How To Understand Fragrance Families

When you know how to understand fragrance families you will find it so much easier to build a fragrance wardrobe. They are floral or sweet, sporty or clean, green or natural, musk/oils, chypre/woody and finally, oriental/spicy. 

Some people find a signature fragrance and stay with that scent, while others opt to change their fragrance depending on the occasion, their mood, and even the season of the year.

Age also factors into what someone may choose as their fragrance of choice. It is often found that as a woman ages for example, she changes her fragrance to compliment her growing maturity.

Floral Sweet Fragrance Families

The most popular category is the floral/sweet family of fragrances and they are dominated by the aroma of either one or various different flowers. When only one type of flower is used it is called a "soliflore.”

This family of fragrances varies from sweet to subtle to many other aromas in between. This fragrance family is young and is perfect for the woman who loves being fun and lighthearted.

Some examples of timeless fragrances in this family include Chanel No. 22, Curious Britney Spears, Estee Lauder,s Pleasures and White Linen, Joy by Jean Patou, L’Air Du Temps by Nina Ricci, and Safari for Women by Ralph Lauren.

Sporty and Clean

The second family is known as sporty/clean. This aroma is composed of a very clean, fresh scent that can be associated somewhat with the fragrance of a soap.

Sporty/clean fragrances are often deemed to offer freshness and can be typically found in eau de colognes. This is known to be a popular family of fragrances for individuals who are athletic.

Some examples of classic scents in this family include Cashmere Mist by Donna Karan, Estee Lauder Alliage, Lily Chic by Escada, Ralph Lauren Polo for Women and Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger. Tommy Girl is exceptionally well liked among teenaged girls.

Green and Natural

Your third family is the green/natural fragrance which offers a clean and very practical fragrance for everyone who wears it. It is ideal for the woman who enjoys a natural, fresh and light fragrance.

Some examples of green/natural scents are Burberry London, Calvin Klein Escape for Women, Calvin Klein Truth for Women, Chanel No. 5, Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds, L’Instant de Guerlain by Guerlain, Poison by Christian Dior, Romance by Ralph Lauren and True Star by Tommy Hilfiger.

Musk and Oils

Musk/oils, are the fourth fragrance family and its aroma is bold and sensual. Fragrances using musk are strong, evocative and very sexy. More than anything, this is a sultry fragrance whose aroma speaks for it.

Musk emits the most powerful scent of all of the perfume oils and is typically taken from the male musk deer from the Himalayas. Musk is also a derivative from the muskrat and musk ox.

Examples of popular musk/oils are Caleche by Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana for Women, Lagerfeld Sun * Moon & Stars, L’Aminant by Coty, O Oui by Lancôme and Shalimar by Guerlain.

Woody and Chypre 

The fifth in the fragrance family is woody/chypre (pronounced Shee-pra) and is at times referred to as earthy. This fragrance category is made up of the components bergamot, jasmine and oak moss.

The chypre family of fragrances is named after a perfume by a person of the same name, Francois Coty. This family of fragrances is an intoxicating blend of floral and earth scents and is closely related to the flavors of custard and apricot mixed together. 

Women who love being outside enjoying the beauty of nature are typically the type who will wear the chypre fragrance.

Examples of popular chypre/woody fragrances on the market include Chanel No. 19, Miss Dior by Christian Dior, and Envy Me by Gucci, Michael Kors, Paloma Picasso Perfume and Romance by Ralph Lauren. 

Oriental and Spicy 

The sixth of the fragrance families is the oriental/spicy family. At times it is referred to as ambers. This well-liked fragrance is a blend of animal scents and vanilla mixed with flowers and woods. The combination of incense resins and camphorous oils develops the oriental fragrances on an even deeper level.

This fragrance family is spicy and at the same time richly exotic. It is perfect for a self-assured woman who is both courageous and glowing. The oriental family calls to mind visions of the Victorian era in both the Far East and Middle East.

Examples of the oriental/spicy family include Calvin Klein Obsession, Emeraude by Coty, Estee Lauder Youth Dew, Lancôme's Magic Noir and Tresor, Organza and Organza Indecence by Givenchy, Still by Jennifer Lopez, Ysatis by Givenchy and Opium by Yves Saint Laurent.





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Author: Tanna Mayer

Updated: November 25 2014

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