What is a scent profile?

Even as our relationships to makeup and hair care have shifted over the past year, fragrance has remained a reliable way to transcend our homes, conjure closeness to faraway relatives, and find elevation in a string of mundane days.

As we emerge into more social situations, finding a signature scent may seem like a relevant search. But how to go about it? Unpacking the notes and recognizing how they work with your unique body chemistry is the first step, and one of the key classifications of a particular perfume is its scent profile. From detailing the layered notes to identifying its scent “family,” the profile is an easy way to understand a fragrance’s composition while matching it up against the mood you want to be in when you apply. 

So, what really is a scent profile?

“In the fragrance world, olfactive families are a way to break down and classify how a perfume smells rather than what it contains,” says Joan Tanis, national training director at Maison Francis Kurkdjian. “Simply put, there are eight olfactive families that are divided into two groups: in the Warm group, there is fougere, oriental, and leather. In the Fresh group, you have citrus, floral, and aromatic. Interestingly, the chypre and woody families are a cross between warm and fresh.”

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