Odour Note, Pyramid Note and Fragrance Families

I’m writing this as much for myself as for you the beginning perfumer to bring clarity to form within the process of building a scent from the ground up.

I’ve been trying to reconcile in my head the difference between a note and a family of notes. Here’s why: sometimes when I research the two I find much overlapping and this creates confusion especially when perfumers freely interchange them.

But then I came to the conclusion that much of my confusion was caused by my inexperience. In trying to create better links throughout the site that do a better job at informing it’s been necessary to go through the older posts from 3 years ago and either re-write them or eliminate them altogether.

What’s becoming clearer is that a family of notes is quite distinct in having characteristics of its own that have been pre-established for the purpose of marketing the finished product; take Chyphre , Oriental or Fougere for example.

You might already have this figured out and not be struggling with this, if so just ignore this post, but for the purpose of clarity and organisation of the blog and as a way to establish my own process, I felt the need to create these distinctions in a way that I can better understand and faster create in my mind. 

All this to say that from now on I’ve decided to make a change to the order of the information and instead of Note and Family it will read PYRAMID NOTE and ODOUR NOTE simply because I believe that PERFUME FAMILY is a marketing term and, really, I don’t want to be concerned about that at this stage of evaluation as that classification is better left for the finished product. You’ll find all three available in the drop down menu under PERFUME PROCESS.

Of course, one should have a sensitivity for what one is creating all the way through the process and, yes, if you’re following a creative brief, having a solid understanding of these families helps guide you, but as I said, that’s not where I am yet and my focus is more on the notes.

What I have decided to do is write a page on the various families, which you’ll find here; a page on the various odour notes, which you’ll find here and and a page on the pyramid notes with some examples, which you’ll find here.

Please do keep in mind that these are only meant to be guidelines, suggestions, a possible path for you to follow. At the end of the day the responsibility is yours to make it your own and find your own way through the work.