Nowadays, we are more likely to treat fragrance to suit our busy lives and shifting moods. But sometimes, too much choice can lead to confusion. If you’re like most women, you have multiple choices.
To help you cut through the clutter, we’ve created this brief guide to the major fragrance categories, with suggestions for where to use each one. These fragrance families hold the key to your likes and dislikes to give yourself a better understanding of what fragrances you prefer.
Infused with the tangy essence of citrus fruits, these fragrances are lively and energetic. They are best enjoyed as a daytime delight, just the thing to wake you up in the morning before you’ve had that second coffee.
They are derived from the zest of lime, lemons, tangerine, mandarins, bergamot, oranges and grapefruit. The citrus oils give these fragrances their unique, tangy, flavorful aroma.
This fragrance type projects a sharp, tangy aroma. Naturally refreshing and uplifting, citrus blends work well for women who don’t like overpowering fragrance.
Fragrance: crisp, light, and energizing
Sweet and romantic, these scents are the “good girls” of the fragrance aisle. Florals are sometimes single note, but generally combine the essential oils of various flowers to create a classic feminine appeal.
Florals remain the most popular fragrance family created mainly from flowers, such as roses, orange blossoms, gardenias, jasmine and carnations. These are often blended together to produce a distinctive floral bouquet.
Fragrance: romantic, feminine, and smooth
Like a cheerleader with a wicked side, fruity perfumes are fresh and spicy. These fragrances please the nose with the bright and familiar smells of apple, peach, berry, mango and other juicy fruits, often blended with florals to create a compelling aroma. Pretty without being overwhelming.
Smelling of fresh leaves and newly-mown grass, the green fragrances are a natural and energetic group. They offer outdoor imagery. Green fragrances capture the distinct scents of fresh-cut grass and violet leaves.
Sharp, grassy notes blend with pine, juniper, leaves and herbs to create memorable fragrances. Sporty and brisk, green fragrances are good for the outdoorsy woman.
Fragrance: sharp, formal
Oceanic fragrances are a modern invention. These fragrances use a blend of synthetic compounds to evoke natural aromas. Crisp and fresh, they are an ideal choice to boost up your motivation.
These offer the aromatic scent of soft sea breezes and the sparkling aroma of fresh air after a thunderstorm. The water notes are more often used as an accent to enliven florals, orientals and woody fragrances.
Fragrance: soft, fresh, clean
Think of oriental fragrances as exotic and distinctly feminine, these sensual blends feature an earthy, animalistic base scent such as musk or ambergris, often combined with warm notes such as amber. (When combined with florals, these scents are called “florientals”). The effect is a bold yet mysterious fragrance that makes a big entrance and tosses back a few martinis. Its perfect when you want to seduce, whether it’s a third date or just a rare night out without the kids.
Sometimes called “ambery” fragrances because of their inclusion of the amber note, orientals are dense, heady scents that contain vanilla, animalic notes and incense in combination with woody or floral notes.
A heady mix of spices, amber, balsams and resins marks this type, suggestive of warmth and exotic sensuality. Because of the group’s rich, musky traits, these luxurious scents make the best statement in the winter.
Fragrance: sensual, exotic, and spicy
Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what these fragrances smell like. Uncap one and be transported to your mom’s kitchen – if your mom was the type who baked cinnamon rolls and gingerbread from scratch. With notes of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon and pepper, spicy fragrances are comforting and alluring in an old-fashioned way.
Woody fragrances are built on base notes of bark and moss, conjuring winding forest paths. While more unisex than other fragrance categories, that’s not to say these fragrances are masculine. They evoke a particular brand of no-nonsense femininity.
Cyphre is the French word for “cyprus.” This family of fragrances is often described as “fresh-smelling” or “green” and contains notes such as citrus, oakmoss, patchouli, bergamot and labdanum. Early cyphres, such as Coty’s Cyphre, for which the family is named, appealed more to men. However, contemporary cyphres tend to cater to both genders.
A notably woodsy-mossy mix, this type was given its name by French perfumer Francois Coty, who created a scent based on his impression of the island of Cyprus. “Chypre” simply is French for Cyprus and is pronounced “SHIP-ruh.” Hints of bergamot, oak moss, citrus and patchouli enrich the sweet, earthy aromas.
Aldehydic fragrances are largely composed of synthetic notes (aldehydes), in addition to organic notes. Aldehydes give many classic fragrances their distinctiveness and are often described as “effervescent,” “sparkling” and “modern.
Fougere — French for fern and pronounced “foo-JHAIR,” is generally associated with men’s fragrances. Fougere fragrance, which incorporate notes of oakmoss, herbs, lavendar and coumarin, tend to be woodsy, earthy and masculine.
It’s a combination of fresh herbs and mossy ferns that come together in a sophisticated urban style. While fougere fragrancesare typically for men, fougere fragrances still capture women’s olfactory attention.
This smell is characterized by its food-inspired and sweet nature. Food lovers will love this fragrance family as all the scents are derived from food you love. Gourmand can be made of coffee, cupcake, almond, whiskey, chocolate, vanilla, caramel along with many other flavors. They can be sweet or spicy and the relaxing quality has made it very popular in recent times.
Fragrance: sweet and food-inspired