The woody family is characterised by a strong presence of dry woods (cedar, vetiver) or soft woods (sandalwood, amber woods). It is continually being enriched by the addition of new inflections with the use of exotic woods or synthetic products. Woody notes give a warm spacious character to creations. They have been present in male fragrance for a long time and often constitute the “backbone” around which the fragrances are developed. They can be made fresher with the addition of aromatic, marine or citrus facets, or made more sensual and embracing with spicy, leathery, oriental, fruity or gourmand and powdery touches.
The timeless leader, Pino Silvestre by Vidal, lead to the birth of fresh woods, followed during the years by Fahrenheit by Dior with its vegetal and floral nuances, by Kenzo pour Homme with its marine top note and by Déclaration by Cartier with its lively fresh spices. It is actually the spices, the more traditional ones, the dry ones which are present in the classics Vetiver by Guerlain and Egoiste by Chanel which give the compositions an intense and voluptuous vein, and which can be modulated with other facets such as leathery in Gucci pour Homme or even powdery such as in Dior Homme.
In order to find female versions of the woody family it is necessary to wait until the ‘90s with Feminité du Bois by Shiseido with a cedar wood/sandalwood accord. Together with floral or musk notes the woody accords give life to subtle and original fragrances, with elitist elegance.
The family called Leathery was very widespread in the past. It recreated the characteristic dry and sometimes smoky odour of tanned leather which has been enriched with citrus or floral notes.
Very fashionable from 1920 to 1960 it was used both in male and female fragrances such as Knize Ten by Knize, Bel Ami by Hermes or Cuir de Russie by Chanel. It grouped together animal notes and the more typical leathery notes such as birch, labdanum and tobacco ….
Today, animal raw materials are no longer used in order to protect species under threat of extinction and have been substituted by synthetic molecules, which are much more ecological. In modern times the leathery notes are used to give elegance and originality to other families.