Jump to content

Fragrance wheel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Fragrance Wheel, ver. 1983

A fragrance wheel [1] also known as aroma wheel, fragrance circle, perfume wheel or smell wheel, is a circular diagram showing the inferred relationships among olfactory groups based upon similarities and differences in their odor.[1] The groups bordering one another are implied to share common olfactory characteristics. Fragrance wheel is frequently used as a classification tool in oenology and perfumery.

The first example of a fragrance wheel was conceived by Austrian perfumer Paul Jellinek and titled the Odor Effects Diagram, published in the original German edition of his book The Practice of Modern Perfumery (1949).[2] Other notable versions include the Fragrance Circle, developed in 1979 by U. Harder at Haarman & Reimer, the Wine Aroma Wheel, from 1984 by sensory chemist Ann C. Noble, and the Fragrance Wheel, created in 1992 by perfumery taxonomist Michael Edwards.[3][4][5]

Fragrance Families and Personality[edit]

Various suggestions have been put forth about the relationship between a person's favorite scent family and their personality. Stephen V. Dowthwaite, founder of PerfumersWorld, claimed that "Our choices in perfume are influenced by [...] the image we want to portray." According to Dowthwaite, very feminine personalities gravitate toward Florals family while very masculine personalities prefer the Woody family. Young people tend to like fruity, creamy, and vanilla scents, young adults prefer citrus and metallic scents, and mature adults enjoy heavy white flowers and Chypres. Elegant, sophisticated personalities enjoy aldehydes, powdery notes and leathers, while earthy, practical personalities prefer tobacco, spice and green notes.[6]

Michael Edwards's Fragrance Wheel[edit]

Developed by a perfume expert to help retailers and consumers, Edwards's wheel consists of a primary scent family (Woody, Floral, Amber, Fresh.), divided into subfamilies (Floral Amber, Soft Amber, Aromatic, Citrus) . Many of the subfamilies were in turn again divided into Fresh, Crisp, Classical, and Rich composition gradings. Prior to 2010 Fougère group was placed at the center of this wheel.[7]

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 are 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. Originally they are:

1983 version
Fougère Floral Floral
Soft Floral
Floral Oriental
Oriental Soft Oriental
Woody Oriental
Woody Mossy Woods
Dry Woods
Fresh Citrus

With the publication of Fragrances of the World 2008, two new sub-groups: Woods and Fruity, have been added to the wheel.[8]

2008 version[7]
Fougère Floral Floral
Soft Floral
Floral Oriental
Oriental Soft Oriental
Woody Oriental
Woody Woods
Mossy Woods
Dry Woods
Fresh Citrus

The chart was again modified in 2010, moving the Aromatics section to in between Dry Woods and Citrus to synchronize the official chart[9] with recent studies on smell perception.[10][11][12] The groupings are rough, and overlapped according to different sources.[13][14][15][16][12] This chart aims to synthesize those groupings into an organized structural format. [2] There are examples provided for each subfamily for what the scents are similar to.

2010 version[17][18][19]
Families Subfamilies Examples[20][21][19]
Floral Floral Fresh cut; flowers
Soft Floral Aldehydes; powdery notes
Floral Amber Orange blossom; sweet spices

(or previously Oriental)[14]

Soft Amber Incense; amber
Amber Oriental; resins
Woody Amber Sandalwood; Patchouli
Woody Woods Aromatic woods; vetiver
Mossy Woods Oakmoss; amber
Dry Woods Dry woods; leather
Fresh Aromatic Lavender; aromatic herbs
Citrus Bergamot; citrus oils
Water Marine; aquatic notes
Green Galbanum; green notes
Fruity Berries; fruits

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fragrances of the World - Discover Michael Edwards' world of fragrances". www.fragrancesoftheworld.com. Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  2. ^ Jellinek, P. (1949) Praktikum des Modernen Parfümeurs, Vienna
  3. ^ Harder, U. (1979). Der H&R duftkreis. Haarmann & Reimer, Contact, 23, 18-27.
  4. ^ Noble, A.C., Arnold, R.A., Masuda, S.D., Pecore, J.O. Schmidt, and P.M. Stern, “Progress towards a standardized system of wine aroma terminology.” American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 35 (1984), pp. 107-109
  5. ^ Edwards, Michael. Fragrances of the World. Sydney, N.S.W.: Fragrances of the World, 1992. Print.
  6. ^ "The Art and Technology of Perfumery Bangkok March 2012". PerfumersWorld (Video). DAY 4: 4-01--Perfume and Personality. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Edwards, Michael (2008), Fragrances of the world 2008, Michael Edwards & Co, ISBN 978-0-9756097-3-6
  8. ^ Boberick, Mark David (2010-03-30), "Sniffapalooza Magazine Exclusive interview with Michael Edwards Fragrance Expert and Author of "Fragrances Of The World"", Sniffapalooza Magazine
  9. ^ "Fragrances of the World - Discover Michael Edwards' world of fragrances". www.fragrancesoftheworld.com. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  10. ^ Zarzo, Manuel; Stanton, David T. (2009), "Understanding the underlying dimensions in perfumers' odor perception space as a basis for developing meaningful odor maps", Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71 (2): 225–247, doi:10.3758/APP.71.2.225, PMID 19304614, S2CID 207550431
  11. ^ Donna, Laura (December 2009), "Fragrance Perception: Is Everything Relative?", Perfumer and Flavourist, 34: 26–35
  12. ^ a b "A Simplified Guide To Using The Fragrance Wheel". www.alphaaromatics.com. 2021-11-21. Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  13. ^ "Fresh Fragrance Notes". Pure French Soaps. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  14. ^ a b youhana, helena (2020-11-12). "FRAGRANCE FAMILIES EXPLAINED". SCENT BEAUTY. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  15. ^ liviatiana (2013-07-09). "The Beauty of Fragrance feat. The use of Fragrance Wheel". Liviatiana. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  16. ^ "A Simplified Guide To Using The Fragrance Wheel". www.alphaaromatics.com. 2021-11-21. Retrieved 2024-03-17.
  17. ^ Edwards, Michael (2011), Fragrances of the world 2011, Michael Edwards & Co
  18. ^ "Explore Michael Edwards' Fragrance Wheel - Discover Michael Edwards' world of fragrances". www.fragrancesoftheworld.com. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
  19. ^ a b "The Fragrance Wheel". 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2024-03-04.
  20. ^ Leanna, Serras. "Your Guide to the Fragrance Wheel and Scent Families".
  21. ^ "Understanding The Fragrance Wheel". Beauty Base. 2020-04-29. Retrieved 2021-08-28.

External links[edit]