The Fragrance Wheel
is a fragrance
classification method developed in 1983 by Michael Edwards, a consultant in the fragrance industry. He designed it after being inspired by a fragrance seminar by Firmenich
The new method was initiated in order to make simpler the fragrance classification and naming scheme, as well as to show the relationships between each individual fragrance family.
The four standard families are Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh. These are in turn divided into three sub-groups and arranged in a circle, each group being related to the next. The exception to this rule is the Fougère family which stands in the center of the Fragrance wheel as it contains elements from many of the other families.
Originally they are:
|Soft Floral |
|Floral Oriental |
||Soft Oriental |
|Woody Oriental |
||Mossy Woods |
|Dry Woods |
The Fougère family is placed at the center of this wheel since they are a large family of scents that usually contain fragrance elements from each of the other four families; citrus from the fresh family, oak moss and woods from the woody family, coumarin and incense from the Oriental family, and lavender from the floral family.
In this classification scheme, Chanel No.5, which is traditionally classified as a "Floral Aldehyde" would be located under Soft Floral sub-group, and "Amber" scents would be placed within the Oriental group. As a class, Chypres is more difficult to place since they would be located under parts of the Oriental and Woody families. For instance, Guerlain Mitsouko, which is classically identified as a chypre will be placed under Mossy Woods, but Hermès Rouge, a chypre with more floral character, would be placed under Floral Oriental.
With the publication of Fragrances of the World 2008, two new sub-groups: Fruity and Woods, have been added to the wheel
The sub-groups of the fragrance wheel are:
- Floral (Floral + Fresh Notes). Main notes include fresh-cut flowers.
- Soft Floral (Floral Notes). Main notes include aldehydes and powdery notes.
- Floral Oriental (Floral + Oriental Notes). Main notes include orange blossom and sweet spices.
- Soft Oriental (Oriental + Floral Notes). Main notes include incense and amber.
- Oriental (Oriental Notes). Main notes include oriental resins and vanilla.
- Woody Oriental (Oriental + Woody Notes). Main notes include sandalwood and patchouli.
- Woods Main notes include aromatic woods and vetiver.
- Mossy Woods (Woody + Oriental Notes). Main notes include oakmoss and amber.
- Dry Woods (Woody Notes). Main notes include dry woods and leather.
- Citrus (Woody + Fresh Notes). Main notes include bergamot and citrus oils.
- Green (Fresh Notes). Main notes include galbanum and green notes.
- Water (Fresh + Floral Notes). Main notes include marine and aquatic notes.
- Fougère - The universal fragrance family whose scent includes elements from different families: the freshness of from the Citrus family, floral notes of lavender, the spicy-sweetness of a Floral Oriental, the ambery depth of an Oriental and the Mossy Woods warmth of sandalwood and oakmoss.