The Scent Wheel Explained

The Basis Of All Scent

The scent wheel is a great way to determine the kind of scents that you're drawn to. Much like the colour wheel you might have learnt about in school, where colours are placed according their relationship to one another, scent works the same way.


The modern fragrance wheel was created by international perfume expert Michael Edwards in 1992, building on his 1984 Fragrances of the World reference guidebook and previous versions of the wheel which have been around since 1949. An evolving database for modern fragrances is updated daily by Michael and his team of fragrance experts, the database now contains product information on over 40,000 fragrances from across the globe.

How Does It Work?

Fragrance Wheel Families

The fragrance wheel has four main families: Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh. These are then further divided into sub-groups which describe the scent in greater detail eg 'Soft Floral' or 'Woody Oriental'. Placing a scent on the wheel is dependent on the base scent and the addition of certain scent notes. It is commonplace to mix fragrances together to create different scents, it is preferred to only mix scents from one or two overarching families.

Fragrance Wheel Sub Groups

Here is a list of the sub groups and their associated main scent notes.

  • Floral - Freshly cut flowers
  • Soft Floral - Aldehydes and powdery notes
  • Floral Oriental - Orange blossom and sweet spices
  • Soft Oriental - Incense and amber
  • Oriental - Oriental resins
  • Woody Oriental - Sandalwood and patchouli
  • Woods - Aromatic woods and vetiver
  • Mossy Woods - Oakmoss and amber
  • Dry Woods - Dry woods and leather
  • Aromatic - Lavender and aromatic herbs
  • Citrus - Bergamot and other citrus oils
  • Water - Marine and aquatic notes
  • Green - Galbanum and green notes
  • Fruity - Berries and non-citrus fruits

The Lumos Apothecary Scent Wheel

Some scents are great to be paired together, Lavender & Chamomile and Aloe & Cucumber are great examples of how two base scents can work in harmony with each other. Knowing where a scent lies on the scent wheel can be a good way to find your next favourite candle.

Lumos Apothecary Scent Wheel

How To Use Our Scent Wheel

Our scented candle range has grown so much over the last 3 years and there is one particular question that we get asked all the time at events: "Which one do you recommend?". We've found that this can be a tricky question to answer. Scent is such a personal choice and everybody has their own preferences (and needs). This is exactly why we've created our scent wheel, to help you to choose.

It is usual for someone to like fragrances from up to 2 or even 3 of the fragrance families, so let's test it out on Tom:

Favourites: Not So Favourites (This was hard!):
Fireside Violet
Cuban Tobacco & Oak Eden
Rocksalt & Driftwood All Hallows


We can see here that he's particularly drawn to the Woody and Fruity scent families. The scent family that he would probably not choose from would be the Floral side.

Over to you. Take a look at our fragrance wheel and start exploring our wide range of scented candles to scent your space exactly how you want to.



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