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Essential Oil Aromatic Classifications

Essential Oil Scent Categorization

When blending essential oils, it is helpful to understand what aromatic traits particular essential oils have in common.

Essential oils can be categorized together based on their primary scent characteristics. Shown below is a list of 100 essential oils that have been categorized into 18 aromatic groups based on the most dominant aromatic trait within the oil. Click on an essential oil's link to view a detailed profile for the essential oil.

Having said that, scent is highly subjective, and many essential oils do not have a single dominant aromatic characteristic. Therefore, it can be challenging to classify some essential oils. Some oils can be associated with more than one scent category or fragrance family. Lastly, the aroma can vary between one distillation and another for natural reasons. The Petitgrain Essential Oil that I am working with, for example, may be more floral or woody in aroma than the Petitgrain Oil that you have on hand.

Not everyone will be in agreement with how some essential oils in this list are classified, and that is perfectly fine. For example, you may disagree with the inclusion of Lemon Tea Tree and the other non-citrus rind oils within the Citrus group. It can be excellent practice to individually evaluate your essential oils and create your own classification system. This list serves as a good basis for your own personal assessments and categorizations.

For more information on blending essential oils, see AromaWeb's Aromatic Blending of Essential Oils article. It is a part of AromaWeb's extensive Essential Oil Blending Guide.

100 Essential Oils Grouped By Scent Families

Anisic

Balsamic

Camphorous

Cineolic

Citrus

Coniferous

Earthy / Rooty

Floral

Fruity

Green

Herbaceous

Medicinal

Minty

Mossy

Peppery

Resinous

Spicy

Woody

References:

  • Jennifer Peace Rhind, Listening to Scent (London and Philadelphia: Singing Dragon, 2016), 121-127.
  • Valerie Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Mind (Novato, CA: New World Library, 1996), 272-276.

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