Brand roundel

Olfactory Journeys

Fragrance part science, part elusive magic

For CRANBOURN® fragrance is part science, part elusive magic.

Biologically, our individual olfactory journeys are already starting subconsciously as we develop inside the womb. These journeys of scent become solidified in early childhood, when our brains begin laying down more permanent memories and we begin to link scent with places and experiences. As we develop, we quickly learn to seek out positive scents (and avoid the more unpleasant ones!).

Scent to Enhance Atmospheres

Our founders have always been fascinated by nature, botanicals and scent – especially how important they are in wellbeing and luxury experiences. What struck them, particularly when travelling, was how a particular scent enhances the overall atmosphere of a destination or experience.

Scents leave an unshakeable impression on us. We all instantly recognise most fragrances in our daily lives. Even when a fragrance has not been experienced for years, the scent can instantly unlock and release a flood of memories and emotions. Nothing else has that innate power.

Nature, Botanicals and Essential Oils

For CRANBOURN®, it is only by understanding the relationship between nature, botanicals and different cultures that the elusive magic of fragrance production can begin. Once we have tapped into the mysterious natural process, we can then add the important tangible scientific element.

We are passionate about our olfactory journeys. We travel to different places to discover the olfactory and medicinal properties of the plants and essential oils we use in our products, their impact and influence on local cultural heritage and personal wellbeing.

Scents and Cultural Heritage

Scents have been used by different cultures in different ways for millennia to enhance environments and moods, often through simple everyday experiences. Generally, the scents favoured by local cultures are influenced by the availability of the naturally occurring botanicals and their associated compounds – which in turn are used either in their natural form, or refined and blended with other essential oils to create more complex aromas.

For CRANBOURN®, this is where the real essence and elusive magic of fragrance begins: with an understanding of botanicals and their essential oils, learning from ancient apothecaries and blending with modern science. Like ancient apothecaries, we continue this tradition of using botanicals to manufacture our products – all of our products contain the finest quality botanically derived essential oils.

Unlocking the Wonderful Intricacies of Scent and Botanicals

Unlocking the wonderful hidden intricacies of scent allows you to start using fragrances to enhance your own life and personal wellbeing. Both personal and home fragrances can work together to enrich, experiences, environments and mood.

So how do you tap into the power of scent – and how do you find your favourite scent?

A good starting point is to learn to recognise which fragrance families you favour, and when and where to use them.

The Fragrance Families

Fragrances are broadly divided into four main olfactory families – Oriental, Woody, Fresh and Floral. These olfactory families do not exist in a vacuum. They have an interrelationship with each other, and each complements the other families in unique ways.

To help explore the intricacies of these families, it is best to explore and discover fragrance types via the CRANBOURN® fragrance wheel.

The Oriental Fragrance Family

If you are picturing exotic sun-hazed horizons, market baskets overflowing with spices, and rich expansive sands stretching out to a Moroccan sunset, you are heading in the right direction.

Oriental scents can be sharp and spicy, mellowed and softened with sweet rich notes like cinnamon or vanilla. The Oriental family is further split into three subcategories – the slightly floral Soft Oriental, the spicy warmth of Oriental, and the deep, rich musk of Woody Oriental.

What you can expect to smell:

Nutmeg, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Patchouli, Amber, Musk, Sandalwood, Anise

The Woody Fragrance Family

Intensifying the depth and warmth of Oriental is the next fragrance family: Woody. Woody fragrances move from the oriental incense-like notes to dry, smoky leather-like scents.

The Woody family can be seen as being masculine, though in truth this really is not the case. This fragrance family can be worn by anyone, and the dry rich scents make great home fragrances, too. This family’s subcategories are opulent Woody scents, earthy Mossy Wood scents and smoky Dry Wood scents.

What you can expect to smell:

Sandalwood, Cedar, Amber, Oakmoss, Leather, Fir, Camphor

The Fresh Fragrance Family

If you prefer something a little lighter, crisper and brighter than Oriental or Woody, your fragrance choice may well fall into the Fresh family.

Zesty, herby or citrusy notes lift the Fresh scents up and make them a wonderful choice for a light daytime fragrance. Think walking through dewy woods in the spring, chopped herbs and lemon, a salty dip in the ocean and the aroma of freshly cut grass.

Fresh subcategories include herby Aromatic scents, zesty Citrus notes, Water scents like sea salt and fresh rain, and clean Green scents.

What you can expect to smell:

Lemon, Sage, Lavender, Basil, Mint, Lemongrass, Grapefruit, Rosemary, Mandarin

The Floral Fragrance Family

The final olfactory family is the most widely used and best-known: the Floral family. Like the Woody family, Floral has traditionally been considered as being solely a feminine fragrance – though again, this is not necessarily the case in modern perfume.

Floral scents can range from delicate and powdery to sharp, sweet and edible. This diverse fragrance family is split into four subcategories: tropical or sweet Fruity scents, traditional fresh Floral notes, elegant Soft Floral and slightly spicy Floral Oriental.

What you can expect to smell:

Jasmine, Rose, Peach, Lily, Peony, Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Violet

Using Scent to Enhance Your Life

Once you are comfortable with the fragrance families, they can help you make more informed decisions on scent. The classifications help us understand the relationship between scents, how they complement each other, how we can mix them and how we can use them throughout our days.

We hope you will enjoy joining us on your personal olfactory journey to create and enhance your own personal atmospheres.


CRANBOURN® developed from the idea that there is another way, by continually exploring, discovering and creating the very best sustainable luxury fragrances for our customers.