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Perfume’s 7 Olfactory Families

Perfume’s 7 Olfactory Families


Traditional perfumery classifies fragrances into seven different scent “families”. Each has its own character or personality. It’s similar to the way that vintners categorize different types of wine. Here’s a quick overview of each.

gold fragrance bottlesCitrus
The citrus fragrances, also called “hesperidia”, are characterized by their freshness and lightness. They are mainly composed of citrus fruit essences. Key raw ingredients include: bergamot, lemon, orange, mandarin, grapefruit

This family of fragrances gathers all the fragrances in which the main theme is a flower or a floral bouquet. It is the most international family thanks to its wide range of categories, from the transparent floral to the woody floral, rich and warm. Amongst masculine perfumers, flowers give a specific touch. Key raw ingredients include: rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, fleur d’oranger, lys, iris

green fragrance bottles

Fougere, an exclusively masculine category, is the name of a wild plant that has no scent. The name comes from the great success of Houbigant’s Fougere Royale, in 1882. It is now a universal family, known for virility and masculinity. Key raw ingredients include: lavender, geranium, oak moss, coumarin

This name comes from Coty’s ‘Chypre’, created in 1917. Chypre means Cyprus in French. This is a sharp scent based on a harmony of oak moss, labdanum, patchouli & bergamot.

pink fragrance bottlesFloriental
As you might expect, the ‘Floriental’ category gathers all the Oriental fragrances with a floral dominant note. This floral note can be exotic, spicy, and powdery. Key raw materials include: ylang ylang, orange blossom, patchouli, sandalwood and tonka bean.

This family of fragrance is any men’s or women’s scent that has a dominant woody note. It can be hot, comforting, opulent, dry, elegant, or distinguished. Originally masculine, this family has been very successful in women’s fragrances. Raw ingredients include: patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood and cedar.

blue fragrance bottlesOriental
The Oriental category of fragrance is characterized by its warmth and sensuality. These fragrances are also called “ambery”, in reference to the first Oriental, Coty’s  ‘Ambre Antique’  in 1905. Thanks to their enveloping comfort and spicy undertones, these scents evoke a sense of travel to exotic locales. Key raw ingredients include: patchouli, incense, benzoin, vanilla and spices.

red fragrance bottles