The choice of fragrances and scents seems to grow wider every day, as manufacturers fight for our attention and try ever harder to distinguish their offerings from the competition. With such a selection to choose from, how does one even begin to know where to start when it comes to buying perfume?Broadly speaking, all perfumes fall into one of six different categories based on their dominant top notes. Different categories will suit different people or occasions.Earthy or woody type perfumes evoke smells of the forest, and are usually very refreshing. They often tend to appeal to the older generation, and may make ideal gifts. Oriental fragrances use strong spicy scents, and are ideal for special social occasions, but be cautious giving them to anyone you don’t know well – these intense perfumes can be a very personal choice.The so-called ‘greens’ are much lighter than the orientals, and are well suited to more casual wear. Because they make a less dramatic assault on the nose, they are also safer to give as gifts!Modern ‘oceanic’ fragrances are becoming more and more popular, particularly among younger people who appreciate the intense but often quite unusual scents, which instantly bring to mind seaside scenes. Naturally these are an excellent choice in the warmer months when thoughts turn to holidays.Spicy fruity perfumes are also a good warm-weather choice, and can be a good all-round choice for the woman who wants to wear something with some traditional base-notes but is a little different to the classic floral scents. Finally, those classic floral fragrances are suitable for almost everyone and any occasion. But be wary of cheaper brands, this most feminine of all the main groups works best when the ingredients used are of high quality, and that means less expensive brands can smell exactly that.Ultimately, choosing a fragrance is a very personal choice, and many women prefer to stick with what they know and buy the same thing year after year. But by trying different fragrances from the same group as your favourite smell, you may just discover a new gem.