Posted on June 01 2020
Fragrance is an art and searching for the perfect one within your perfume is not a simple task. There are hundreds of scents with different notes and touches that the untrained nose might not be able to detect. It can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Training yourself to detect even the subtlest notes can take time, but the fragrance wheel is a concept helping you establish aromas to ensure you choose the scent most suitable for you.
The Fragrance Wheel - What Is It?
The wheel itself was created by Michael Edwards, a fragrance connoisseur who wanted to help retailers suggest perfumes in a more efficient, professional and accurate manner.
To begin with, it's an actual wheel. Its purpose is to group scents based on the ways in which they are both similar and different - displaying their relationships in a clear manner.
The scent groups that border each other are the ones that share the most traits, while those that are further from each other are not so complementary.
It’s terms of design it's very simple format is split into four main groups which then branch out. These groups are known as scent families.
All About Scent Families
As mentioned, the scent families are split into four main groups which then have further branches of their own. These main scent families are Floral, Oriental, Wood, and Fresh/Citrus.
What makes these family groupings so important is that each one has a defining set of characteristics that people will prefer over others when they choose a scent.
This is why it's key to know which family you are attracted to before you pick an aroma. While experts can determine a family from just one quick sniff, you may have to identify the family from description online or on the perfume bottle.
It's worth noting that the professional fragrance community has experienced an element of disagreement over the way in which scent families are organised. However, the families and subfamilies below tend to be widely agreed upon. As such, you can rely on our groupings.
Floral. This is the most common and well-known, as well as being popular in most fragrances. Common notes are rudiments such as rose, jasmine and orange blossom. The subfamilies for this branch are:
- Soft Floral
- Oriental Floral
Oriental. These are rich and exotic aromas. Spices, herbs and sweet notes are the most common combinations. Vanilla, myrrh and anise are just some of the most popular ingredients and the subfamilies are as follows:
- Soft Oriental
- Woody Oriental
Wood. These are often warm scents like sandalwood and cedar. Many of them combine this with fresher notes like citrus and floral scents to make scents lighter. This family can also be described as bitter while the subfamilies are:
- Mossy Woods
- Dry Woods
Fresh. Clean, bright scents are the centre of this family. They are more common in fragrances aimed at men than women and they are often mixed with spicy notes to create a more intense fragrance. The subfamilies are as follows:
Find The Scent Perfect For You
While perhaps daunting at first, fragrance families are not necessarily as complex as they seem. Especially when you become more familiar with the different scents and the groups that they belong to.
Once you have decided on the scent family you're attracted to most, you can make informed perfume choices. It may take a little research, but it's so worth it for finding a fragrance that both speaks to you and suits you.