a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
Fragrances have been categorized into what are called olfactive families. Many fragrances are based around a theme. It is the components of this theme that can determine what olfactive family the fragrance belongs to. This outline will give you a general idea behind traditional and modern olfactive families and their different classification within the two groups. Understanding how the two families are structured can be helpful in choosing other comparable fragrances that are you may enjoy. Having the ability to recognizing your particular likes within an olfactive family might also help you look outside that family to expand your horizons.
The “Traditional” classification emerged around 1900. It has changed somewhat with the styles and technologies that have developed since then. It is composed of the following categories:
Single Floral: Fragrances that are dominated by a scent from one particular flower; in French called a soliflore.
Floral Bouquet: Is a combination of fragrance of several flowers in a perfume compound.
Amber: A large fragrance class featuring the sweet slightly animalic scents of ambergris or labdanum, often combined with vanilla, tonka bean, flowers and woods. Can be enhanced by camphorous oils and incense resins, which bring to mind Victorian era imagery of the Middle East and Far East.
Wood: Fragrances that are dominated by woody scents, typically of agarwood, sandalwood and cedarwood. Patchouli, with its camphoraceous smell, is commonly found in these perfumes.
Leather: A family of fragrances which features the scents of honey, tobacco, wood and wood tars in its middle or base notes and a scent that alludes to leather.
Chypre: Meaning “cyprus” in French, this includes fragrances built on a similar accord consisting of bergamot, oakmoss, patchouli, and labdanum.
Fougère: Meaning “fern” in French, built on a base of lavender, coumarin and oakmoss. Houbigant’s Fougère Royale pioneered the use of this base. Many men’s fragrances belong to this family of fragrances, which is characterized by its sharp herbaceous and woody scent.
Since 1945, due to great advances in the technology of perfume creation as well as the natural development of styles and tastes; there were some new categories to emerged that describe modern scents:
Bright Floral: Combining the traditional Single Floral & Floral Bouquet categories.
Green: a lighter and more modern interpretation of the Chypre type, with pronounced cut grass, crushed green leaf and cucumber-like scents.
Aquatic, Oceanic, or Ozonic: the newest category in perfume history, appearing in 1991 with Christian Dior’s Dune. A very clean, modern smell leading to many of the modern androgynous perfumes. Generally contains calone, a synthetic scent discovered in 1966. Also used to accent floral, oriental, and woody fragrances.
Citrus: An old fragrance family that until recently consisted mainly of “freshening” eau de colognes, due to the low tenacity of citrus scents. Development of newer fragrance compounds has allowed for the creation of primarily citrus fragrances.
Fruity: featuring the aromas of fruits other than citrus, such as peach, cassis (black currant), mango, passion fruit, and others.
Gourmand: scents with edible or dessert like qualities. These often contain notes like vanilla, tonka bean and coumarin, as well as synthetic components designed to resemble food flavors.