Perfume notes are ingredients that make up a fragrance. They are categorized as top notes, heart notes, and base notes.
This carefully selected blend of ingredients forms the perfume accord, the basic character of a fragrance. Perfume makers carefully select notes to make sure a fragrance both smells pleasant and evokes a certain experience. Notes are classified in a fragrance pyramid. Notes at the top of the pyramid have higher volatility (they evaporate faster), while notes at the bottom are longer-lasting.
What Are Top Notes?
Top notes, sometimes referred to as headnotes, are the scents you detect first after spraying a perfume. These play a role in setting first impressions and shaping a fragrance’s story.
Top notes usually evaporate quickly, lingering around for only the first five to fifteen minutes. Their main purpose is to give off an initial scent and then transition smoothly into the next part of the fragrance. As a result, top notes generally consist of lighter and smaller molecules.
What are Heart Notes?
As the name suggests, heart notes make up the “heart” of the fragrance. Their function is to retain some of the top notes’ aroma while also introducing new scents to deepen the experience. Sometimes referred to as middle notes, the heart notes also serve as a buffer for the base notes.
Because they make up around 70 percent of the total scent, heart notes usually last longer than top notes. Heart notes appear as the top notes start to fade and remain evident for the full life of the fragrance.
Along with middle notes, base notes form the foundation of the fragrance. They help boost the lighter notes while adding more depth and resonance.
Since they form the perfume’s foundation, base notes are very rich, heavy, and long-lasting. They kick in after about 30 minutes and work together with the middle notes to create the fragrance’s scent. Since base notes sink into your skin, their scent lingers the longest and can last for six hours or more.
How Do You Identify Perfume Notes?
You can identify perfume notes based on the time passed after the application of the perfume. Top notes are those you smell immediately after the perfume first touches your skin. Once this initial burst fades, the heart notes kick in to form the essence of the perfume. Base notes are the scent that lasts the longest and is the one you remember most. Every note adds a certain quality to the fragrance.