Fragrance Families

It’s surprising that we are not taught a vocabulary of fragrance as children. With the exception of familiar smells from the kitchen and garden, most of us find scents vast and strange. We strain to articulate sensations and our descriptions make informed discussion near impossible. Out of necessity, perfumers have developed a language of scent. At the heart of that language is fragrance classification which defines Accords (several notes combined to create a single effect). Glasshouse calls these Fragrance Families.

Our hope is that sharing the following information will help you understand what style of fragrance you like and where it fits in the world of perfume. This will help you navigate your way through the fragrances of Glasshouse.

To classify our fragrances Glasshouse uses the terms: Traditional (used by perfumers since 1900) and Modern (used after 1940) families.

Traditional Families: Eau de Cologne, Chypre, Fougère, Oriental, Floral (both single and bouquet floral).

Modern Families: Fruity, Gourmand, Herbal.

In addition, throughout the fragrance descriptions, Glasshouse refers to Top, Middle and Base Notes. Here is an explanation of what they mean:

Top notes: Also referred to as head notes, these are the scents that are perceived immediately when experiencing the fragrance. When buying a perfume, wait a few minutes before forming an opinion, because the top notes will soon be gone and it is the middle and base notes that you are going to live with.

Middle notes: Also called the heart notes, this is the scent that emerges just prior to the top notes evaporating. The middle notes are the body or support of the fragrance, but together with the base notes form the theme of the fragrance.

Base notes: Base notes are the foundation of the entire fragrance. They are typically rich and "deep" and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after applying the perfume. The exception is in scented candles where the heat from the flame forces top, middle and base notes to reveal themselves simultaneously.