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Perfumery: Top note, middle note and Base note and examples

Note in perfumery is a term use to describe the rate of volatility  of  the scent of a perfume when worn. They are basically three classes of notes. The top/head note, middle/heart note and the base note. Each of these classes has a time frame in their longevity. The fragrance we use to make perfume, fall under one of these classes of notes. A Perfume for instance that contains only top note will not stand the test of time. In order to have a lasting fragrance, you have to wisely incorporate the three classes of notes in your perfume. Earlier we discuss fixative some of these notes are fixatives.

What is a Top Note?
 A top note is that initial scent that is perceived when a perfume is worn. It contains small and light molecules that evaporate rapidly which   last from 15 – 30 minutes upon application. Their composition in perfumes may range from 20 – 30%.

What is a Middle Note ?
Middle note is the smell that comes right after the expiration of the top note. They contain heavier molecules and stays longer than the top note. Their evaporation rate is a bit slower. Their composition in perfumes may range from 40 – 80%.

What is a Base Note?
Base note as the name implies, they are the last smell to be perceive on application of perfume. Most of them serve as fixative example like the musk. They contain very heavy molecules that takes time to be broken down, they are less volatile.  A well formulated perfume with a unique blend of the three types of notes can last for even 24 hours on application due to the presence of a base note. Their composition may range from 10 – 25 %.

In choosing base notes, it is highly recommended to choose ones that help to amplify mostly the top note. A good blend of the three classes of note will give you a nice and lasting fragrance.

Below is a Chart of Most Frequently Used Perfume Notes 
Top Notes
         Heart Notes
         Base Notes
1. Bergamot
2. Peach
3. Mandarin Orange
4. Greens
5. Aldehydes
6. Lemon
7. Coriander
8. Black Currant
9. Galbanum
10. Black Violet Leaves
11. Pepper
12. Grapefruit
13. Rosewood
14. Pineapple
15. Plum
16. Raspberry
17. Marigold
18. Sage
19. Tangerine
20. Apricot
21. Cardamom
22. Mango
23. Lime
24. Passion fruit
25. Pear
26. Petigrain
27. Strawberries
28. Water Lilly
29. Coconut
30. Ginger
31. Cassis
1.    Rose
2.    Jasmine
3.    Ylang Ylang
4.    Lily of the Valley
5.    Tuberose
6.    Hyacinth
7.    Orange Blossom
8.    Neroli
9.    Carnation
10. Iris
11. Orris
12. Narcissus
13. Violet
14. Gardenia
15. Geranium
16. Honeysuckle
17. Lilac
18. Orchid
19. Red Currant
20. Heliotrope
21. Wisteria
1.    Sandalwood
2.    Musk
3.    Amber
4.    Vanilla
5.    Oak moss
6.    Patchouli
7.    Vetivert
8.    Civet
9.    Cedar wood
10. Benzoin
11. Incense
12. Tonka Bean
13. Honey
14. Moss
15. Clove
16. Spices - Anise
17. Styrax
18. Opoponax
19. Bay Rum
20. Leather

If you are grateful for this wonderful compilation, or have a question why not leave a comment below. Your questions, comments can help some other reader.

Have a nice day!


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