Fragrance Notes? All you need to know


Whether you are going for a date night, banquet, business dinner, a regular day at the office or even casual hangout with family and friends; fragrance plays an important role in your wardrobe. It helps give a certain aura and presence to your being.

What creates this aura and presence is the use of fragrance notes in your perfume. The fragrance notes are the individual ingredients combined to form a unified, pleasing perfume. After you spray perfume, your nose starts to pick up certain scents, these scents are referred to as notes. Perfumers carefully select theses notes to make sure a fragrance smells pleasant and evokes a certain experience.

Classification of fragrance notes

Perfume notes are classified into three categories; head or top notes, heart notes and base notes. The top notes have higher volatility and hence evaporate faster while the bottom notes evaporate last.

Top Notes

The top layer of a fragrance is the scent you detect first after spraying a perfume. They are recognized immediately upon application and evaporate very quickly, given that they consist of lighter molecules, lingering for about 5 to 15 minutes.

Top notes of a fragrance make the first impression; we often do not wait for the appearance of the heart notes or dry down to determine whether we love perfume or not.  Common top notes include citrus (lemon, orange, bergamot), light fruits- like grapefruits, berries, and herbs like clary sage, floral notes like lavender and rose. Anise and basils are also used as top notes.


Heart Notes

The heart notes also as known as the middle note is considered the heart of the fragrance. They appear as the top notes fade and help to retain some of the top notes while introducing new scents to deepen the experience. Heart notes last longer than the top notes and also influence the base notes which may not smell as nice on their own.

Common heart notes include spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom, pepper, black pepper, pine, and lemongrass. They also include aromatic floral oils like jasmine, geranium, neroli, and ylang-ylang.

Base Notes

The base notes are the foundation of the fragrance. It appears after the top notes have faded and mingle with the heart notes to create more depth and resonance. The base notes are very rich, heavy and long-lasting as they sink into your skin and their scents for six hours or more.

Popular base notes include vanilla, musk, patchouli, oakmoss, amber and woody notes like sandalwood and cedarwood.


Now you know to pay attention to the notes when picking out your perfume. You know the first scent is the top notes and there is still a cocktail of scents coming after, you expect the perfume to evolve with time to give off the heart and base notes! Then you can decide, does this fragrance work for me?

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