Perfume is a many-splendored thing. It is a gateway to armchair travel, a Proustian madeleine worn on the pulse points, an invisible means of getting dressed. This time of year, it also makes a worthwhile gift: for your own mother or the one you’re married to, or maybe someone who fills that supportive role without the biological fine print. What makes fragrance particularly rewarding is the sense of possibility in so small a package. Barring some of the egregiously outré perfumes out there, this is not a pass/fail test. It’s a fill-in-the-blank exercise, wherein the recipient determines how a fragrance makes her feel—in a cerebral way, a creative way, maybe a carnal way. (She becomes a mother somehow.)
The pool of worthy perfumes out there is vast, which is why we have corralled 10 notable women—all of them mothers—to share a current favorite. Let a memory of towering redwoods be your guide (as with Sky High Farm Universe’s Daphne Seybold), or cosplay a swanky hotel staycation (à la D.S. & Durga’s Kavi Moltz and Erin Kleinberg of Sidia). There are scented oils that bloom on skin, and leathery perfume that evokes a cherished matriarch. Plenty to love.
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