Understanding Fragrance

Understanding Fragrance

Fragrance is such an everyday part of our lives, yet we don’t necessarily acknowledge what we smel,l and the impact it has on our life experiences and environment.

So, what is fragrance?

If we’re being technical, a fragrance is a blend of organic chemicals that exude pleasant aromas and contain various natural and synthetic raw materials. But there is so much more to it than that.

Fragrance could be described as a fusion of science and art where compounds meet highly skilled creators. The perfumer is the artist, with their own unique style. The fragrance is the piece of art, open to an individual’s personal interpretation and emotional response.

Each of our Apsley fragrances are unique and designed with care, passion and imagination. The composition is complex, with over 7000 raw materials available to the fragrancer when creating each scent. Our blends are so exceptional the perfumer holds their formulations in utmost secrecy.

How do you describe fragrance?

The best way to describe the experience of a fragrance is according to its aromatic notes, or the fragrance family it belongs to. The grouping of fragrances into families is never absolute as most fragrances combine aromatics from several different groups. The following broad groups classify most aromatics:


Florals are typically the most popular of the aromatic groups. These scents may embody that of a single bloom or an entire floral bouquet.

The most elegant of the families, florals evoke memories of romance, festive occasions and spring.

Ozonic (also known as Aquatic) is a ‘fantasy’ family characterised by its watery, fresh and sometimes cold notes.

A gentle, clean and crisp scent, inducing images of coastal walks or the cool, comforting scent of washed laundry waving gently in the breeze. 

Reminiscent of Asia and the Middle East, Spicy fragrances have a robust appeal and consist of warm, spicy amber notes, musk and vanilla.

Exotic and sensual, spicy scents are often rich and dark, bringing warmth to any room in winter or autumn.

Citrus notes such as bergamot, lemon, orange and petitgrain are invigorating and uplifting, making a fragrance feel energising to spur you on through the day!

Citrus fragrances are perfect for warmer climates or the summer season.


The Greens are a lush group containing typically botanical characteristics, like foliage, cut grass and fresh herbaceous scents.

Green fragrances feel alive, modern and fashionable.

The Fruity family includes all sweet, juicy fruit-inspired scents. The style of fruit can vary greatly. They can impart anything from a playful youthfulness to  a sultry aura of  sensuality.

A versatile fragrance family, fruit scents are suitable for any room in the house.

Referred to those ‘in the know’ as Gourmand, edible fragrance tend to be dessert-like. These are sweet scents like almonds, cupcakes, vanilla and coffee.

Ever-popular edible fragrances conjure memories from childhood and family gatherings.

The Wood family includes scents that are warm and opulent. Classic woody scents are dominated by cedar, patchouli, pine, sandalwood and vetiver.

These scents feel familiar, timeless and offer depth and calming comfort.

Understanding Fragrance

Our incredible bespoke fragrances are developed in collaboration with some of the world's most gifted perfumers. The scents in each of our brand collections – Apsley and Company , Abode Aroma and Scented Space – use high levels of complex essences with an average of 75 elements in each. Some of our most intricate fragrances hold up to 200 ingredients! The combination of a fragrance’s elements (the ingredients) hold and release a fragrance. 

There are three parts to a fragrance; top, mid and base notes as shown on the Fragrance Pyramid below:


Top Notes

These are the first scents you smell when initially exposed to a fragrance. These ingredients are typically volatile, light and fresh and have the shortest life in comparison to the other notes in a fragrance.

Essences: Citrus (grapefruit, mandarin & lemon), Green (peppermint, basil & spearmint) and Ozonic (watery and airy scents)

Fragrance Suggestions: 

Citrus: From our Abode Aroma Bevelled Crystal Collection try the Angelica Citron Candle and Room Diffuser it has a lively combination of lime, grapefruit and blackcurrant married with herbaceous notes of coriander, artemisia, geranium and oak moss – creating a sublime perfume of remarkable scope from high to low sensory notes.

Green: Our founder Helen, is a very keen gardener so she really is the expert when it comes to creating green and floral scents. Our Scented Space Greenhouse Vegan Leather Candle has drawn on scents from the garden to produce a candle that is sensual and calming with its wonderful green fragrant marriage of orange flower, papyrus & vetiver. 

Ozonic/Aquatic: From our Apsley and Company Luxury Collection we think you’ll love Santorini. Embracing dreamy marine notes, intertwined with patchouli and hints of black pepper, your space will be transformed into an aquatic haven, available in Travel Candle , 400g , 1.7kg , 2.1kg and 2.4kg Luxury Candles and a 230ml or 500ml Luxury Diffuser .

Mid Notes

The mid notes within the pyramid’s centre are sometimes called heart notes. These are notes that give the fragrance its character and intensity. The top and mid notes initially coexist before the mid notes dominate as the scent matures.

Essences: Floral (rose, jasmine & gardenia), Fruity (peach, apple & strawberry) and Spice (pepper, clove & cinnamon)

Fragrance Suggestions:

Floral: Apsley’s Halfeti fragrance is available across our diffuser, candle and room mist collections. It revels in floral notes of sumptuous black rose, laced with violet and grounded with musk – it’s simply divine.

Fruity: Remember how we said most fragrances combine aromatics from several different groups?  Abode Aroma’s Crisp White Lily is one of those. Whilst Lily is the top floral note, the mid notes ooze with lashings of peach, red apple and citrus leaves that will dance in the nose.

Spice: Scented Space’s Amber Woods 100ml Room Diffuser falls between Spice and Wood with a vibrant blend that envelops your home with rich cascades of cardamon, black pepper and amber. Gorgeous!

Base Notes

Lastly, the base notes (or dry-down notes) are at the bottom of the pyramid. These notes ground and balance the fragrance and provide depth to the fragrance.

Essences: Gourmand, Baked & Edible scents (vanilla, cocoa & brown sugar), Woody (sandalwood, patchouli & cedarwood) and Musk (sweet & powdery)

Fragrance Suggestions:

Gourmand: Whilst we don’t currently have a fragrance that’s consciously ‘Gourmand’ we do love to add notes like Vanilla to a fragrance as its sweet, yet creamy scent is the perfect comforting base to a scent without being too sugary. Perhaps try our ever-popular Vesuvius available in Apsley’s Luxury range of Room Mists , Candles and Room Diffusers .

Woody/Musk: We have a hypnotic selection of woody fragrances including Scented Space’s intensely scented interior Fragrance Diffuser Black Amber . Inspired by the majesty and mystery of the Black Forest, nature abounds with this enchanting fragrance. It will springboard you into woodsy adventures with a hypnotic creation of black amber, patchouli and musk fragrancing your space for up to 6 months.

So now you understand a little more about the fundamentals of fragrance we hope you are inspired to be a little adventurous and try a few different products to see which piece of fragrant art is perfect for you and your home. Don’t forget, we are always here to offer advice.

Happy exploring at https://www.apsleyaustralia.com/

Team Apsley xxx

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