Can Essential Oils be grouped?

Essential oils and aromas can be grouped and classified in a variety of different ways.

These groupings help us understand which essential oils blend well together. Mixing together the wrong, or incompatible, oils can result in a lifeless or otherwise unpleasant scent and can possibly diminish its therapeutic performance. However, producing a perfectly balanced and harmonious blend can be therapeutically powerful and an extremely thrilling and rewarding experience.

Essential Oils Blends

There are three most common ways, or classifications, used for grouping essential oils. They are:

  • Scent
  • Evaporation Rate
  • Therapeutic Properties

This week we will explore the different groups.

The first one is:

Classification Based On Scent

In the perfume industry, scents are often described and portrayed using colourful diagrams or aroma wheels. These methods attempt to group different scents into groups based on their unique natures and perceived sensations.

An underlying theory behind structure is that there are fundamental relationships between certain scent family members. This can show that some are more compatible than others when put together.

 

SCENT FAMILY

DESCRIPTORS

ESSENTIAL OILS

BLENDS WITH

Citrus

Fruity, Tangy

Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Mandarin

Floral, Minty, Spicy, Woody

Floral

Feminine, Soft

Lavender, Neroli, Jasmine, Geranium, Rose

Citrus, Spicy, Woody

Herbaceous

Green, Grassy

Clary Sage, Fennel, Rosemary, Thyme, Tea Tree

Minty, Woody

Camphoraceous

Intense, Medicinal

Camphor, Eucalyptus, Cajeput, Pennyroyal, Laurel Leaf

Citrus, Spicy, Woody, Herbaceous

Minty

Cooling, Earthy

Spearmint, Wintergreen, Peppermint

Citrus, Woody, Herbaceous, Earthy

Woody

Masculine, Musky

Sandalwood, Pine, Juniper Berry, Cedarwood, Patchouli

Floral, Herbaceous, Minty, Spicy, Citrus

Spicy

Warm, Crisp

Basil, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg

Floral, Woody, Citrus

Resinous

Fresh, Piney

Elemi, Frankincense, Myrrh

Citrus, Floral

 

When looking to produce a ‘simple’ blend you could use this classification to choose essential oils within the same scent family.

The chemical properties of these oils are closely related, and they should broadly be compatible with one another. Another technique is to select essential oils from two scent families that are well-known to blend effectively together.

The table above shows some of the most common examples. For instance, you could expect a Citrus type oil such as Grapefruit or a Woody oil like Pine or Cedarwood, to blend well with a minty oil like Peppermint.