Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fragrance Facts: The Fragrance Wheel

In 1983, Michael Edwards, a consultant in the fragrance industry, invented a new way to classify fragrances according to its families. Called fragrance wheel, this classification is now widely used in retail and fragrance manufacturing.

According to this scheme, there are five standard families: Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fougère (pronounced 'foo-jer'), and Fresh. The first four families are classified as "classic" while Fresh are newer fragrances that have arrived due to improvements in fragrance technology. With the exception of the Fougère family, each the families are also divided into three sub-groups.

Floral - Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental

Examples: Masculine - Agua Lavanda by Puig, Insensé by Givenchy. Feminine - Chanel No 19, Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel, L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci, Charlie by Revlon

Oriental - Soft Oriental, Oriental, Woody Oriental

Examples: Masculine - Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein, Joop! Homme by Joop!, Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier, Equipage by Hermes, Egoiste by Chanel. Feminine - Jean Paul Gaultier "Classique", Angel, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

Woody (also called Chypre) - Wood, Mossy Woods, Dry Woods (also called Chypre)

Examples: Masculine- Givenchy Gentleman, Fendi Uomo, Vetiver by Guerlain, Aramis, Van Cleef and Arpels, Quorum by Puig, Antaeus by Chanel, 212 Men by Carolina Herrera. Feminine - Cuir de Russe by Chanel, Mitsouko by Guerlain, Chypre de Coty.

Fresh - Citrus, Green, Water

Examples: Masculine - Kenzo Pour Homme, L'Eau D'Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake, New West for Him by Aramis, Eau Sauvage by Dior, 1881 by Cerruti, D&G Masculine by Dolce & Gabbana, Happy by Clinique. Feminine - Escape by Calvin Klein, Inis by Fragrances of Ireland, Aquawoman by Rochas, Cristalle by Chanel, Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden, Diorella by Christian Dior.


The Fougère family is placed at the center of this wheel since they are large family of scents that usually contain fragrance elements from each of the other four families. The term 'Fougere' is French for 'fern' but fern's don't actually smell like this. The name derives from a now discontinued fragrance by Houbigant called Fougere Royale (Royal Fern) which was the first fougere fragrance.

Examples: Masculine - Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren, Platinum Egoiste by Chanel, Cool Water by Davidoff, Jazz by YSL, Paco Rabanne pour homme.


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