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Fragrance guide

fragrance families

Scent families can be classified into four main categories: Floral, Resin + Spice, Woody + Earthy, and Fresh, where each category has its own sub-families. Each scent family has distinctive characteristics, and often individuals will be attracted to one scent over another when it comes to choosing personal fragrances. For that reason, knowing the scent family you're attracted is helpful before choosing a new scent.


The largest fragrance family, florals lie at the heart of the composition and can be enhanced with green, aldehydic, fruity, powdery or spicy nuances. Floral scents are mostly used in women’s fragrances, although they are occasionally used in men’s as well. They usually smell like fresh-cut flowers or have a powdery note to them. Floral scents are perfect for the spring and summertime.


  • Fruity: Sweet, edible and tropical like peach, pear and apple.
  • Floral: Smells like fresh-cut flowers. Imagine rose and lily.
  • Soft Floral: Soft, powdery and sweet with a hint of creamy.
  • Floral Oriental: Florals with subtle spice notes.

Common Notes:

  • Rose
  • Jasmine
  • Orange Blossom
  • Powder

Resin + Spice

Previously referred to as the “Oriental” family, is traditionally defined as having a strong amber presence. Today’s resinous/spice fragrances often refer to exotic herbs and spices like musk, vanilla and resins that give off a heady, warm, sensual scent. You may think of it like herbs and spices, or dry, powdery, resin notes. It’s common to describe this family as exotic and seductive.


  • Soft oriental: Soft, floral notes mix with incense and warm spices.
  • Oriental: Sweet, warm notes like cinnamon, vanilla and musk. 
  • Woody Oriental: Earthy notes like patchouli and sandalwood mixed with spicy and sweet notes.

Common notes:

  • Amber
  • Vanilla
  • Pepper
  • Myrrh
  • Cinnamon

Woody + Earthy

Woody perfumes are usually warm and opulent, mixing incense-like fragrances like sandalwood and patchouli with drier notes like cedar. Woody fragrances are often given a twist with fruity notes, florals, herbs and spices. Notes in this family can be described as coniferous or woody and bitter.


  • Woods: Aromatic scents like cedarwood, sandalwood and vetiver.
  • Mossy Woods: Sweet, smooth and earthy scents like oakmoss and amber.
  • Dry Woods: Smoldering and smoky mixed with leather aromas.
  • Chypre: Mossy, woody base, sharp patchouli and oak-moss base notes intertwined with citrus.

Common Notes:

  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood
  • Musk
  • Cedar

Fresh + Aromatic

The fresh scent family encompasses clean, bright scents. Herby, citrusy and oceanic scents all fall into this category. More often used in men’s fragrances than women’s fragrances, fresh scents are paired with spicy notes to create a more robust fragrance. Aromatic, tart notes can also be found mixed with zesty or fruity scents..


  • Aromatic: Clean and fresh herbs mixed with lavender or woody scents.
  • Citrus: Zesty or tangy notes like mandarins or bergamot.
  • Water: Aquatic scents that smell of sea spray or rain mixed with or oceanic notes.
  • Green: Smells of freshly mowed lawns and crushed green leaves.
  • Fougere: Named after the French term for fern. Green and aromatic herbal scents featuring lavender, oakmoss, citrus and woods

common notes

  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Citrus
  • Bright / Green / Sparkling