Fragrance Families and Their Important Role in Perfume Making

The perfume universe is divided into ‘families’.  In reality, very few of us have a jumbled wardrobe of scents from lots of different families:  often without even realising, we tend to fall for one family time and again. Instinctively, we prefer scents from some fragrance families and dislike others – although we may tend towards one particular family for colder weather, another for sunny times.

Technically, ‘fragrance families’ are a classification system the perfume industry has used for years, to place individual perfumes into olfactory ‘groups’, based on their dominant characteristics. It’s part of the language of scent.

But it can feel baffling and complicated. So through the use of the colours on our ‘Fragrance Fan’, we aim to help you identify more easily – at a glance – which family the fragrances you already like fall into.

A true family, of course, has lots of members – and so it is with fragrance. Most of the eight main fragrance families listed here have some variations on their theme.  These ‘near-relations’ within a favourite family are also worth exploring if you like that family.

It can be helpful, when you’re fragrance-shopping, to know which family (or families) you’re drawn to.  If you’re speaking to an informed sales consultant, they’ll know which scents to steer you towards – and you’re more likely to find a new ‘perfume love’…