Which fragrance family is your favourite?
Don’t know quite yet? There is a fascinating and scientific approach to this which may help you avoid making a lot of mistakes when buying your next perfume. Once you’re aware of the fragrance families you like, choosing your next favourite fragrance is a lot easier.
What is a fragrance family?
At Karmameju, we work with the olfactory groups when creating our perfumes – in everyday language, these are known as the fragrance families. Our three Eau de Parfums each have their own unique fragrance composition, placing them in their own fragrance family.
Working with the fragrance families in perfumery involves exploring the three layers of scents contained within a perfume. Put simply, it is not about defining the family based on each note, but about classifying a perfume based on how it smells, its genre and its characteristics. You could say that the olfactory groups are part of the language used in the world of perfume to categorise a fragrance.
Although Karmameju’s three perfumes contain some of the same scents, such as precious Bulgarian Rose and enigmatic Labdanum resin, they each have a very unique composition – and therefore also a fragrance family.
Where NECTARFLAME is a sweet love child of the floriental fragrance family, URBAN OUD is a member of the intense, smoky wood fragrance family. Karmameju’s first perfume, POWDERBLOOM, is one of the sophisticated and complex Chypre fragrances, characterised by flowery feminine elegance and balsamic depth.
Follow your intuition
But how do you find out which perfume suits you best? This is an art in itself, but we all know the feeling of experiencing an intuitive, sensory attraction to a scent – of thinking that something smells nice. Discovering that a fragrance reminds you of something good – that’s the intuition to follow, and knowledge of the fragrance families will help you navigate your way through the jungle of fragrances on the market.
THE FRAGRANCE FAMILIES
A family can have many members – the same goes for the fragrance families. The eight fragrance families we work with all have variations within their “lineage”, because exciting, new fragrance combinations are constantly finding their way onto the market. So, it makes sense to try out new fragrances that come from a family of fragrances you know you like.
At Karmameju, we work with the following eight fragrance families and their characteristics:
Uplifting, light and green. Scents from the fresh fragrance family can evoke feelings of the sea’s cooling breeze, the sun’s rays on warm skin or the freshness of freshly cut citrus fruits. Light and airy summer fragrances in Eau de Toilette version are often found in this fragrance family.
Feminine, flowery and decadent. The floral scents bubble over with flowers. Reminiscent of romantic bouquets of cut flowers, Spring in full bloom and endless Rose bushes, the floral scents are some of the most popular among women’s perfumes. They are ultra-feminine and can be made either warmer with spices or more fruity with notes of sweet and bitter fruits.
Sensual, sweet and seductive. The floriental scents are, as the name suggests, a fusion of the floral and oriental fragrance families. They are a combination of light, flowery notes and intoxicating flowers, undertones of musk, spices, warm woody notes and balsamic resin. A complex fusion of flowers and heavy oriental notes that awaken the senses.
Sexy, spicy and warm. Scents from the oriental fragrance family are rooted in the early beginnings of the art of perfumery in the Orient – India and Arabia. They have a warm and heavy fullness, with ingredients that call the adventure, mystique and seduction of The Thousand and One Nights to mind. Oriental perfumes are ideal for evening use, their heady fragrance notes lingering on the skin.
Full, elegant and sophisticated. Scents from the Chypre fragrance family make themselves known with their decadent floral notes, and yet are delicate and underplayed with warm, dry elements of fruit and wood.
Chypre fragrances are thought to date back to Roman times and are often mentioned in perfume manuals dating back to the 18th century. The fragrance family is named after the island of Cyprus – the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love – known for its aromatic plants and Chypre-scented flowers.
Intense, dry, earthy. The woody fragrance family is dominated by warm, dry and markedly raw, smoky and earthy fragrance notes. Based on the use of resin, bark, pinecones, moss, leaves and earthy roots, the woody notes paint a picturesque scene of raw nature and enticing deep forests.
Sweet, warm and aromatic. As the name suggests, the gourmand scents are (almost) too delicious not to eat, making your mouth water. They are typically heavy and make you dream of runny caramel, chocolate or perhaps freshly ground coffee. Gourmand scents often have a sweet element of vanilla or other spicy undertones, providing warmth on cold winter days.
Masculine, green and deep. Perfumes in the Fougère family are classic men’s fragrances, containing some of nature’s most raw, grassy notes. In French, “fougère” means fern, and it describes the green, earthy, rooty and grassy scent that is characteristic of Fougère.
Choose your favourite
When you’re standing there in front of the myriad perfumes on the shelves, try and look at the different characteristics of the perfumes described on the boxes. If a perfume has the same characteristics as one of your favourites at home, you might just be holding your new favourite in your hands – and this is where the selection process and collaboration with your intuitive sense of smell begins.
Read the article Smell perfumes like a professional and help your sense of smell choose your next perfume.