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Top, Middle, and Bottom Notes in Fragrances

A Note on Notes


Every Good Boy Does Fine. Remember that helpful little reminder for determining a note's horizontal position on the staff? Like music, fragrances depend on a delicate balance of notes, each working to bring harmony to the composition.

Fragrances are specifically designed with top, middle, and base notes, which individually bring something different to the table. A perfume's smell is not only affected by your body chemistry, but by the evaporation process of each note itself.

To learn more about each of the three notes read more.


  • Top Notes: Fresh and light, they're the most volatile of the bunch, meaning they evaporate the fastest — around 5-30 minutes. Often used as the "selling point" for the perfume, since it's the aroma you smell first. They comprise about 20-40 percent of the blend.
    Examples: basil, bergamot, lemon, orange, tea tree oil, grapefruit
  • Middle Notes: Known as the "heart" of the fragrance, middle notes make up the most of the mix — anywhere from 40-80 percent. They become more noticeable after the top notes linger off, and take 10-30 minutes to unfold on the skin. Warm and balancing, they cut some of the edge off of the base notes.
    Examples: Lavender, black pepper, pine, geranium, rosemary, juniper
  • Base Notes: Making up about 10-25 percent of the fragrance, base notes are what remains when the middle note aroma fades off. They are the longest lasting of the trio and actually help boost the staying power of the top and middle notes. Grounding, deep, and rich, they become stronger with time, usually developing about 30 minutes after application.
    Examples: Sandalwood, rose, vetiver, patchouli, jasmine, cedarwood

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