Understanding the Fragrance Wheel
Fragrance affects us a deeply emotional level. We all have scents that we remember from our childhood, whether it’s the aromas of mother’s kitchen or the refreshing burst of green grass as we played outside. Such experiences invariably influence our tastes in perfume and yet it is sometimes quite daunting to approach the fragrance counter and make sense of the available choices.
Michael Edwards created the Fragrance Wheel in 1983. The families on witch the Wheel is based hold the key to people’s likes and dislikes because each family has a characteristic scent whose personality is reflected in its fragrances.
It includes the four major families defined by perfumes: Floral, Oriental, Woody, and Fresh. These four groups are further subdivided to span the range of character within each major family, but their distribution is changed.
Around the fragrance wheel
The fragrance wheel is the only complete, accurate and industry respected fragrance classification system. It is a proven market resource and continues to be the standard bearer for consumers and professionals.
The sub-groups of the fragrance wheel are:
- Floral (Floral + Fresh Notes). Main notes include fresh-cut flowers.
- Soft Floral (Floral Notes). Main notes include aldehydes and powdery notes.
- Floral Oriental (Floral + Oriental Notes). Main notes include orange blossom and sweet spices.
- Soft Oriental (Oriental + Floral Notes). Main notes include incense and amber.
- Oriental (Oriental Notes). Main notes include oriental resins such as frankincense, and vanilla.
- Woody Oriental (Oriental + Woody Notes). Main notes include sandalwood and patchouli.
- Woods Main notes include aromatic woods and vetiver.
- Mossy Woods (Woody + Oriental Notes). Main notes include oakmoss and amber.
- Dry Woods (Woody Notes). Main notes include dry woods and leather.
- Aromatic Fougère (Fresh Notes). Main notes include lavender and aromatic herbs. This universal fragrance family includes elements from different families: the freshness from the Citrus family, floral notes of lavender, the spicy-sweetness of a Floral Oriental, the ambery depth of an Oriental and the Mossy Woods warmth of sandalwood and oakmoss.
- Citrus (Woody + Fresh Notes). Main notes include bergamot and other citrus oils.
- Fruity (Fresh + Floral Notes). Main notes include berries and other non-citrus fruits.
- Green (Fresh + Floral Notes). Main notes include galbanum and green notes.
- Water (Fresh + Floral Notes). Main notes include marine and aquatic notes, generally from the chemical alone.
”Perfume is a way of stopping time. You smell a beautiful scent and you remember something!”