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The 6 fragrance families of a perfume

Perfume flower

How many times have you described a perfume as being light, cool, strong, hot, sweet or heady? If you’re a fan of fragrances than you probably already know that you prefer floral perfumes, or light aromas for the summer and sensual ones for the Winter… well, the perfume specialists have also made that their business! And that’s precisely why the international perfume references divide perfumes into 6 fragrance families.

With an intensity scale that starts with the lighter aromas and ends with the most concentrated, the main fragrance families are as follows:

  1. Citrus: this category, also known as “fruity”, gets its aromas from the peels of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerines and bergamot. It is one of the most popular fragrance families because it produces light, cool and stimulating perfumes, which most people enjoy. Besides being one of the main components in men’s perfumes, citrus is also the primary note in most unisex fragrances.
  1. Floral: this fragrance family relies on the sensuality and olfactive power that only flowers are capable of producing. In this category, many perfumes are created with only one type of flower – such as the rose, the violet or jasmine – but the other beauties of Mother Nature are not forgotten and the result is the creation of genuine bouquets… placed inside bottles that are as equally beautiful! For obvious reasons, florals are almost exclusively present in women’s perfumes, but also serve as inspiration for many romantic fragrances.
  1. Ferns: although its origin is in the french term “fougères” – which is the specific name of a plant – it presents an interesting curiosity: that plant has practically no aroma! But it seems that was the purpose… in other words, this fragrance family represents the freshness of herbaceous plants and grass. Normally associated with clean and pure aromas, the fern category is mainly present in classic men’s fragrances.  
  1. Cyprus: this distinct fragrance family got its name from a famous perfume created in 1917 by François Coty, which was named precisely “Chypre” (the french word for cyprus). The features that identify this group are, without a doubt, the mixture of hot and cold notes, which seem to bring together the best of perfume’s both worlds. This surprising juxtaposition is possible thanks to the aromatic combination of citrus and more concentrated notes, which remit to earth essences such as wood and moss.
  1. Woody: just as its name indicates, this aromatic group uses only the best wood to produce deep and seductive aromas. However, only the most luxurious wood – such as pine, sandalwood or cedar, for example – are good enough for conferring woody perfumes their very personal characteristics, in this case durability and consistency. This family is joined by some balsamic resins: the well known incense and myrrh, whose aromas couldn’t be more intense. Used in both men’s and women’s perfumes, they result best when combined with citrus and florals.
  1. Oriental: considered the most intense olfactive experience, this fragrance family is based on the divine combination of exotic spices – pepper, anise, cinnamon, vanilla, among others – and floral aromas. Gone are the times when essences such as musk, amber and some animal notes were dominant in oriental perfumes. The rise in prices of these rare and luxurious products, practically “forced” perfumists to look for more economic alternatives and, luckily, they found them – they’re called “synthetic equivalent molecules” and permit the reproduction of any aroma you can imagine!
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