With so many varieties of cologne and perfume it can be overwhelming to choose the right scent. Not only that, but the descriptions can be even more confusing. How are we supposed to know what agarwood and sandalwood smell like? And how are we supposed to know whether ambergris or lavender suit these scents? For someone that isn’t familiar with perfumery or exotic materials from the depths of Africa and the Far East, it is easy to not know where to start when buying perfume and cologne.
For those of you who don’t know a regular Green from a regular Chypre, the following basic information may be helpful. There are five basic families for which a specific fragrance can belong: Floral, Fougère, Oriental, Fresh, and Woody. Although there may be the occasional deviant, the majority of fragrances you will come across can be classified as members of these five families.
Within these families are subgroups such as floral, soft floral, floral oriental, soft oriental, oriental, woody, oriental, and so on. While there can be a lot of variance within these groups, and no fragrance is strictly a member of a certain subgroup, they serve as general guides when you choose a perfume or cologne. Many of the same scents can be found throughout the different families, but the difference in the overall smell of the fragrance is what truly drives the classification.
If you are looking for a traditional flowery scent, the Floral family will serve you best. If you are looking for a more exotic scent, then the Oriental family is definitely what you are looking for. Of course, if you are looking for a more trendy scent, or something appropriate for a younger girl, a Fresh perfume is what you will want.
Men, on the other hand, will typically find success with the Woody family. Many of these scents are regarded as manly, and serve as the perfect cologne for a variety of situations. Fougère is also a good family to explore, since the variety of scents that are brought together within this family often create a wonderfully sophisticated manly fragrance. Fresh colognes of the citrus or aquatic make are also appropriate for practically any man of any age, and are office favorites.
Of course all of these families and subgroups are loose descriptions of fragrances that couldn’t be accurately summarized with a thousand words. Thus it is best to simply explore and see what you find, using these families and subgroups as helpful friends to guide you on your way to purchasing the perfect perfume and cologne.