In 1983, Michael Edwards (a consultant in the fragrance industry) created a fragrance classification method called the Fragrance Wheel. His method was created in order to make the fragrance classification and naming scheme simpler, as well as, to show the relationships between each individual fragrance family.
There are four standard families: Floral, Oriental, Woody, and Fresh. The families are further divided into three subgroups and arranged in a circle, each group being related to the next. The only exception to this design is the Fougère family which contains elements from many of the other families (hence why it sits in the center of the Fragrance Wheel).
With the development of new technologies and advanced efforts in perfumeries, new scents are now able to be created that were never thought possible decades ago. Due to these advancements, two more subgroups have been added since the creation of the Fragrance Wheel in 1983: Woods and Fruity. Below you will find more information on the subgroups and their scent characteristics.
- Floral (Floral + Fresh Notes) From the scents of a single flower to full aromatic bouquets of fresh-cut flowers.
- Soft Floral (Floral Notes) Powdery notes and aldehydes added with floral to create subtly singing fragrances.
- Floral Oriental (Floral + Oriental Notes) Subtly muted fragrances including orange blossom, piquant aldehydes, and sweet spices.
- Soft Oriental (Oriental + Floral Notes) Sensual overtones to flowers using incense, spices, and amber.
- Oriental (Oriental Notes) Blends of oriental resins, sweet vanillas, opulent flowers, and musks.
- Woody Oriental (Oriental + Woody Notes) Oriental influenced scents balancing the deep woods notes of sandalwood and patchouli.
- Woods (Woody Notes) Dominated by harmonies of cedar, patchouli, pine, sandalwood, other woody scents, and vetiver.
- Mossy Woods (Woody + Oriental Notes) A melange of oakmoss, amber, bergamot, neroli, and other citrus Chypre.
- Dry Woods (Woody Notes) Drier than Mossy Woods with added cedar, tobacco, burnt wood, leather, and dry wood notes.
- Citrus (Woody + Fresh Notes) Zest of lemons, mandarins, oranges, grapefruit, and bergamot.
- Fruity (Fruity Notes) Combinations of berries, peaches, pears, apples, plums, and other non-citrus fruits.
- Green (Fresh Notes) Captures the scent of fresh cut grass, violet leaves, galbanum, and other “green” notes.
- Water (Fresh + Floral Notes) The essence of marine and aquatic notes, soft sea breezes, wet air after a storm, and the like.
- Fougère Freshness of the Citrus Family, lavender notes of Floral, the spicy-sweetness of Floral Oriental, Oriental’s depth of amber, and the sandalwood and oakmoss warmth of Mossy Woods.