensive than it actually is. Amber-based fragrances in this price range can tend to smell (and you will hear this term so, so often) “old ladyish,” but not so with Pacifica Spanish Amber. Containing notes of bergamot, elemi (an aromatic resin that is steam distilled from the tree of the same name), rose geranium, sandalwood, and amber, (and formulated with natural grain alcohol), it is amazingly long-wearing. The notes in this fragrance make their presence felt by alternately casting light and shadows upon the dominant amber note, with the bergamot setting it aglow only to then allow the fennel-like elemi and rose geranium to blow coolly over it just before the sandalwood nuzzles up against it and deepens it. Point being, it wears like a single note, albeit one with a lovely and subtle texture.

    • Unisex
    • Woody
    • Light
    • Warm
    • Sophisticated
  • Sean John Unforgivable Woman Eau de Parfum

    Marlene says: I was very surprised by how much this fragrance enchanted me, particularly since I find so many of the celebrity fragrances on the market to be very close facsimiles of one another – floral, fruity, and boring. Unforgivable Woman features notes of bergamot, orange flower, jasmine, and coco de mer (a fruit produced by a member of the palm family), and takes on a startlingly luminescent life as it interacts with one’s body heat. Milky is an apt word to describe how this perfume evolves on the skin, with the orange flower and jasmine in the middle note suggesting the subtle scent of orange and jasmine blossoms floating on water. The floral notes, in other words, are subtle, burning down to reveal a musky base note that might even challenge self-described enemies of musk fragrances. A sheer yet deep fragrance that is lovely for the colder months.

    • Sexy
    • Sheer
    • Intimate
    • Possibly even unisex, despite the name
  • Satu Plum Nectar Eau de Parfum

    Marlene says: Satu, which in Finnish means fairytale, is a name that perfectly suits this very youthful, whimsical fragrance. An Anthropologie exclusive, it comes in a beautiful silk-screened bottle and features notes of plum, musk and blackberry-infused patchouli. I couldn’t help but smile every time I caught a whiff of myself when wearing this, and I am not even usually one to wear fruity fragrances. The plum note in this fragrance is in no way cloyingly sweet, but rather more reminiscent of the tartness you experience when biting into the actual fruit. The patchouli/musk accord in the base lends this blend a sophistication that prevents it from being another trite, fruity scent. If you find yourself lacking in holiday spirit or dragging yourself to another party, this is a worthwhile spritz, especially since it is really hard not to feel energized by its jubilance.

    • Crisp
    • Bright
    • Fruity
    • Tart
    • Uplifting
  • Mistral Vanille de Bali Eau de Parfum

    Marlene says: Founder Matthew Tilker began Mistral as a soap company after studying soap making in France with an expert in the field, but has since expanded his line to include body care and perfume. He developed his fragrances with perfumers in Grasse and they definitely have a very European feel. This one is no exception, as it is not a pedestrian vanilla by any stretch of the imagination. Also featuring notes of amber, patchouli, and geranium, it is almost woody from the get-go, which reads more like the dryness of an actual vanilla bean as it evolves on the skin. I have always found the melding of vanilla with woodier notes to be compelling and addictive when done well, and for me it is a combination that celebrates the best outdoor/indoor facets of the winter experience, provided you live in an environment that registers the change of season.

    • Deep
    • Rich
    • Woody
    • Sophisticated
    • Long-wearing
  • Oiseau Flaming June Eau de Toilette

    Marlene says: Another gem of a fragrance value that can be found at Anthropologie. Comprised of notes of strawberry, gardenia, and ginger root, this eau de toilette is unbelievably long lasting for its concentration and a wonderful value. The strawberry note in this fragrance is, as in the case of Satu’s plum note, more tart than sweet, while the gardenia note’s very full-blown roundness lingers for quite some time before giving way to the powdery yet kicky ginger root in the base. This fragrance isn’t edgy or daring, just very, very pretty, and a good “going out” selection this holiday season.

    • Fruity-floral
    • Powdery
    • Excellent silliage
    • Alluring
    • Feminine

Related Articles

For the best holiday perfume, turn to our experts who scour the Web for the scent that she can't live without. Our suggestions for the best women's fragrance helps weed through the many perfumes out there. These best holiday scents are also always the best price on the Web for the best value women's eau de parfum.