Top Notes, Heart Notes, Base Notes. Fragrance Notes Explained

January 17, 2020

A terminology borrowed from music has taken root in the aroma industry too. Any perfume consists of three stages of sounding and each brings its own dominant element and a number of additional ones. All substances are also divided into three groups according to the degree of evaporation, and this is what determines the stability of a particular fragrance.

fragrance pyramid

Top Notes

Also known as opening notes or head notes. This is the first impression which your nose picks up when the perfume is applied onto your skin. It lasts up to 10 minutes, then disappears, gradually passing the baton to the heart notes’ combination.

Don’t buy the bottle immediately — let the other components reveal. It happens that after 15 minutes an excessive sweetness or, on the contrary, bitterness may appear — something that you won’t like and won’t expect to feel. The Fashiongton Post advises to apply a little amount of perfume to the blotter and then take a smooth breath at some distance. Then get back to this blotter in a quarter of an hour and try to catch the difference.

top notes perfume

Popular fragrance top notes include light fruits (grapefruit, berries), citrus (lemon, orange zest, bergamot) and herbs (clary sage, lavender).

Heart Notes

The heart notes, or the middle notes are the center of composition and fragrance pyramid. It lasts up to 4-5 hours. As a rule, one essence is taken as the basis — the leading one, and the rest of them to accompany it. It’s extremely important to choose the right blend so that other scents would not interrupt the main one. Perfumers usually use soft, flowing scents for heart notes.

It’s the core of a fragrance, designed to complement the image of a person, to present him or her in a favorable light. Depending on the temperament, women or men choose floral, fruity, spicy or woody scents. The Fashiongton Post also advised to consider the time of year and the type of an upcoming event that you’re planning to use the perfume for. Concerning everyday wear, it’s better to choose some unobtrusive heart notes. And for an evening in a restaurant — feel free to select bright and rich compositions.

heart notes perfume

Popular fragrance heart notes include ylang-ylang, geranium, rose, lemongrass, coriander, nutmeg, lavender, neroli and jasmine.

Base Notes

The base notes are the final fragrance notes that appear once the top notes are completely evaporated. The most persistent essences are usually being used for the base notes, so it would leave fleur on hair and clothing for up to the whole day. These notes are usually made of resins, leather, wood. Therefore, the scent remains heavier, more tart, and at the same time is easily perceived, since the concentration of these components is often lower than that of the heart notes.

base notes perfume

Popular fragrance base notes include amber, patchouli, cedar wood, sandal wood, vanilla, oak moss and musk.