Fragrance Terminology – Know Before you Buy

When you are buying perfume sampler sets online, you need to read the description of perfume carefully. It gives valuable information about the perfume accord, three notes of the perfume and fragrances that make these notes. An online buyer should know the fragrance terminology and understand the fragrance families to avoid buying what he or she shouldn’t. Decant sizes available are small enough to last few sprays. So choose your perfume, once you understand what you are buying.

Fragrance Families

Traditional Fragrances

  • Single Floral- These fragrances primarily belong to one particular flower.
  • Floral Bouquet- It means the scent is a combination of several flowers.
  • Amber- It is a term for the scent of vanilla and animal scents together with the flowers and woods. These can be enhanced with camphor oil and incense resins
  • Woody- It refers to the scents of sandalwood and cedar. Patchouli with camphor smell is found in these perfumes.
  • Leather- It is a family of fragrance that smells of honey, tobacco, wood, and wood tars in the middle or base notes or a scent that hints of leather.
  • Chypre- It includes the scents of bergamot, oakmoss, patchouli, and labdanum.
  • Fougere- It means fern. The scent is built on lavender, coumarin, and oakmoss. Many men fragrances belong to this family, which has a herbaceous and woody scent.

Modern Fragrances

  • Bright Floral- It combines single floral and floral bouquet families.
  • Green- A lighter or modern variant of Chypre type.
  • Oceanic- It is a clean, modern smell leading to many of the modern androgynous fragrances.
  • Citrus or Fruity- It smells of lemon, orange, grape, etc.
  • Gourmand- It’s a scent with ‘edible’ and ‘desert’ like qualities. It smells like vanilla, and food flavors.

Fragrance Wheel

It is a new way to classify fragrances.

  • Floral- It consists of floral, soft-floral, and floral oriental.
  • Oriental- It consists of soft oriental, oriental, and woody oriental.
  • Woody- It features wood, mossy woods, and dry woods.
  • Fresh- Citrus, green and water are its part

These fragrances are kept at the circumference of the wheel.

  • Fougere- It contains the fragrance from the above four families. Chypres belongs to this family.

This fragrance family is kept at the center of the wheel.

Women Fragrances – ‘For Her’

Chypre- It is based on the woody, mossy, floral accord, and may include leathery or fruity notes. Subgroups in the family are:

  • Floral- The notes are lily of the valley, rose, or jasmine.
  • Fruity- The notes are peach, Mirabelle plum, and exotic fruit.

Citrus- The perfume in this family is composed of citrus scents, e.g., bergamot, lemon, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit. The subgroup in the family is:

  • Aromatic- The notes are thyme, rosemary, tarragon, or mint.

Floral- The family includes a large variety of fragrances. Being a natural scent, floral is most common in women’s perfume. Subgroups in the family are:

  • Aldehyde- Animal, powdery, or slightly woody notes.
  • Aquatic- Marine notes.
  • Carnation-Flower notes.
  • Green- Notes are freshly cut grass.
  • Fruity- Apricot, Raspberry, Lychee, and Apple notes.
  • Jasmine- Floral top note.
  • Muguet- It’s a bouquet with keynote as lily of the valley.
  • Orange Tuberose- Sensual notes.
  • Rose Violet- The floral accord is rose and violet.
  • Woody Musk- Woody and Musky notes.

Oriental- It’s known as ‘amber’ fragrances and features a blend of warmth and sensuality.

  • Floral- Exotic floral note of Spicy flowers like a carnation.
  • Spicy-Cinnamon, Cloves, and Nutmeg notes
  • Vanilla- Notes of vanilla
  • Woody- Warm notes of amber and sandalwood or dry notes of cedar.

Men’s Fragrances – ‘For Her’

Aromatic- The notes are composed of sage, rosemary, thyme, and lavender

  • Aquatic-Oceanic note.
  • Fougere-Lavender, Woody, Coumarin, Germanium and Oak Moss notes.
  • Fresh-White flower notes.
  • Rustic-Country side scents of new-mown hay or grass.


  • Aromatic- The notes are thyme, rosemary, or tarragon.


  • Fougere-Top note of fern scent
  • Spicy- Amber accord with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, or cardamom.
  • Woody-Warn and opulent based on sandalwood or patchouli


  • Aquatic-Woody accord and oceanic notes
  • Aromatic-Thyme, Rosemary or Sage
  • Chypre-Oakmoss and Labdanum
  • Floral Musk- Violet and Freesia
  • Spicy-Pepper, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon.

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