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Perfume classification: The Fragrance Wheel

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A new classification of perfumes that is usually used in the fragrance industry is The Fragrance Wheel developed in 1983 by Michael Edwards, a well-known consultant in the perfume industry. He designed his own system of fragrance classification after being inspired by a fragrance seminar held by Firmenich.
The purpose of this new relatively classification system was initiated 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 which consist in Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh are are divided into three sub-groups and arranged around a wheel circumferences. The fifth family that makes exception from the rule is the Fougére family which being more "classic" stands in the center of the Fragrance Wheel:

The Fragrance Wheel

Most people outside the fragrance industry were confused by the classification of the fragrances in families for a long time. That's why in 1983 after attending a workshop on fragrances, perfumer Michael Edwards developed a graphical illustration of fragrance families and their relationship to each other, the Fragrance Wheel.

How to use the Fragrance Wheel:

  • Step One: Studying the Fragrance Wheel, learn the five main fragrance families represented: Fresh, Woody, Oriental, Floral and Fougere. Fougere is the only family that does not sub-divide and stands at the center being more classic having a more universal appeal and it combines elements of the other four. The others are arranged around the wheel’s circumference.
  • Step Two: Examine the sub-groupings in each family. The four other families have each three sub-families in the outer wheel that result when their essence is combined with the family on either side of it. These are: Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental, Oriental, Soft Oriental, Woody Oriental, Mossy Woods, Dry Woods, Citrus, Green and Water.
  • Step Three Look up which family four your favorite fragrances belong to. This will help you to learn your own preferred scent family.
  • Step Four Use a Fragrance Wheel to help you blend your own scents, as you like. Combine scents from families that overlap to create harmonious perfumes.

Fragrances of the World 2007: Parfums du Monde

The Fragrance wheel has been used to select and classify the fragrances listed in Fragrances of the World 2007: Parfums du Monde by Michael Edwards.
The book contains listings of over 5000 prestige, role, mass-market, travel retail and limited edition fragrances including 581 new fragrances then the 2006 edition.

Updated yearly since 2000, the book is considered a reference for retailers, perfumers and users.

The book electronic version of this book, available at FragrancesOfTheWorld.Info, won the 2004 FiFi (Fragrance Foundation) "Technological Breakthrough of the Year" award.

Fragrances of the World 2007: Parfums du Monde
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Reviewer: exclamationstar , 2010-06-07

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