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Fragrance families: which is your favourite scent?

Updated: May 17

Mine is Soft Amber...

In the interests of transparency I should tell you I only came to this realisation a few years ago. It you had asked me before Bougie Lab I would have waffled some answer about sweet but not sickly, citrus but not sharp, floral but not twee, and so on. The truth is I didn't really know, I hadn't given it much thought. I smelled a smell and either liked it or didn't. When at events I'll often ask customers a similar question only to quickly see the look of terror sweep across their face.

Maybe it's a fear of judgement at not knowing what we think we should know about ourselves.

But honestly, if this is you, you are not alone. Favourite foods don't seem to pose the same level of challenge, nor does preferred music genre....why is our sense of smell ignored so much? Probably because, unlike our other senses, our sense of smell is a deeply unconscious process. It's so intrinsically linked to memories that your favourite smell is probably nothing to do with the chemical makeup of what you are smelling but more the memories attached to that smell (see my Blog entry on this). You might wonder whether knowing specifically which scents you like really matters but the evolution of shopping habits means we now make most shopping decisions on a screen, making scent shopping particularly tricky.

Until such time as Smell-O-Vision is a reality, online scent shopping is dependent solely on description

Step forward the Bougie Lab Fragrance Wheel, a tool designed to help you make a decision on fragrance you think you'll like.

Fragrance wheel with fragrance families
Bougie Lab Fragrance Wheel

If you are already familiar with our scents you could start inwards out and you may well see a pattern. For example if you know you love Cotswolds Ramble then you sit in the fruity/floral area and you will probably like Moroccan Kasbah. However, if you are new to Bougie Lab then take a look at the descriptions below, which one appeals to you most? That will help to pinpoint where you might sit on the wheel and give you a starting point for choosing a fragrance.


Floral family including fruity, floral and soft floral
Floral Fragrance

The most classic of the four, floral scents are full of nature's blooms. Ranging from classics such as rose, jasmine and lily to softer florals with powdery, musky notes such as lilac and lavender. This family also includes sweeter, fruitier notes including tropical scents such as coconut and mango to orchard scents like apple and plum.

Floral scents make great daytime scents and are most popular in the Spring/Summer months.


Amber fragrance family including floral amber, soft amber, amber
Amber Family

Fragrances from this family tend to come from Eastern origins, think notes of frankincense, oud, vanilla and cinnamon. Amber fragrances are often warm and spicy and can fill a room with a opulent and sensual atmosphere. Perfect for evenings and most popular in Winter months.


Woods, woody scents including mossy and dry woods
Woody fragrance family

Woodsy notes are exactly as they sound. Derived most commonly from sandalwood, patchouli and cedar these fragrances are typically more masculine but can be softened with citruses and aromatics. Woodsy notes add elegance and richness to a scent. Particularly popular with males, woodsy fragrance are often burned in Autumn.


Fresh scents including aromatic, citrus, water and green
Fresh fragrance family

Probably the widest ranging category of the four, fresh scents span from herbal aromatics, to fresh and zingy citrus, uplifting marine and rain to earthy greens and freshly mown grass. These scents are vibrant and their variation means they work all year round - think fresh mandarin in the Summer versus spicy orange in the Winter.

Did you find that helpful? Will you think about fragrance families when choosing your favourite scent? Let me know in the comments.

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