Best Valentine's Gifts (2021): romantic presents they'll actually like
No corner shop chocolates, it's time for the ultimate heartfelt gifts
Valentine's Day, though sweet, can sometimes be a little naff. Chocolate boxes and roses are all well and good, but they are clichés. If you're with someone who's not into traditional romance those gifts are probably not going to go down particularly well, either.
So in the name of love (and in the name of you not getting in trouble this February 14th), we've collected some actually good Valentine's gifts. Romantic, luxurious and classy, these will put you in the good books for at least another year.
Below you'll find a book, quality booze, some bigger buys and Valentine's-appropriate clothing that won't make your eyes roll out of your head.
And if you don't have a special someone? Well you may as well treat yourself to something nice...
- The best gin, taste tested
- The best flavoured gin: pink, orange and more
Valentine's Day: non-naff presents they'll actually like
1. Van Hunks rosé mead
Forget roses, this year it’s all about rosé for Valentine’s day. Our choice is this exquisite bottle from Van Hunks. It offers a dry alternative to Sparkling Wine and it’s… mead. This does mean you need a sweet tooth but we love to see this old-school drink reinvented in this way.
2. Old Pulteney’s oyster and chocolate hamper
If you are a fan of whisky then Old Pulteney & Guylian bring you what they are calling “the ultimate romantic coastal dining experience for ‘locked-down lovers’”. It’s a hamper of fresh sustainably sourced oysters, a shucking knife, a bottle of Old Pulteney 12 years old and a box of Guylian’s iconic Sea Shells. The gift bundle ships to the whole of the UK.
3. Compass Box Flaming Heart
Another great whisky to heat up your Valentine’s day. This one is from Compass Box and is a peat-fired smoky whisky with some Islay in the blend. Originally it was released in 2006 but this special edition has been re-released five times since because of its popularity. While stocks last, you also get a signed poster by Compass Box founder, John Glaser.
4. Edinburgh Gin’s personalised Valentine’s Gin
Edinburgh Gin has launched a great personalisation service on its limited-edition Valentine’s Gin. The service swaps out the iconic ’EG’ letters on its Valentine’s Gin label for the initials of a loved one. Edinburgh Gin Valentine’s Gin is a floral gin with peppercorn noted and a nice sweetness.
5. Jo Malone - Scarlet Poppy
This is a brand-new scent from Jo Malone. Scarlet Poppy offers a “rich floral Cologne Intense inspired by the extravagant and exotic great scarlet poppy”. It comes in a superb red bottle and is perfect if you want to spend that bit more on a fragrance this year.
6. Valentine’s Day Gin Tasting Set
If your other half is always on the lookout for new and exciting gins, this could be the perfect present. The Drinks by the Dram set contains five 30ml wax-sealed drams of gin including offerings from Elephant Gin, Herno Gin and That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Rhubarb Triangle Gin. To make it feel extra special, the set comes decorated with a marble-effect sleeve that even has room for you to write a small heartfelt message.
7. Tree-Nation Valentine's Tree for Tribals
Ever thought about reducing your carbon footprint by buying that special someone something sustainable? Tree Nation's idea of a flowering tree is the ideal way to give back to the planet. With a number of initiatives and varieties of tree available, each tree has its carbon offset listed so you know exactly how much you're giving back to the planet. Starting at €1, there's really no reason to side step this as a potential winning present
8. LITTLEWINE subscription pack
We’ve taste tested this one and it’s fantastic. LITTLEWINE is a wine club that’s interactive and ‘planet friendly’, offering organic wines each month - all delivered in compostable packaging. You can choose from three subscriptions: Root, Grower and Cosmos. The February Root offering is a Smith-Chapel Bourgogne Aligoté 2019 and Wasenhaus Spätburgunder 2018. Both wines are sumptuous, with the former going great with seafood.
9. Get Dirty Valentine’s Brunch Kit
This is something different for Valentine’s Day, a brunch kit that includes everything you need to make a Short Rib Crumpet, skinny fries and, all importantly, a Dirty Mary. The kit includes Sauce Shop Ketchup and Ketel One Vodka.
10. Yardley London Urbane Pocket Spray
Designed to slide into your pocket, this men’s fragrance from Yardley London is perfect if you’re just looking for something small (but not pointless) to give your other half. The scent is a combination of bergamot, lavender and tarragon, combined with the richer notes of sandalwood and patchouli. Ideal for men who travel a lot (as it’s hand luggage friendly) or who simply don’t like to carry a bag.
11. Riedel Mini Horn Decanter
Looking for a present for the wine lover in your life? Does that wine lover also happen to be a fan of music? As it so happens, this horn-shaped horn decanter combines the best of both worlds and might just be the present you've been hunting for. Sure, it's not the cheapest of price tags, but if you're looking dig deep this Valentine's Day, this beautiful piece of glassware is well worth considering
12. Tealyra Strawberry Sweetheart blooming tea
Tea provider Tealyra has created a new blend for Valentine’s Day. The Strawberry Sweetheart blooming tea “uses hand-woven Chinese green tea and delicate natural strawberry accents”. It’s a tea that has pieces that unfurl and 'bloom' in the cup when boiling water is added, so this is one opulent tea drinking experience!
13. Little Moons Mochi ice cream
If you're struggling to melt someones heart, look no further than Mochi Japanese ice cream (for something that will, quite literally, melt). Available in 12 flavours, including Salted Caramel, Match Green Tea, Madagascan Vanilla, Strawberries & Cream, the flavour combinations are definitely intriguing. The limited-edition Valentine's offerings are available at pop-up stores for £10 making them the perfect alternative dessert this Valentine's Day.
14. Baileys Red Velvet Cupcake Liqueur
Taking inspiration from the classic cupcake, this limited-edition flavour has a fantastic dusky pink colour. That distinctive Baileys taste is still there, but is combined with additional flavours of chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting. A glass of this is the perfect accompaniment to a cozy night in. Rather have the cake? You can now buy Baileys Red Velvet Cupcakes thanks to The Hummingbird Bakery.
15. Le Creuset Heart-shaped casserole dish
Cooking fans already drool over Le Creuset's beautiful kitchenware. So why not make it extra-romantic with this heart-shaped casserole dish? And it's not just stews or casseroles you can put in this bad boy: it can also be used for baking. So as well as looking good in the kitchen, it can also produce some very sweet looking heart-shaped cakes.
16. Nintendo Switch Lite
This handheld games console will make anybody happy this Valentine's Day. There are a huge host of games to buy for the console, too – Zelda, Pokemon, Super Mario Odyssey and more. Won't hurt for you to sneak a few plays, either...
This is the cheaper version of the Switch, one that can't be docked to play on your TV. But we find we play handheld 90% of the time anyway.
17. Jo Malone Pomegranate Candle
This will really get you in somebody's good books – Jo Malone is a prestige brand for a reason. This richly scented candle also comes beautifully wrapped, so it'll look good when you hand it over, too.
Scents include Lime, Basil & Mandarin, Wild Fig & Casis and Peony & Blush. But we have a particular soft spot for its Pomagranate Noir, which has notes of plum, raspberry and pink pepper as well as pomagranate.
18. LRB Collection: 4 in a Bed
For those of you with bookish partners, this London Review of Books essay collection combines romance with literature in utter style. Pieces about sex come from Mary Beard, Adam Phillips, Frank Kermode and more.
It's no trite Hallmark card affair, though. Here's the description from the LRB: "the pieces in this book look at divorce, bisexuality, boy toys,
masturbation, impotence, bodice-rippers and involuntary celibates
(incels), as well as the erections of Christ and the erotic fantasies of
the French Surrealists."
19. Acqua di Parma Colonia Soap Bar
This delicious citrus scented soap from Acqua di Parma will make your partner smell amazing – so you'll reap the benefits too.
You might not want to make this your sole Valentine's gift, unless you are trying to prove an unsubtle point about hygeine. But this makes a classy add-on present, particularly as the soap is made in Italy.
20. Neom Organics Luxury Bath Foam
Want to play it slightly safer? You can't go wrong with bubble bath, and this luxury bath foam from organic brand Neom is just the ticket. Made with marshmallow, aloe leaf, coconut and sweet almond, a blend of essential oils makes this the ultimate calming gift.