Classifying Fragrance

Michael EdwardsMichael Edwards, a consultant in the perfume industry, developed a perfume classification method called the Fragrance wheel in 1983. It is used to simplify fragrance classification through visual representation of the fragrance families to show the relationships between each individual class.

The five major families are: Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fougère, and Fresh. The first four families are considered to be more classic compared to the latter, which are citrus and oceanic fragrances that are brighter and cleaner. Each of the families are divided into subgroups and arranged around a wheel, with the exception of the Fougère family. The Fougère family is placed at the center of the wheel because it is comprised of scents from each of the other four families. The following is a picture of the Fragrance wheel, and the break-down of each of the individual families and their subclasses:

Frgrance Wheel
[Copyright © 1992-2004 Michael Edwards]

Floral – Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental
Oriental – Soft Oriental, Oriental, Woody Oriental
Woody – Wood, Mossy Woods, Dry Woods
Fresh – Citrus, Green, Water
Foug̬re Рcombination of citrus (Fresh), oak moss and woods (Woods), coumarin and incense (Oriental), and lavender (Floral).

Edwards’ wheel is widely used in retail and in the fragrance industry for its clear classification. On a more personal level, the fragrance wheel can help you figure out your own preferred scent by looking up which family your favorite perfumes belong to.

2 Responses to “Classifying Fragrance”

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