Lisa Hoffman Variations

Oh my oh my oh my. It is really not often that something lands upon my desk that I fall in love with as much as this. I’m going to start off by telling you the price, which I normally wouldn’t do, but in this case I do so without a single shred of embarrassment, because this item is so absolutely luxurious, so special, so different, that it’s worth every penny.

The Lisa Hoffman Variations in ‘Japanese Agarwood’ costs £90. There, I’ve said it. And now that I’ve said it, and I sit here looking at the beautiful packaging, the soft leather pouch (which alone should probably cost more than £90!) the glass vials of finest fragrance; £90 seems actually rather underpriced. Let me explain.

I have a passport cover from Smythson of London, and it cost more than £90. (Oh, the shame.) Like Lisa Hoffman’s Variations, it came beautifully packaged in a tissue paper-lined box (actually, the Variations box is far lovelier than the Smythson boxes!) and was made of the very best leather. Now consider this; the leather holder shown above isn’t even the main event! It’s the perfumes that are the ‘product’ – the pouch just holds them, like little gold-tipped bullets.

You must be able to tell, by now, how incredibly in love I am with this set of fragrances. Never have I included so many pictures in a post – never have I reviewed something immediately upon receipt, and never have I grabbed my filming schedule (yes, I do have one – I’m sad) and quickly pencilled in a ‘Special Gifts’ video just so that I can feature a product! So do you get the gist of this? I L-O-V-E it.

The Variations contains four pulse-point scents (each of them 5ml) for different times of the day: Morning, Daytime, Evening and Bedtime. Each scent is a variant of the ‘base scent’ – in this case Japanese Agarwood. These scents are truly outstanding – so far removed from the usual perfume notes. As you add scent throughout the day, the notes develop and change so that you are creating absolutely unique fragrances! What a splendid idea. It’s quite a ritual, taking the tiny roller-ball vials from the holder and pressing them to the pulse-points (I stopped at wrists and neck!) and it really makes applying scent into something absolutely luxurious.

The collection is available in four other scents; French Clary Sage, Tuscan Fig, Tunisian Neroli and Madagascar Orchid. I desperately want ALL of them. But do you know what I’m thinking? And this is partly why this luxury item excites me so; it would make the most stupendous gift. Can you imagine? A ‘coming of age’ present, an 18th birthday gift, graduation, anniversary – somehow, it’s so much more personal than jewellery, and – crikey! – a whole world away from simply gifting somebody ‘perfume’. Best friend getting married? Mum turning 50? 60? 70? This is something that any woman would covet, and it’s virtually timeless.

Grab your pencils and write after me: “Dear Santa, this year I’ve been a very good girl…”

Lisa Hoffman’s Variations, £90 from Harvey Nichols.

UPDATE: Bloody hell – guess how much this is in the States? $95. I know what I’ll be stocking up on next time I cross the pond…

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