Pale yellow background with pink and blue clouds in bottom left and top right corners. There are 4 image circles. Image 1 is of fresh flower heads. Image 2 is of sliced citrus fruit. Image 3 is of amber. Image 4 is of a stack of wood logs.

Fragrance Families Explained

Although there are an infinite number of scent notes and combinations, most people tend to be drawn to certain types of scents time and time again. To simplify the process, we classify fragrances into families.


There are four scent families: woody, floral, amber, and fresh. Each of these families are shown on our SGS DEALS Fragrance Wheel below, a circular diagram which illustrates the four scent families in relation to each of their subfamilies.


The Fragrance Wheel was invented by scent expert Michael Edwards, it was designed to help perfumers and fragrance lovers by placing families that share common scent characteristics next to each other. Subfamilies that are side-by-side on the wheel are most similar and therefore very likely to blend nicely together in a perfume, whereas families located further away from each other are less related.



Possibly the most popular of the families, florals are split into three subcategories;

  • Fruity
  • Floral
  • Soft Floral

    Florals smell like fresh cut flowers or can even be powdery.
    Common scents within this family are;
    Rose - beautifully demonstrated with the hit of various rose scents from Tom Ford's Rose Prick.
    And Orange Blossom and Jasmine - which are combined together in the stunning YSL Libre.




    This family is the only one to have four subcategories;
    • Water
    • Aromatic
    • Green
    • Citrus

    The fresh family smells of citrus (lemon, lime), herbs (rosemary, basil), aquatic notes (sea water) heading into light aromatic woods such as a light splash of oak moss - as demonstrated nicely with Invictus Eau de Toilette - which brings us nicely onto our next family.




    The woody family have three subcategories;

    • Mossy Woods
    • Woods
    • Dry Woods

    Warm scents spring to mind here, alongside opulence and powdery wood.
    Popular woods in fragrances include sandalwood - a popular choice of scent which beautifully rounds the various scents in Boss Bottled nicely - smoky vetiver, patchouli and cedar.




    Formerly known as "Oriental", the amber scent family includes herbs (bay leaf, rosemary), spices (cinnamon, pepper) and dry, powdery resin notes.
    The subcategories are;

    • Soft Amber
    • Amber
    • Woody Amber

    Amber scents can be described as "exotic", "sensual" and warm - exactly like that delicious warm vanilla scent from your Eilish Eau de Parfum.


    Once you’ve decided which family you prefer, have a look for the sub-family directly across from it on the fragrance wheel to find secondary notes that are complementary to your preferred scent family. Understanding your scent profile in this way will help you master your fragrance preferences and will be a huge help when you're searching for a new perfume.
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