The Song of Oils: Understanding Your Notes

A fragrance or fine perfume is like a melody, soft and gentle, or upbeat and festive. Fragrances are made up of top, middle and base notes that come together to compose a symphony of beautiful scents that seem to entangle and dance as they enchant the user with their magic. As soon as a wrist comes into contact with a spritz of fragrance, the top note is released. It may be fleeting, but after that it is followed by the middle and base notes, which serve to enhance the magic even further.

The Song of Oils: Understanding Your Notes

Top Notes

The top note is the scent that tells the story of the fragrance. It is the first impression you receive and it is usually fresh and light. These are the notes that intrigue and entice, and their main purpose is to attract and create a stage for the middle notes to appear.

The top notes usually evaporate in about 10 minutes, leaving the middle and base notes to take over. They include citrus, fruity, minty, and herbaceous scents. Some examples include lavender, sage, orange, bergamot or ginger.

Middle Notes

The middle note, which is sometimes called the heart note, makes up anywhere from 40 – 80% of the total scent. These are the notes that take the stage when the top notes have made their exit.

These notes take about two hours to evaporate and are usually made up of spicy, floral, aquatic, woody, or green scents.

These include neroli, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, geranium, lemongrass, coriander and nutmeg. The middle notes are intended to captivate and beguile the user into a mind-altering dance of memory. They are usually balancing, mellow and pleasant.

Base Notes

The middle and base notes usually work together to enhance the scent and create a full-bodied fragrance. They usually comprise of about 10 – 25% of the total aroma.

The base notes are the last notes to leave the user’s skin and their ultimate goal is to create a lasting impression. These notes only appear after everything else has evaporated and they can linger for up to several days.

These notes include balsams, resins, tobacco, sandalwood, cedarwood, amber, patchouli, vanilla, oak moss and musk.

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