We have all heard the saying that “people who smell good are automatically more attractive” and I am pretty sure all of us want to be automatically more attractive. With this being said, picking a fragrance can be very daunting. This is why I have put together this beginner’s guide to equip you with all the knowledge you need to navigate the perfume aisle with ease and confidence.

Before we get to unpacking the big, fancy words, I think its important to note that perfume ultimately boils down to preference. You need to decide if you want to smell like fresh flowers or fruits or sandalwood. It is all up to what attracts you.


Perfumes are composed in different ways. The way in which perfumes are constructed is like a pyramid with 3 levels namely, top, middle, and base notes.

  • Top notes: This is what you smell when you first mist your fragrance. The smell is very light and citrusy
  • Middle notes: These are also known as “the heart” and comes through when the top notes disappear. This can be described as the main character of the perfume. Your Fruity, Floral, and spicey notes are some of your common middle notes.
  • Base notes: These notes determine how long the perfume scent will last and how strong the scent will be. Woods, moss, and musks are common base notes.

These notes are sometimes divided into “fragrance families” and these will help you figure out what you want to smell like.


Fragrance families can be divided into 4 main categories with various subdivisions. These main categories are Floral, Oriental, Woody, and Fresh.

  • Floral fragrance family: Floral scents are found in most popular perfumes and mostly found in women’s perfumes. perfumes with a floral scent literally smell like fresh cut flowers. Bloom by Gucci is a perfect example of a floral fragrance.
  • Oriental fragrance family: Oriental scents are rich and exotic scents. They are opulent and seductive. When you think of oriental scents, think herbs, spices, and powdery notes. These scents can be strong and are often softened with sweet or amber notes. Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent is an example of a seductive, oriental fragrance
  • Woody fragrance family: These scents are opulent and warm and mix incense-like fragrances like sandalwood with drier notes like cedar. Floral and citrus notes are sometimes used to tone down the warmth of woody scents. An example of a fragrance that belongs to the woody fragrance family, is Polo’s, Ralph Lauren.
  • Fresh fragrance family: Fresh scents are characterized by bright scents. Most scents that fall under the fresh fragrance family are oceanic and citrusy and herby. Most men’s fragrances fall under this category. An example of this is the Versace POUR HOMME 50 ML BLUE.


You can see that the world of perfume is not as basic as most people thing. There is an entire science behind it all like most niches. If you find this complicated, you can always ask the shop assistants to help you choose your signature scent or a gift for a loved one. You can also try this perfume quiz to find out what your signature scent is and share your results with us in the comments below.

Let us know which one of these fragrance families are your favourite and tell us what your signature scent is.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Emily says:

    I’m definately a fresh scent lover 🥰

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