With such a large range of Perfumes available on the market today, how do you choose one? Of course there are many factors to consider: price, image, packaging, and even if it is ethically produced (and if you're here, then chances are you CARE about that aspect!). Then of course there is the all-important aroma.
Most of us will gravitate towards just one particular type of perfume that pleases us. It may evoke certain memories or it may even be your unique chemistry. It's intensely personal! You may not even notice, but it is likely that all of the perfumes in your "scent wardrobe" will share a common family. What do I mean by this? Well, enter the Fragrance Wheel.
What is the Fragrance Wheel?
The Fragrance Wheel is a tool used in the fragrance industry to categorize fragrances based on their main scent notes. It was first developed by Michael Edwards in 1983 and has since become a widely used reference for perfumers and fragrance enthusiasts alike.
If you look at our image above, you can see that there are four main categories: Fresh, Floral, Woody, and Ambery (formerly "Oriental"). These categories are then further divided into fourteen subcategories, each with its own unique characteristics and set of fragrance notes.
Now let's look at the subcategories in more detail.
Floral: This subcategory is composed of scents from various flowers, such as rose, jasmine, and ylang-ylang. Floral fragrances are soft, delicate, and feminine, often described as romantic and elegant. Essential oils that fit into the floral subcategory include rose and jasmine.
Princess Jasmine may be categorised as a Floral Perfume.
Soft Floral: Soft floral fragrances are gentle and romantic, often containing a mix of floral and powdery notes. They are characterized by their delicate and tender scents, and are often described as "powdery". Essential oils that fit into the soft floral subcategory include violet, lilac and iris.
Pink Roses may be categorised as a Soft Floral Perfume.
Floral Amber: Floral amber fragrances are a combination of floral and amber scents, resulting in a warm, sensual, and luxurious fragrance. They are often described as rich, sweet, and comforting, and are ideal for special occasions and intimate moments. Essential oils that fit into the floral amber subcategory include patchouli, geranium and cassia.
Pure Aura and Secret Garden may be categorised as Floral Amber Perfumes.
Soft Amber: Soft amber fragrances are a lighter version of the amber subcategory, characterized by their warm and comforting scents. They are often described as gentle and soothing. Essential oils that fit into the soft amber subcategory include vanilla and cinnamon.
Peace and Love may be categorised as a Soft Amber Perfume.
Amber: Amber fragrances are warm and sensual, evoking feelings of luxury and indulgence. They are often described as rich, sweet, and comforting. Essential oils that fit into the amber subcategory include amber, benzoin and anise.
Elemental Amber may be categorised as an Amber Perfume.
Woody Amber: Woody amber fragrances are a combination of woody and amber scents, resulting in a warm and grounding fragrance. Essential oils that fit into the woody amber subcategory include sandalwood and labdanum.
Country Cottage may be categorised as a Woody Amber Perfume.
Woods: Woods fragrances are warm and grounding, evoking feelings of stability and comfort. They contain notes of woods and are often described as earthy, spicy, and masculine. Essential oils that fit into the woods subcategory include cedarwood and myrrh.
Wild at Heart may be categorised as a Woody Perfume.
Mossy Wood: Mossy wood fragrances are characterized by their earthy and mossy scents. They are often described as natural, grounding, and refreshing. Essential oils that fit into the mossy wood subcategory include pine and oakmoss.
Dark Forest may be categorised as a Mossy Woods Perfume.
Dry Wood: Dry wood fragrances are characterized by their dry and earthy scents, often containing notes of cedarwood, sandalwood, and patchouli. They are often described as warm, grounding, and masculine. Essential oils that fit into the dry wood subcategory include frankincense and vetiver.
Cradle Mountain may be categorised as a Dry Wood Perfume.
Aromatic: Aromatic fragrances are characterized by their fresh and clean scents, often containing notes of herbs and spices. They are often described as invigorating and energizing, and are ideal for everyday wear. Essential oils that fit into the aromatic subcategory include rosemary and lavender.
Day at the Spa may be categorised as an Aromatic Perfume.
Citrus: Citrus fragrances are characterized by their fresh and zesty scents. They are often described as light, refreshing, and energizing, and are ideal for warm weather and outdoor activities. Essential oils that fit into the citrus subcategory include lemon, orange, and grapefruit.
Citrus Smoothie may be categorised as a Citrus Perfume.
Water: Water fragrances are characterized by their fresh and aquatic scents. They are often described as light, refreshing, and invigorating. Essential oils that fit into the water subcategory include cucumber, water lily, and eucalyptus.
Green: Green fragrances are characterized by their fresh and natural scents, often containing notes of grass, leaves, and stems. They are often described as crisp, invigorating, and revitalizing. Essential oils that fit into the green subcategory include spearmint and clary sage.
Fresh Mojito may be categorised as a Green Perfume.
Fruity: Fruity fragrances are characterized by their sweet and juicy scents. They are often described as light, refreshing, and playful. Examples are apples, apricots, berries. It's important to note that it's not possible to create an aromatic pure essential oil from these fruits, but it is possible to mimic a fruity aroma by using a combination of oils.
Juicy Apricots may be categorised as a Fruity Perfume.
How is the Fragrance Wheel helpful?
You can use the Fragrance Wheel to help you figure out if you will like a particular perfume before you even smell it. This is important when you are choosing a perfume online that you can't try first (unless you are shopping with one of our Stockists and can sample the perfumes in-store).
You can simply look at the perfumes you already own, or the perfumes that you've smelled in stores or on other people, and identify what notes they have in common. You should be able to gain a sense of what categories they repeatedly fall into. This is your favourite category! Furthermore, if you read the descriptions of the subcategories, you will find that certain ones will appeal to you more than others.
Now that you know which subcategory is your favourite, you can simply see which of our Solid Perfume Balms fall into that category (we've included that information in the description of each Perfume).
A note of caution
Each perfume that we make at Wilderness Lab is a complex blend of a number of essential oils. Often, the subcategories will very closely resemble each other and some oils might fall into other subcategories. We've chosen the subcategory to best reflect the overall aroma of that perfume, even though one or two oils might fall into a different category. Also, perception of smell will vary from one individual to another, so you might not agree with our classification. This is just a guide, and is intended to help you make an informed choice. We think you'll love all of our perfumes anyway!
Hopefully now you have some understanding of the Fragrance Wheel. It is a useful tool for understanding and categorizing fragrances, and it provides a comprehensive overview of the various fragrance notes and scents available. Whether you are a fragrance lover or simply looking for a new scent, the Fragrance Wheel is a valuable resource that can help guide your fragrance journey. We hope it will help you to choose the right Wilderness Lab Solid Perfume Balm too!