Illustration: Penelope Dullaghan
Looking for a way to find the perfect perfume gift? Sephora calls its Scentsa—a wall-mounted, touch-activated screen in all of its U.S. stores—the ultimate fragrance GPS. I challenged the program to guide me to a fragrance that would charm my most discriminating friend. After tapping "discover your signature scent," I channeled her as I went through a seven-question quiz. The Scentsa suggested a dozen options. When I presented them all to my friend, she gave only two a thumbs-up. Although the GPS led me astray as a gift-giving tool, it is certainly a fragrance lover's dream machine. You can also use it to access information about more than 7,000 scents by typing in their names or searching by brand. (If a scent has been discontinued or isn't carried at Sephora, Scentsa suggests similar options.) Details include top, middle, and base notes, perfumer, history, and "scent style" (i.e., sophisticated or romantic). You can search by your favorite notes, too. The results can be overwhelming—"orange blossom" turned up 37 fragrances—but if you're willing to sniff your way through them, you might find a new favorite.
— Jenny Bailly Before you hit the store: Read O's Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Scent