What Are Fragrance Notes? – Top, Middle & Base Notes

Fragrance notes are best explained as a pyramid. The fragrance pyramid which is divided into three parts each relate to a note and each are given a specific length of time that the note is suggested to last on the skin. The premise of the fragrance pyramid of perfume notes is that when you first smell a perfume you get a heady whiff of top notes, which settle down into the mid notes after about 10 – 15mins and then relax into the base notes of the perfume which is what stays on the skin for up to six hours.

Take a look at the fragrance pyramid below, and then we can begin to delve into what the different notes of perfume each section of the pyramid describes.

What are fragrance or perfume notes?

Perfume scent notes are divided as you see in the pyramid into three categories, namely top notes, mid notes and base notes. Let’s take an in-depth look into what each of these describe:

Top Notes

Top notes can be described as the first impression of a perfume. These notes, which are often more citrus and sharper in characteristic, hit you first when you smell a perfume and can last for between five and 15 mins on the nose. Top notes are strong but do not last long and are the strongest in the first minute during which the fragrance is sprayed.

Mid Notes

Once the top notes have evaporated, the mid notes of a fragrance linger on. The mid notes are said to carry a fragrance from top to bottom between the top and base notes and have even been described as the heart of a fragrance. Mid notes are often floral and fruitier in nature and linger on for about 20 – 60 minutes.

Base Notes

Base notes linger the longest and are created to last up to six hours on the skin. Made up usually of deep, woody and even musky scents, base notes are designed to carry a fragrance. Once the hits of the top notes are gone and the heart of the mid notes have left, the base notes carry the perfume for a lasting impression. If we associate a person with a smell or if we are able to smell a perfume on clothes or scarves for days afterwards, this is probably the scent of the base notes that have lingered.

There is not an exhaustive perfume notes list but the premise or basic creation of every fragrance can be attributed to it’s top, mid and base notes. When creating a signature scent, you will be encouraged to create a fragrance based on what notes you’d like to mix together based on the fragrance pyramid.

How to describe fragrance notes?

Alongside top, mid and base notes, scents can be further explained and categorised by the fragrance wheel. The fragrance wheel divides perfumes into four families and further in to sub-families under each family. In a nutshell, these are:

Floral Notes: fruity, floral, soft floral and floral oriental.

Oriental Notes: soft oriental, oriental, woody oriental and woody

Woody Notes: woody, mossy wood, dry wood and aromatic

Fresh Notes: aromatic, citrus, water, green and fruity.

Find out more about perfume scents, in our blog on What Are The Different Types of Perfume Scents

If you’re intrigued by the understanding of fragrance notes and would like to find out more about how to create a signature scent for yourself or your company, chat to the ACS Promotions team about how today on 011 783 0605.

Tags: Perfume

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