Categories of Fragrance

The olfactive segmentation used in the Fragrance Foundation Training Course follows that implemented by the Comité Français du Parfum which categorises every fragrance to fit within one of four families; Floral, Chypré, Ambrée, and Fougère.

Where many other segmentations have a separate family for specific styles of scent (ie. citrus, woody, leathery, white floral), these will all fit into a larger category/family. For instance, most citrusy cologne style fragrances are based around a chypré base, and white florals will of course fit in amongst the floral genre.

This also allows you to simplify grouping a fragrance correctly, but also to sub-categorise each family based on its olfactive style. So whether a citrus chypré or an aldehydic floral, each fragrance should always be relatively simple to fit into one of the 4 umbrella families.

The classifications used in the Fragrance Foundation Training (as described above) are official classifications and are those that we would recommend being used, however there are many other terms in common use, and so as an aid to selling we have described some below. 

Widely Used Women's Fragrance Categories 


The light, fresh character of citrus notes (bergamot, orange, lemon, petitgrain, mandarin, etc.) is often combined with more feminine scents (flowers, fruits and chypre).


Green notes are natural in character; often married with fruity and floral notes, they are modern and fashionable.


An accord of different floral notes. Combines with any other family, flowery perfumes are universally commercial.

Flowery Aldehydic

Aldehydes add sparkle to flowery notes. Aldehydic creations radiate elegance and originality.

Single Floral

A composition based on the scent of one particular flower; the main examples are rose, jasmin, tuberose, lily of the valley or ylang.


A blend of warmth and mystery. Musks and precious woods are complemented by exotic essences.


Semi-Ambrées combine Ambrée notes with various florals. Top notes are often fresh.


Based on a woody, mossy and flowery complex, sometimes with aspects of leather or fruits, chypre perfumes are rich and tenacious.

Widely Used Men's Fragrance Categories


Thyme, sage, mint, rosemary, anis and clove are some of the herbs and spices that produce an aromatic perfume.

Fresh Citrus

Classical citrus notes (bergamot, orange, lemon, petitgrain, mandarin, etc.) that linger down to the base of the fragrance.

Floral Citrus

Floral accords round out the fresh citrus background of this masculine blend (woods and spices).


A powerful fantasy composition of bergamot, oakmoss and geranium.

Marine Fougere

Ozonic and marine accords act as the element of freshness in this modernized fougere.

Amber Ambrée

Sweet ambery accords with balsamic, caramel, or fruity nuances in the topnote.

Spicy Ambrée

Warm exotic spice notes intertwined with Ambrée base accords.

Woody Chypre

Base notes dominate, with moss and patchouli aspects lightened with a fresh citrus topnote.

Leathery Chypre

Dry, smoky or warm balsamic leather accords counterpoised with a fresh topnote.


Flowers, woods and balsam create this warm and sensual blend.


A warm, dry, elegant and masculine scent. Patchouli, vetyver, sandalwood and cedar form the heart of these fragrances.


A lavender note is dominated by the fresh, bracing scent of the flower. It is often blended with fougere, woods or floral notes.