To help us discover which perfume best suits our tastes, the professionals of the perfumery industry classify fragrances into “olfactory families”. Each olfactory family is based on aromatic raw materials (flowers, citrus, wood, etc.) or on the accords created from a combination of ingredients (chypre, fougère or oriental).
There is actually no official classification and each company uses its own classification. However, they usually agree on the main families: citrus, floral, fruity, oriental, chypre, fougère and woody.
The floral family is the most popular for feminine fragrances, and it consists of rose notes, white flowers like jasmine and tuberose, or flowers with a lighter scent like freesia and peony.
A perfume is categorized into one of the leading families but it actually has different facets. For example, a predominantly citrus fragrance but with fresh aquatic notes, would be classified as a marine citrus.
The European Association of Perfume and Cosmetic Products (APCE) aims at encouraging the Society to know the olfactory families so that citizens can identify the perfume that best suits their tastes. Such information is important to provide them with all the tools they need to choose their favorite perfume, and all the necessary references to identify it. In fact, this classification is used by some members of the association.
The APCE also encourages consumers to visit specialized stores if they want to buy a perfume, as this is where there will be explained the classification into olfactory families and where they will be given the necessary advice about fragrances to make the right purchase.