Understanding Fragrance Notes
Just like music, fragrances are made up of different notes. Being able to master fragrance notes is key for any scents-lover. By understanding your fragrance notes, you’ll be able to find the perfect fragrance every time.
As scent specialists, we are focused on creating scents that make you smile. To help you find the perfect scent for you, here’s our guide to understanding fragrance notes…
What Are Fragrance Notes?
Fragrance notes are essentially the different scent layers that make up the final fragrance. These scents are split into three distinct elements: top notes, heart notes and base notes.
Together, the top, heart and base notes work together to create a beautiful fragrance. Without the combination of all three, a fragrance just wouldn’t be appealing.
The top notes of a fragrance are sometimes known as opening notes or head notes because they are the fragrance notes recognised on immediate application. Top notes are the lightest of all the notes. As a result of their lightness, top notes are also the first to fade – but that doesn’t disregard their importance.
Top notes represent the first impression. They may not be the longest-lasting element of a fragrance but they’re the first thing you’ll smell when trying a new fragrance. Top notes represent the initial scents that lure you in, causing you to make your first impression of the fragrance.
Typical top notes include citrus elements (bergamot, lemon, orange zest), light fruits (anise, berries, grapefruit) and fresh herbs (basil, sage, lavender).
As their name suggests, heart notes lie at the heart of the fragrance. Otherwise known as middle notes, this scent layer is the foundation of any fragrance and is known to make up approximately 40-80% of the final fragrance.
The heart notes start to make an appearance just before the top notes fade away and will strongly influence the base notes to come. Heart notes aren’t to be taken lightly!
The heart of a fragrance should be pleasant and well-rounded. Because of this, scents such as cinnamon, rose, ylang ylang, lemongrass and neroli are all common and recognisable heart notes.
Finally, the base notes will start to shine through once the top notes have completely evaporated. Alone, base notes make up 10-25% of the final fragrance. However, the base notes also blend with the heart notes to deepen the complexity of the fragrance.
Where the top notes make the initial impression, the base notes are associated with the dry-down period of the fragrance and so, base notes will create the final, lasting impression.
Base notes are often rich and smooth, as well as being the longest lasting of the three notes. Common base notes include cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli and musk.
by Tasmin Lofthouse