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Talking About Fragrance: Fragrance Families

Ever wondered how perfumers can make so many unique fragrances? How some can smell absolutely divine and others don’t appeal to you? How intensity and scent can change throughout the day even though you’ve only sprayed once? 

It’s all about the fragrance families used and how they’re blended together. 

What is a fragrance family? 

Putting it simply, fragrance families refer to how perfume oils are grouped – you can read more about each group on our genealogy page. Unlike human genealogy, we’re not looking to see where ingredients descend from but instead categorising ingredients to help us understand the most complimentary fragrance blends. Fragrance families are the language of perfume. 

Not only do fragrance families refer to the ingredients within a bottle, but most perfumes also fit into an overall family thanks to their most distinctive scent and most of us have our favourites – whether we know it or not!

What are the best fragrance family combinations?

Luckily for us, perfumery is an art, and there are no rules when it comes to blending perfume ingredients. Although there are some traditional practices such as choosing one specific scent to represent your top note, perfumers are creative, daring and unique. By carefully selecting ingredients from families with similar scents, such as floral and fruity, hundreds more combinations can be created to pave the way for new fragrances.

In addition, perfumers look to find ingredients from contrasting families to create a diverse journey throughout the day. Blending fruity top notes with oils from the spice family, although widely different, can work really well as the perfume matures on the skin.

Why some fragrance families overlap

Like a lot of things in the world, perfume ingredients aren’t confined to one simple label. To create luxury fragrances, perfumers often choose ingredients that sit within multiple families to achieve extra depth. From floral orientals to spicy woods, there’s an infinite number of combinations when it comes to fragrance. 

How are different fragrance families used? 

Different fragrance families have different properties and it is these properties that help perfumers to layer their perfumes for a long-lasting experience. 

Top notes are fresh with hints of citrus and green ingredients and provide instant recognition when a perfume is sprayed, but as the layers unravel, you’re treated to a whole new world of fragrance as musk, wood and oriental notes are revealed. 

By learning to talk about perfume, you’ll better understand how fragrance families come together to create those iconic perfumes you know and love. 

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