Understanding the Creation and Differentiation of Fragrances 

Projections show annual growth of 1.69% for the fragrance market, which already accounts for $8.7 billion in revenue worldwide. What makes this industry so popular is its versatility. From high-end fragrances, such as the Carolina Herrera perfume collection, to simple body sprays, something exists for everyone. Learn about the notes and processes that make the fragrances you love.

Derivation of Fragrances

Fragrance notes come from natural and synthetic sources. The natural elements are often plant-based and derived using biotechnological or physical methods. Synthetic fragrance ingredients are sometimes artificial and sometimes designed to replicate natural notes. The compounds used to create most fragrances include:

  • Lactones
  • Alcohols
  • Esters
  • Aldehydes
  • Ketones

In the U.S., the FDA regulates the use of fragrances in cosmetics, a classification that includes perfume, cologne and aftershave. However, no system exists for testing or approving products that use them. This means manufacturers are solely responsible for ensuring product safety and intended use.

Scent Families of the Fragrance Wheel

The fragrance wheel, also known as the scent wheel, displays the notes used to create perfumes and colognes. It contains the scent families and breaks them down into subfamilies to simplify their relationships with one another. The four scent families include floral, oriental, fresh and woody notes, each with unambiguous identifiers. Manufacturers will combine natural and synthetic notes that fall under these categories to create signature scents.

Floral Notes

Most cosmetic products contain floral notes, creating a flowery scent in women’s perfumes. The four subfamilies include:

  • Fruity: sweet scents like apple, peach and peach
  • Floral: natural flower scents like roses and lavender
  • Soft floral: creamy notes with a hint of sweet and floral
  • Floral oriental: a combination of spices and flowers

Floral aromas blend well with other notes and create popular spring and summer fragrances.

Oriental Notes

Oriental notes are the exotic, heady scents that create powdery and spices fragrances. The subfamilies include soft oriental, which mixes warm spices with floral notes and incense, and woody oriental, where you find more earthy notes like sandalwood and patchouli that blend well with sweet and spicy notes. The middle ground is notes of vanilla and musk, like what you find in more Carolina Herrera perfume favorites, Good Girl and 212 Sexy.

Fresh Notes

Fresh notes create fragrances that remind you of clean linens and bright locations. The subfamilies include aromatic, citrus, green and water. Aromatic notes are woody with herbs, while citrus notes provide the zest of bergamot or lemon. Green smells like fresh-cut grass and water notes are commonly synthetic for aquatic scents like ocean, rain or sea spray.

Woody Notes

Woody notes are typical in women’s and men’s fragrances. The subfamilies are woods, like sandalwood and cedarwood, and mossy woods, which have sweet and earthy scents like amber. Finally, dry woods create smoky aromas you associate with leather. These are popular year-round and make excellent nighttime scents.

Finding the Right Fragrances

With so many fragrance combinations on the market, building a collection of your favorites can take time and research. You can even mix perfumes or colognes to create your own signature scent. Check out LaBelle Perfumes for an extensive catalog of fragrances for men and women at discounted prices.