This article is the fourth in our discovery of the fragrance families, according to the classification of Michael Edwards illustrated on the Fragrance Wheel. After the Florals, the Orientals, and the Woods, here come the Fresh.
The Fresh fragrance group, as seen by Edwards, is gathering the rather disparate families of the Fruity, the Green, the Aquatic and the Citrus or Hesperides. Each family deserves its own review, which I will certainly post in the future. I will treat my favorite Aromatic fragrances in a separate article, even if Edwards also classified them into the Fresh. Today, I will introduce some classic perfumes of each family to illustrate their similarities and differences.
With all my respect for M. Edwards, I have difficulties to consider the fruity fragrances among the Fresh group, as in my opinion they are made of primarily sweet notes. As Citruses have their own family, we are left with notes of berries, apple, plums and peaches, pineapple and other tropical fruits. The Fruity is a rather new family in perfumery, as the traditional steam distillation does not work with sweet fruits. Most fruity notes are in fact the produce of the chemical industry and cheaper perfumes tend to be using them extensively.
The DNKY Delicious Series is an excellent representative of this family.
Green notes are the smell of evergreen plants and grasses, but not herbs, as these are the base of the Aromatic family. Here again, the green notes are seldom natural but usually a cocktail of different aroma chemicals such as the widely used cis-3 hexenol, and few other interesting cis-3 hexenyl esters. These chemicals add a sharp and clean effect to the fragrance and blend well with floral notes. We can compare them to the accompanying foliage in a floral bouquet.
Try Philosykos from Diptyque, Hermes with Un Jardin collection. I love Un Matin d’Orage from Annick Goutal, and the greenest of the green one can probably find in the market: Chamber by Fueguia 1833.
These aquatic fragrances transport us to the ocean where sea sprays are blown in our face by the wind, leaving us with an ozonic and salty fresh feeling.
Again, aroma chemicals are behind this pleasant oceanic and ozonic sensation, such as calone, floralozone, and many other signature products from Firmenich, Givaudan, Mane and few others.
Davidoff Cool Water and Acqua di Gio by Armani are two very classic aquatic fresh fragrances for men. For ladies, Issey Miyake with L’Eau d’Issey pour femme and its seasonal variations is a perfect introduction to this family.
THE HESPERIDES FAMILY
Citruses grew in abundance in the Garden of the Hesperides, where nymphs were watched by a fearful dragon for not eating the divine fruits.
Citruses are magic top notes in fragrances since the ancient times as the mechanical extraction of the essential oils from the peels is easy. There are more than 50 distinct species of citrus, each with their particular aromatic signature. Aroma chemicals also replicate very well such notes today, with the example of linalool, being widely used in most modern fragrances.
The oldest fragrances of our modern era are the Colognes, named after the German city of Cologne where they got first famous. These fragrances were actually produced in Italy, where citruses were harvested. The combination of citrus top notes with aromatic hearts makes a light and crisp juice perfect for daily body care. Look for the 1709 Original Eau de Cologne by Farina; this is one of the oldest alcohol-based perfume in the world. More complex and subtle, yet with obvious citrus top notes is the classic Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior for men, launched fifty years ago already. L’Eau de Rochas for women is a beautiful equivalent for ladies, introduced in 1970 and still on sales today.
To conclude, the Fresh Fragrance Group is very broad and composed of pretty different perfumes. When the cool effect from top fresh notes fades, the heart and base notes reveal the character of an oriental, a floral or a wood, if not an aromatic fragrance. It is certain that fresh effects in the opening are very much sought upon, as this often decides the purchase of the fragrance in the shop. The large aroma chemical companies understood well this opportunity and invested massively to find new molecules and accords that will surprise and hypnotize customers at the first sniff. It is not by chance that this Group is the one showing the biggest growth in recent history.
I wish you a fresh and fragrant weekend!