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The 7 Olfactory Families of Fragrance

As a perfume lover, you might be familiar with olfactory families. These families help to categorize perfumes based on their primary ingredients. Each family is distinct due to its scent, which resembles the materials used in its creation. Knowing the seven olfactory families of fragrances can be helpful when selecting a perfume that suits your taste.

The Aromatic Family

The Aromatic Family is a fragrance collection from aromatic herbs and plant materials. This perfume contains notes of menthol, lemon, anise, and lavender, among others. The aromatic ingredients used to make this perfume include thyme, tea, tarragon, star anise, chamomile, mugwort, basil, sage, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint. The uniqueness of the aromatic perfume lies in its distinctive notes, designed to make it stand out.


The Woody Family

The Woody Family of fragrances includes scents extracted from the wood or moss of trees, such as cedar, cypress, mahogany, and more. Patchouli and vetiver are two plants with unique scents reminiscent of wood despite not being derived from wood. Each tree has a distinct aroma influenced by its place of origin and climate. Woody fragrances are usually created by combining multiple essences to add sophistication, warmth, and character.


The Chypre family

The perfumes from the Chypre family are a type of woody perfume that contains specific notes and blends initially extracted from lichen, a moss found on oak trees. However, due to the lichen's high potential for causing allergies, it has been replaced by chemical components known as Evernyl and Orcinyl 3. Chypre perfumes typically include bergamot, patchouli, rose, and jasmine and are classified into different categories, such as aromatic chypre, leather chypre, and floral chypre. Chypre fragrances are used for their tenacity and power and are optimal for individuals who want to assert their originality and charisma.


The Floral Family

The "Floral" family of fragrances offers diverse scents, including lily of the valley, rose, and orange blossom. Each flower has a unique aroma, which makes Floral fragrances a popular choice for their romantic and sensual appeal. These perfumes can focus on a specific flower or combine several flowers to create a dramatic blend. It's a common misconception that floral perfumes are only for women, as they suit anyone who enjoys their fragrance.


The Fern Family

The "Fern" fragrance is a unique blend of 5 to 10 components. Despite its name, it has no association with the fern plant. The fragrance is made up of bergamot as the top note, with aromatic undertones. The heart of the fragrance consists of floral scents, namely geranium essence, combined with a background of coumarin, oak moss, or tonka bean. These scents are usually associated with clean smells and are quite popular in cosmetics.


The Citrus Family

The "Citrus" family of fragrances is characterized by fresh and tangy notes that bring the warmth of the sun. This olfactory group features orange, lemon, tangerine, clementine, bergamot, yuzu, citron, grapefruit, and more scents. While the citrus family is the oldest, its fragrances are volatile and short-lived. As a result, perfumers often blend citrus with other olfactory families to create longer-lasting fragrances that linger on the skin.


The Oriental or Amber Family

The “Oriental” or “Amber” olfactory family was initially built using ingredients exclusively of animal origin over a century ago. The base note was often fixed with ambergris, which improved the fragrance's persistence. Nowadays, synthetic ingredients can recreate these notes reliably. The oriental fragrances are enriched with sweet, powdery, and spicy notes like ciste-labdanum (a resin obtained from the rockrose plant emits a warm, musky, and slightly sweet aroma), cinnamon, and fragrant and precious woods like oud. The oriental family is sensual and powerful, composed of ingredients such as vanilla, incense, and tonka bean, making it a warm and potent fragrance.

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