Fragrance Families Explained – A look into Olfactory Groups

Fragrance Families Explained – A look into Olfactory Groups

Fragrances are very complex formulations with an almost infinite number of olfactory notes and combinations. But most people will notice that they get drawn to a certain type of scent consistently over and over again. So for the purposes of simplifying the decision making process for all perfume shoppers we split the fragrance world into 4 main fragrance families.

The families and the olfactory notes which fall within each family are best shown through a Fragrance Wheel. Where the sub-families next to each other are most similar and are more likely to blend well with each other and with the same logic the ones furthest from each other are least related.

One of the most common families. Used in a lot of the most famous scents. It usually adds a more feminine characteristic to a scent, but very often you’ll find floral notes in unisex and men scents. The overwhelming impression of a primarily floral scent will be one that reminds you of
Floral Sub-families:
Fruity – Scents like peach, pear and apple and other sweet and edible flavors.
Floral – Scents like rose and lily and other smells like freshly cut flowers.
Soft Floral – Soft, sweet and powdery notes with a hint of creamy.
Floral Oriental – Floral notes combined with spicy notes.

Oriental scents are known for their richness. Fragrances associated with this family are generally full and heady scents full of spices, resins and herbs to promote opulence and appeal. Oriental fragrances will often be described as exotic and/or seductive.
Floral Sub-families:
Soft Oriental – Incense and warm spices, made lighter by soft, floral notes.
Oriental – Sweet, warm notes like musk, vanilla and cinnamon.
Woody Oriental – Earthy notes common in the woody family, mixed with spicy and sweet notes.

Woody scents are normally warm and opulent blends. While cedar and vetiver will be the drier woody scents, sandalwood and patchouli are some of the most common ones. To tone down the warmth of woody notes, fragrances will often include some fresh notes like floral and citrus.
Floral Sub-families:
Woods – Scents like cedarwood, sandalwood, vetiver.
Mossy Woods – Sweet, smoothand earthy scents like oakmoss and amber
Dry Woods – Smoldering and smoky scents mixed with leathery notes.

The fresh family are filled with bright, positive, clean scents. Oceanic, citrusy and herby scents are all part of this fragrance family. There are more men fragrances in this category than women, fresh scents are often paired with spicy notes to create some nuanced fragrances.
Floral Sub-families:
Aromatic – Fresh herb notes mixed with woody or lavender scents.
Citrus – Tangy and zesty notes like bergamot and mandarins.
Water – Oceanic or aquatic scents that remind us of the sea or rain.
Green – Scents that will remind us of freshly mowed lawns and green leaves.

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