The world of perfumes is complex and fascinating! To orientate yourself in this universe of beauty, enchantment, and wonders, we wanted to classify the scent into different olfactory families: a real guide capable of directing the mind and smell toward the choice of fragrances.
Thinking that perfumes also have their own specific family is compelling, gives a sense of belonging and is, at the same time, a characterizing element to help us know, understand, study, and catalog them.
The ingredients that make up the fragrances develop a theme around which they grow and develop. The classification of the main olfactory families is divided as follows:
Particularly sensual fragrances is characterized by persistent notes of amber accord, ambergris, musk, vanilla, exotic woods, often combined with exotic flowers and spices: They give fragrance warmth and seduction to fragances.
Those fragrances mainly made by notes such as sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme and other aromatic plants typical of Mediterranean’s area: they give freshness, roundness and liveliness to the olfactory compositions.
Fresh and light fragrances, which smell of citrus. They are also called Esperidate. The most wellknown notes are bergamot, lemon, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, but in general all citrus fruits. Essential oils are obtained by pressing fruit or peel. They are present in many eau de cologne.
Refined and elegant fragrances. Their aroma is a reminiscent of the smell of face’s powder. This powder was originally produced with iris powder. They are warm, soft and enveloping.
This olfactory family takes its name from the Chypre perfume, by François Coty who launched the Chypre fragrance inspired by the island of Cyprus. The success of this perfume made him the progenitor of this family . Cyprus’ fragrances are mainly based on accords of musk, cistus-labdanum, patchouli and bergamot.
Fragrances characterized by dry, bitter notes and olfactive blends that recreate the smell of tanned leather and tobacco, usually accompanied by citrus or floral notes.
Fragrances that can be composed by a bouquet of various flowers or a single flowery note (in this case it is called “Soliflore“). It is the oldest olfactory family, the first to be used in perfumery. This olfactive family once was exclusively used for women’s fragrances: today is more often used also for men’s fragrances.
The fougère olfactory family has nothing to do with the term fougère (fern) in French. However the name comes from the famous fragrance created in 1882 by Houbigant: Fougère Royale. The perfume for the first time combined aromatic and woody notes with synthetic notes, such as coumarin. The olfactory aroma of this aromatic family is the remembering smell of a forest, characterized by lavender, precious woods, vegetable moss, coumarins, bergamot and geranium.
This olfactory’s family contains fruits’ scents. Banana, pineapple, mango, strawberry, plum, etc., create velvety, sugary, sunny, warm, sweet and seductive olfactory scents.
Fragrances characterized by ingredients derived from foods considered “greedy” such as vanilla, cocoa, caramel, sugar, candied fruit, coconut, licorice, hazelnut and milk.
Fragrances with a dominant note of wood, such as cedarwood, sandalwood or oud and more. A typical woody’s aroma is patchouli, characterized by a camphor perfume. They are particularly strong, warm and persistent fragrances, and they often contain aromatic or citrus top notes.
Fragrances with raw materials of animal origin. Today the use of animal natural essences is prohibited in perfumery and they are reproduced in laboratory. They have a sweet, round, strong, warm, intense and strongly seductive smell.
Light fragrances, which refer to transparent accents such as ozone, air and water, capable of expressing lightness and freshness.
Particularly seductive and warm fragrances that reminds East and Middle East typical notes. They have sweet, enveloping and persistent hints that can be identified with notes of vanilla, talc, spices, woods, cistus labdanum and very marked animal notes.
Fragrances made with dried spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, pepper, ginger, cardamom, cumin. The spicy notes give warmth, body and depth to the perfumes.
Of course, each family has sub-categories with multiple facets and chord intersections. This is what makes the art of perfumery fascinating. It is here where magic, alchemy, beauty, and suggestion intertwine in a vortex of colorful emotions.
What is your favorite olfactory family?