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Fragrance Families

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Citrus

Citrus notes are derived from citrus fruits, as one would assume. The light, zesty aromas created by these fragrance notes are highly volatile and usually used in the top note of fragrance.

One can find citrus fragrances in a variety of fragranced products from perfume to household cleansers. The fresh, fruity character of citrus denotes energy, cleanliness, sparkle and vibrancy when used in a fragrance compound.

Recent trends in the citrus category include the use of more exotic fruits in combination with traditional citrus's. Pomelos, kumquats, loquats and satsumas are just some of the delectable new notes invading this zesty category.

Examples are lemon, grapefruit, lime, orange, bergamot, mandarin etc.

Fruity

Fruity notes give the impression of full, ripe, edible fruit odors, excluding the citrus fruits. This can include the sweet scents of berries, the nectars of luscious fruits or even the exotic appeal of tropical fruits. They can comprise an entire fragrance, or blend with other notes to give sweetness, realism or lift to a scent.

Fruits have been popular in personal care products for the past decade but are not exclusive to this category. Fruits are used in virtually every product category in fragrance to denote luscious aromas, juiciness, fun, youthfulness, watery notes, dewiness and a “natural” aspect to a scent.

The fruity category is widely varied from green apples to sweet strawberries to comforting coconuts. Recent trends include the blossoming of dark, rich fruity notes as well as bright, tropical fruits.

Examples are currants, berries, cherry, grape, apple, peach, melons, coconut, kiwi, mango etc.

Floral

Florals are a fragrance family, or type, that is either characteristic of a specific flower or a blend of several flower notes. Floral notes are used in most fragrance creations and can range from classic roses to fresh, green freesias to lush, tropical tuberoses.

The classic floral aromas are found in many traditional fragrances. They are feminine, sophisticated and reminiscent of classic perfumes and skincare lines. Many florals found in personal care and air care products are “trickle down” versions of floral perfumes that show popularity among consumers in the fine fragrance market.

The classic florals are staples of virtually every fragrance on the market today. If used sparingly, they bring a hint of elegance and lift to a fragrance. When used more prominently, they are ultimately feminine and beautiful.

Examples are rose, jasmine, violet, honeysuckle etc.

Fresh Floral

Fresh floral notes have seen renewed popularity in recent years. This is especially true in the personal care category. Watery notes and green notes mingle with these crisp, natural-smelling florals to provide a scent that appeals to today’s consumer.

Fresh floral scents have similar appeal to the citrus category of aromas. To consumers, they denote fresh, clean, light, invigorating and hydrating. They are popular as single notes among younger consumers and in sophisticated combinations with more mature shoppers.

These aromas are often used in spa-inspired lines as well to denote natural and wellness. Their refreshing character is often combined with citrus’s and fruits to create the watery scents that one identifies with the spa.

Examples are lily of the valley, hyacinth, freesia etc.

Tropical Floral

The exotic appeal of tropical florals is due to the lush, complex character of its many blossoms. These aromas can be creamy and smooth or spicy and invigorating, but they are always favorites among consumers.

Tropical florals denote luxury, pampering, nurturing, sophistication, caring and even repairing formulas to consumers. They are often found in indulgent and upscale products that emphasize luxury and femininity.

The creamy quality of the tropical floral is especially interesting to many consumers in recent years. Gardenias and tuberoses are heady white florals that have led the floral trend in fine fragrances while the more fruity plumeria has captivated the personal and air care categories.

Examples are tuberose, plumeria, gardenias etc.

Green

The green fragrance family features odors that are reminiscent of nature. Whether it be freshly-cut grass, leaves, vegetables or a warm, moist forest, green notes give a great natural impression. They add lift and vigor to a fragrance compound and are often found in the top and middle notes for spa and personal care products.

To many consumers, green notes denote clean, fresh, efficacy, and vigor. They are also used to denote natural and wellness. Green notes are often combined with fruits to create a watery impression in fragrances as well.

Like fresh florals, green notes are also very popular in the spa category where they add a refreshing character and the feeling of “naturalness” to a product.

Examples are grass, aloe, cucumber, bamboo etc.

Herbaceous

Herbaceous notes are identified by a grassy-green, spicy character that is often interpreted by consumers as a therapeutic aroma. These scents are most often derived from natural herbs and are often used in personal care products to denote efficacy in specific products (I.e. dandruff shampoo).

Herbaceous fragrances denote cleaning, wellness, natural, invigorating and refreshing to the average consumer. They are often used in products that are problem-solving or promote wellbeing.

Herbs have always been used in perfumery, but due to the rising popularity of aromatherapy and spa products, they have seen renewed growth as a fragrance category. The newest herbaceous notes are ultra-realistic and life like.

Examples are chamomile, basil, verbena, mints, lemongrass, clary sage etc.

Aromatherapeutic

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils, herbs and fragrance compounds to heal, beautify and/or soothe the body and the mind. Although this practice has been in existence for over 6,000 years, it has seen a remarkable resurgence in the marketplace today.

The notes found in aromatherapy lines can be found in all categories. Almost all citrus fruits, flowers, herbs and spices have some aroma benefit. Each aroma is selected to achieve a specific emotional benefits (energizing, refreshing, sensual, soothing). All aromatherapeutic fragrances give the impression of wellbeing, natural, “good for you” and are appropriate for spa positioning as well.

Although aromatherapy scents were first used in personal care products, their popularity has introduced them to virtually every product category from perfume to candles to dish detergents.

Examples are lavender, green tea, rosemary, pine etc.

Oriental

The oriental fragrance family or type consists of heavy, full bodied and long lasting perfumes and perfumery notes. They are often blends of spices, woods, balsamic, amber or musk notes and most contain vanilla in the background. These perfumery ingredients are most often found in the base notes of a fragrance.

To most consumers, oriental fragrances denote nurturing, warmth, comfort, sensuality, luxury and the exotic when used in any product category.

Modern oriental scents can take many forms. Although they are rarely as heavy as the classic oriental fine fragrances, today’s orientals are still extremely sensual as they blend warm florals with their spicy, edible notes.

Examples are ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, amber, musks, moss etc.

Edible

Edible fragrances are primarily a family of scents used in environmental and personal care fragrances, but share many notes with the oriental family. This category includes scents that are reminiscent of foods and food ingredients. Spices, creamy notes, grains and fruits are all common ingredients in achieving a mouthwatering edible scent.

These delectable aromas are usually comforting and often nostalgic to the consumer. The overall rendition is warming and soothing. It is for this reason that edible fragrances are known for increased popularity during the holiday season.

Recent trends in the edible category have shown a shift in the traditional vanilla-based comfort scent. New, unique notes from grains and gourmand aromas like chocolate and caramel are showing the increasing sophistication of this fragrance category.

Examples are chocolate, bread, gingerbread, pumpkin pie, carrot cake etc.