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Fragrance Families

Fragrance Families

Fragrance Families

Fragrance Families is a term that is used in the fragrance industry as a classification system. 

It is a way to categorize fragrances with similar aromas, notes, or styles.

The Fragrance Wheel is a tool similar to the Color Wheel, where the family groups, and subcategories, are broken down to be able to help both those in the industry, and connoisseurs alike. The modern wheel used today was created by fragrance expert Michael Edwards in 1992, but versions of it have been around since 1949.

The main categories in the fragrance family are broken down into ORIENTAL, FLORAL, WOODY, and FRESH, with subcategories of Citrus, Fruity, Aromatic, Fresh, Green, Chypre, Fougere, Gourmand, Vanilla, Spicy, Leather, Water, Aquatic, Amber, and Musk. 

Fragrance Families almost break down like a vocabulary lesson, and that’s how we’ll be breaking down all of the categories here, to make things understandable from the novice to the expert.

Oriental - Scents that are rich and sensual. Often found as evening and cold weather fragrances. Amber, Musk, and Leather scents can be categorized as Oriental. Notes you will often find in Oriental scents are spices, flowers, Vanilla, and Patchouli.

Floral - Scents that are primarily made up of flowers. Oftentimes will be feminine fragrances, though there are many great floral fragrances that are unisex or masculine.

Woody - Scents that are primarily made up of woods. Common woods found in fragrances are Sandalwood, Cedarwood, and Agarwood, or Oud.

Fresh - Scents that are clean, bright, zesty, citrusy, soapy or aftershave-like, and oceanic or aquatic. Fragrances in this category are often made with citruses, fruits, grasses, water accords, and sometimes air, or ozonic, accords.

Citrus - Scents that are made primarily with Citruses.

Fruity - Scents that are made primarily with Fruits.

Aromatic - Scents that are clean and fresh, often made with herbs like Lavender, Rosemary, Tea, and grasses. Fragrances that are considered Aromatic are often found in the Fresh fragrance family.

Green - Scents that are clean, earthy, sharp, and are often made with plants, grasses, Teas, leaves and stems. Green scents can smell like Spring or Summer, fresh cut grass, Green Tea, or being out in the woods.

Chypre - A subcategory of the Green family, Chypre scents tend to be dry, woody, and mossy. You can often find citrus notes, Patchouli, Labdanum, and Oakmoss.

Fougere - Another subcategory of the Green family, Fougere scents are often masculine. These scents tend to have a barbershop-like aroma with notes of Lavender, Sage, Moss, citrus notes, and sometimes Verbena.

Gourmand/Vanilla - Scents that are made with edible, or food, notes like Chocolate, Caramel, Milk, Honey, Coffee, and sometimes liquors.

Spicy/Leather - Scents made with spices, Leathers, and Incense. In these scents you can find Saffron, Peppers, Chilis, Cinnamon, Cardamom, and can be paired with woods and flowers, and sometimes resins.

Water/Aquatic - Scents that are fresh, watery, marine-like, and sometimes mineralic. They are oftentimes meant to mimic being by the sea, sailing, the aroma created when spending the day at the beach or in the ocean. Notes you can find in aquatic scents are citruses and fruits, Seaweed, Salt, Sand, Driftwood, Lavender, Moss, and grasses.

Amber - Scents made with Ambergris, or any number of Amber Accords, Vanilla, Patchouli, Labdanum, Benzoin. Amber scents create an aroma that is warm, rich, sweet, and sometimes powdery. Amber scents are often a subcategory of the Oriental Family.

Musk - Scents made with Musk - previously made from the gland of the Musk Deer - or any number of Musk Accords. Musk can create an aroma that is powdery, sweet, or warm, sometimes recreating the essence of skin, and has a natural sensual element to it. Musk is often a subcategory of the Oriental Family.

Even with all of this information, there are so many more ways this subject can be explained and explored. Each category can blend into the next, where you would find Flora/Woody scents, Aromatic/Woody, Gourmand/Spicy, Floral/Citru, Aquatic/Woody, etc.

Still have questions? Feel free to stop in or reach out any time. We’re always happy to answer questions and provide consultations any time!

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