Picture the scenario: A loved one has asked for perfume as a gift or Christmas treat but wants you to "surprise" them with your choice.
Simple, you think - until you reach the perfume counter to be greeted with hundreds of scent bottles, an overwhelming waft of aromas, and only one nose to find 'the' elusive fragrance.
The search for a scent is no easy feat but can be so rewarding when you get it right.
More than two thirds of people say that when they wear a scent they received as a gift, it brings back memories of the person who gave it to them, a new survey by P&G Prestige Fragrances reveals.
"The main goal of giving a fragrance is to make someone fall in love with their new scent and enjoy the luxurious experience of wearing it," says Will Andrews, P&G fragrance expert.
Whether you're looking for a new scent or buying a dressing table indulgence for another, develop a nose for picking the perfect perfume with our guide.
Think you've got your present recipient sussed? Buying a fragrance gift isn't just about picking out the scents you like, but guessing whether it will suit their individual mood and style.
"The power of perfume is very much linked to personality," Will explains. "Picture the personality of the fragrance wearer and think of their hobbies and passions - often there are clues that will lead to a preferred fragrance."
Don't buy the first fragrance you see because it's reduced or flaunting a buy-one-get-one-free offer tag.
Psychologist Geoffrey Beattie says the effects of perfume can't be underestimated: "The right perfume lifts your mood state but it has to connect to the kind of person you are," he warns.
"Smell is strongly linked to emotions and memories. There's nothing more provocative than a spritz of perfume to bring memories of a special person or event flooding back."
An independent soul who shuns convention and acts on impulse. She seeks out adventure and new experiences, yet she's sensitive with hidden depths. Look for fragrances with fresh fruity or woody top notes.
Try: Hugo Boss Orange EDT, from £26 (nationwide); Gap The Original EDT, £19.99 (The Perfume Shop); Issey Miyake A Scent EDP, from £29.50 (nationwide).
A day dreamer with a soft heart and oodles of femininity. She is sentimental and traditional in her tastes with a warm personality. Seek scents with a luxurious, lingering soft woody base.
Try: Very Hollywood Michael Kors EDP, from £33.28 (nationwide); Vera Wang Princess gift set, £45 (nationwide); Idole d'Armani by Giorgio Armani EDP, from £34 (nationwide).
Utterly irresistible, every man turns their head when she walks into a room. She oozes self confidence and knows just how to get her own way. Try stronger parfum scents that will act as her love potion with intoxicating floral and musky notes to leave a lasting impression.
Try: Givenchy Ange ou Démon EDP, from £33.78 (01932 233 824); La Perla J'aime La Nuit EDP, from £33 (nationwide); Valentino Rock n' Rose Couture EDP, from £29.99 (The Fragrance Shop).
Outgoing with a youthful sensuality. She loves to stand out in a crowd and people gravitate towards her infectious personality. Look for scents with enlivening fruity top notes balanced out with warm vanilla and creamy musk base notes.
Try: Marc Jacobs Lola EDP, £35 (nationwide); Ed Hardy Original For Her EDP, from £26.50 (The Perfume Shop); Ghost Luminous eau de toilette, £23 (nationwide).
Scent hunting tips
Still having trouble deciding on the scent to wrap up for a loved one this Christmas? Avoid a screwed-up disapproving nose by sniffing out their ideal scent with some detective work. Follow these fragrance finding tips:
- Have a snoop on their dressing table and find out what they're wearing at the moment. Check the concentration, eau de toilette (EDT), parfum or unisex cologne, to assess the preferred strength of their scents.
- Jot down the names of her current favourites and take them to a beauty counter or perfume shop. Consultants will help you suss out her favourite 'fragrance family' and find a similar scent. Somebody who adores heady musky fragrances won't appreciate a light fruity floral.
- Check out The Fragrance Shop's new fragrance finder. Their expert Dr Nose will guide you through each step of your perfume preferences and offer her recommendations before you make your purchase. Visit www.thefragranceshop.co.uk
- Indulge her with her signature scent by buying a gift set. Layering with shower gels, body lotions and body sprays will build up a base of long-lasting perfume molecules on the skin giving her a whole new fragrance experience.