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Fragrance Notes: What Are Top Notes, Heart Notes, and Base Notes?

Fragrance ingredients are classified by their "notes" or scent characteristics. Following are the typical classifications that are used in categorizing scents:

What Are Top Notes?

Top notes normally evaporate very fast. They tend to be light, fresh and uplifting in nature and are usually inexpensive. Top notes are highly volatile, fast acting, and give the first impression of the blend. However, they are not very long lasting. Top notes often make up about 20% of a perfume recipe.

What Are Heart Notes?

Heart notes give body to the blend and have a balancing effect. The aromas of heart notes are not always immediately evident and may take a couple of minutes to establish their scent. They are normally warm and soft fragrances. Heart notes often make up about 30% of a perfume recipe.

What Are Base Notes?

Base notes are very heavy fragrances. The scent will be present for a long time and slows down the evaporation of the other oils. These fragrances are normally intense and invigorating.

They are normally rich and relaxing in nature and are typically the most expensive of all oils. Base notes often make up about 50% of a perfume recipe.

Test How Long Your Perfume Scents Last

Try testing how long each scent lasts by placing some on a perfume test strip and marking the time, then going back every hour to see how much the scent has evaporated. Be sure to record your results!