The Fragrance Wheel

In 1983, an European named Michael Edwards created The Fragrance wheel method. Inspired by a seminar given by Firmenich, Edwards designed his own scheme of fragrance classification with the main purpose of simplifying the fragrance scheme and naming. For several years now, both retailers and perfumers have taken advantage of this creation. For the first time, many people, not so savvy about perfumes, could understand the way perfumes were classified.

This is, we should say, a relatively new classification method and it’s been widely used in the fragrance industry. Since the scheme was easier than earlier versions, it was a lot easier to show the relationships between each individual classification.

Most people have problems in finding a fragrance that will suit them. Lack of advice is another problem that consumers confront when they purchase their perfumes. Fragrance makers and marketers tend to promote the fragrances they personally like, it’s natural. Our sense of smell is extremely emotional, it depends of the day and how we feel that particular day. People should be confident of the perfumes they like, but it’s not the case most of the time. People might have an idea of what they like, but is not that simple. It’s basically a matter of poor knowledge, not a basic understanding of the fragrance classification. How can you explain someone what you like if you don’t even know? The main problem is that is extremely probable that what I like is not what you like. Try to purchase a new fragrance at any perfume store and ask for suggestions. See what happens; you will end up frustrated. Not a very nice experience!

After Michael Edwards created the fragrance wheel and started writing perfume guides, it was much easier for non well-informed people to understand about fragrances. What a nice idea! A completely non technical guide book that could help thousands explains what they like or dislike with words. We could finally find out what type of fragrances we tend to buy, what classification we are inclined to, and know more about our favorite fragrance without the help of a perfume expert. A perfume guide was out there, available to all of us.


How to understand and use The Fragrance Wheel:

The first step is to study the five main fragrance families represented in the wheel: Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fresh and Fougére. This last mentioned family, the Fougére is the only one that does not sub-divide and it is been placed at the hub of the wheel. It is the oldest classification, the more classic family. The aromatic Fougére is an universal fragrance family whose scent includes elements from different families. All other families, arranged around the wheel's circumference, are each divided into three subcategory groups.
The next step is to check the sub-groups in each family. Each of the four outer families have three sub-families that are the result of the combination with the family on either side of each other. Following Michael Edwards wheel we then should have this scheme: Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental, Oriental, Soft Oriental, Woody Oriental, Mossy Woods, Dry Woods, Citrus, Green and Water.

Well, that was easy! Now, what you need to know is the group of your favorite perfume. Try to locate the notes you are attracted to and play blending notes. Overlapping notes will create a pleasant perfume.

For further information visit our Perfume Classification section:
Floral Notes: Fresh cut flowers (floral) / Aldehydes powder Notes (soft floral) / Orange flowers-sweet spices (floral oriental)
Oriental Notes: Incense-amber (soft Oriental) / Oriental resins-musk & vanilla (oriental) / Patchouli-sandalwood (woody oriental)
Woody Notes: Mossy Woods (oakmoss - citrus) / Dry woods (dry woods- citrus) / Woody Oriental (patchouli - sandalwood)
Fresh Notes: Citrus (citrus - oils) / Green (green leaves - grass) / Water (marine notes)

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