Olfactive families places fragrances with similar scent characteristics into groups or families

Classification by Olfactive family is a starting point to determine a fragrance’s scent. It places fragrances with similar scent characteristics into groups or families. The olfactive family will not give you the specific characteristic of a single fragrance this could be done by looking at the fragrance scent notes “Top, Middle, and Bottom notes” of an individual fragrance. Click here for an Explanation of Top Notes, Middle Notes, and Base Notes

Besides the olfactive family giving you a general idea of the fragrances scent, it will be helpful in making choices or in finding other fragrances that you will like. If you can determine fragrances that you like come from a certain olfactive family, when looking at purchasing a fragrance or looking around for a new one it will give you an idea where you can start by looking in family of a fragrance you like. If you’re looking for something totally different you can start by looking in other families. The same can be said if you determine fragrances you dislike or have issues with come from the same olfactive family, you can avoid them.

Traditional classification of fragrances emerged around 1900 and has changed over the years to accommodate new technology in fragrance creation and the natural development of styles and tastes. In 1983 the Fragrance Wheel was developed by Michael Edwards in order to simplify fragrance classification and naming and show the relationships between each individual fragrance families.

The Fougère family stands in the center of the Fragrance wheel as it contains elements from many of the other families. Around the center of the wheel are four standard families Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh. These four families are divided into sub-groups and arranged in a circle off each of the four standard families, each group being related to the next.

Olfactive family Fragrance Wheel 2008 version

Fougère family, Center Family contains different notes from the four different families

Floral family subgroups are Floral, Soft Floral, and Floral Oriental
Floral, main notes include fresh-cut flowers (Floral + Fresh Notes)
Soft Floral, main notes include Aldehydes and powdery notes (Floral Notes)
Floral Oriental, main notes include orange blossom and sweet spices (Floral + Oriental Notes)

Oriental Family subgroups are Soft Oriental, Oriental, and Woody Oriental
Soft Oriental, main notes include incense and amber (Oriental + Floral Notes)
Oriental, main notes include oriental resins and vanilla (Oriental Notes)
Woody Oriental, main notes include sandalwood and patchouli (Oriental + Woody Notes)

Woody Family subgroups are Woods, Mossy Woods, and Dry Woods
Woods, main notes include aromatic woods and Vetiver
Mossy Woods, main notes include Oakmoss and amber (Woody + Oriental Notes)
Dry Woods, main notes include dry woods and leather (Woody Notes)

Fresh Family subgroups are Citrus, Fruity, Green, and Water
Citrus, main notes include bergamot and other citrus oils (Woody + Fresh Notes)
Fruity, main notes include berries and other non-citrus fruits
Green, main notes include galbanum and green notes (Fresh Notes)
Water, main notes include marine and aquatic notes, generally from calone (Fresh + Floral Notes)

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