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Fragrance Families 101: A Crash Course

Fragrance Families 101: A Crash Course

When you think about it, perfumes and the science behind their creation is nothing short of extraordinary. Every perfume ever designed is the result of a carefully formulated interaction between a slew of different ingredients. Some of these ingredients are familiar (think tonka bean, patchouli, gardenia) and some of them are unconventional at best (think caviar, an English Novel ((????)) and even edamame). Whatever the ingredients are, their collaboration is what makes a fragrance possible.

If you enjoy your fragrance as much as we enjoy supplying them, you’ll know that every scent belongs to its own fragrance family of some description. But what exactly are these families, and what do they mean?

Michael Edwards, one of the world’s most celebrated noses, developed his globally recognised fragrance wheel in 1983. Before this, it was a bit of a stab in the dark as far as perfume classification was concerned- there wasn’t a standardised model for fragrance measurement or itemisation. Edwards also determined what he believed to be the four primary fragrance families, and propositioned that these four main families are comprised of three sub-families.

So far, Edward’s model sounds a lot like an Italian family at Christmas time. To make it a little easier on all of us, we’ll list who’s who in each of these four families, and there’s no pressure to remember anyone’s name.


Floral fragrances are made up of – you guessed it – flowers. As long as they’re freshly cut, it’s a floral fragrance, whether it’s a single flower or a whole bouquet. Nowadays, fresh cut flowers are often substituted for floral or synthetic essence due to demand. The upshot of these compounds is that they double and sometimes even triple your perfume’s shelf life. The floral families subdivisions are floral, soft floral and floral oriental– click on the links for our picks!


Oriental fragrances are comprised of oriental resins, such as frankincense, myrrh and vanilla and are subdivided into true oriental, soft oriental and woody oriental. Those that prefer oriental fragrances are more likely to burn incense in their room when they’re stressed and 9 times out of 10 own a diffuser of some description.

Si Lolita EDP- Soft Oriental 


Woody fragrances are earthy, full-bodied scents that have unmatched staying power and linger on the skin. And, as you can imagine, they smell like WOODS.  Vetiver, oak, moss, amber and sandalwood are the most common notes that comprise these fragrance family and its subdivisions include your regular garden variety woods, mossy woods, and dry woods. Just hearing these makes us want to frolic through a woodland forest with Thumper the bunny rabbit.


Fresh fragrances are for the summer babies among us, or those that wish they were. These fragrances are relatively light and are made up of things like citrus, fruits and green bouquets, and it’s impossible to have a bad day after one spritz of whatever fresh fragrance picks your fancy. Fresh fragrance subdivisions are fruity, citrus, greens, and water.


All four fragrance families are dynamic, complex, and unique in their own right, and are always related to each other somehow- a lot like our own families. Shop our fragrance family hyperlinked picks at and get FREE SHIPPING as well as INCREDIBLE MARKDOWNS this Easter long weekend!

Happy Easter Bunnies!

Filed under: fragrance, online, perfume, shopping Tagged: Beyonce Heat, Chloe EDP, discount perfume, floral, Fragrance Families, Fresh, Jasmin Noir, Lolita Lempicka, Oriental, perfume, Perfume Clearance Centre, Woody