We’ve all been there – thinking “what is that?” as you experience an unfamiliar good (or even bad) scent in the air.   You’ve also probably tried to identify the scent, like a burning desire to know exactly what it is and where you’ve smelled it before. Perhaps it was walking past an exclusive boutique or even while you were standing around the kitchen with your family as the smell of freshly baked croissants filled the air.

While we easily identify the memory, emotion or feeling that scent brings us, we often struggle to describe the smell using different words – this can be incredibly frustrating. We smell a solution on the rise – the next time you have to describe a scent, use the following pointers as a helpful guide.

The Different Notes of Scentsscent marketing

Notes help us break down different scents. Combining different elements of a note allows us to create entirely new notes. Notes are the parts of scent you notice in small bursts. These notes help you identify a scent as well as what types of scents you enjoy. This makes it easier to choose a scent for yourself as well as your brand. Notes represent different feelings and portray different attitudes, which is essential when using scent in business. Knowing which notes you enjoy may even help you chose a signature scent for your brand.

If you have an idea of what scent you want, notes will help you describe the scent you’re pining after for your space. You’ll be able to communicate these notes to your scent specialist to create your perfect scent.

Notes can be broken into:

  • Top Notes

The first bit of scent you smell that is strong at first, but fades quickly.

  • Middle Notes

After the top notes fade, the middle notes have their time in the spotlight. These tend to last longer, alongside the base notes.

  • Base Notes

The base notes last the longest out of all the notes. This smell will remain and surprise you randomly after the other notes have disappeared.

The Scent Groups

If describing scent according to notes is a little overwhelming for you then let’s try scent groups. There are a variety of different scent groups that scent notes fall under. The five main scent families also include sub-families within this. However, this gets far too complicated and we don’t want to scare you off! The five main ones you’ll need to remember here are floral, oriental, fresh, fougère and woody.

  • Floralscent marketing

Floral scent is, as the name suggests, the scent that comes from flowers. This can either be a single flower scent or a combination of different flower scents. These scents are feminine, soft and subtly sweet (yes, you can use emotions and adjectives to describe a scent too). This scent group even has the potential to boost your mood and increase the occurrence of pleasant dreams.  

  • Oriental

Also known as “Amber”, oriental is a large fragrance class that features scents like vanilla. Breaking down the oriental fragrance group results in more specific scents like soft oriental and woody oriental.

  • Freshscent marketing

These are the green, grassy and natural scents – including citrus, water and sea scents. These scents are known for making people feel full of energy and life.

  • Fougère

This scent is sharp and full of herbs and spices. It is often the scent used for men’s colognes and can be described as a woody, rich smell.

  • Woody

Similar to the fougère scent, this scent is also often used in men’s fragrance. It can be described as an earthy, sensual, and harmonious scent. One of our clients once described a scent within this group as ‘the hot guy smell.’

To Describe Scent

If you don’t think you’ve got the hang of how to describe smell yet, there are a couple more methods you could use:

  • Describe the scent using colourscent marketing

Is the scent light, dark, or in between? Is it a vibrant shade or something subtle?

  • Distinguish the scent’s texture

Is this a hard or soft textured scent? How does the scent feel?

  • Taste the scent

What is the flavour of your scent? Does it remind you of a particular food or beverage?

  • How does the scent make you feel?

Lastly, try to think of how the scent makes you feel. Is it happy or energising or perhaps calming?

If all else fails, here’s a list of helpful adjectives that you can use to describe the scent:

Airy, aromatic, balsamic, beautiful, bubbly, cheap, clean, cool, delicate, delicious, delightful, divine, exotic, exquisite, faint, familiar, fine, floral, fresh, green, gentle, graceful, heady, heavenly, heavy, light, lovely, mild, musky, natural, overpowering, overwhelming, peculiar, pleasant, powerful, precious, pure, rare, refreshing, rich, sickeningly sweet, soft, sparkly, spicy, spiritual, smoky, smoldering, strong, subtle, warm, wild, wispy, zesty.

Being able to describe a scent will make it easier to pick out a signature scent for your business. For more information on different scents, contact BrandScents.