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What's The Difference Between Top, Middle And Base Notes

What's The Difference Between Top, Middle And Base Notes

If you have been shopping for a perfume recently, or are an avid browser of perfumes online, you may have noticed that each perfume has a scent description featuring what is known as its top, middle, and base notes. These are the scent notes that help to build the fragrance, creating a perfume that contains a mixture of popular and unique notes is how perfume brands and fragrance designers make new and exciting perfumes and colognes for their customers.

We are often asked by customers what the difference is between these notes and how they can use this information to determine what a new fragrance will smell like. so , in this blog we are delving into the details of fragrance notes, helping to identify the differences between top, middle, and base notes. 

What is a fragrance note?

A fragrance note is simply the combination of ingredients and scents that create a perfume. Most common types of fragrance notes will include ingredients such as vanilla, amber, bergamot, spice, musk notes, and citrus. The chosen combination of notes will be carefully selected by the designer of the fragrance to ensure the finished product creates an enjoyable and lasting aroma. Perhaps these notes will be chosen based on the intended customer, for example, amber and musk notes are more commonly found in men’s aftershave and cologne. Meanwhile a citrus note such as lemon or tangerine would be more popular in the summer months.

Understanding the top, middle and base notes of a perfume

Now, the creation of a perfume doesn’t just involve throwing random scents into a mix and hoping for a good outcome. These are carefully selected and designed using what is known as the fragrance pyramid. This places certain notes at a higher, more intense level than others, depending on the desired fragrance type.

A top note will include the scents and ingredients that you will smell first when using the fragrance. They create your initial response to the fragrance and are also the first notes to disperse, lasting around 5-15 minutes.

Meanwhile middle notes are the core of the fragrance. These notes will last a significantly longer time, usually around 2 hours. This is the scent in which you will smell on your skin for several hours after you initially spray the perfume, and one that others may notice.

Finally, the base notes. The base notes are the longest lasting of the notes and can sometimes, depending on their intensity, last days on clothing and fabrics. We recognise them as being the scents that you notice after wearing the perfume for a longer period of time and remind you of just how much you enjoy the fragrance. Base notes are usually made up of ingredients such as deep woods and musks, that form the foundation of your perfume or cologne.

What to look for when shopping for your next perfume

The description of a perfume will include details of all three notes, so it is important to pay attention to these to ensure you buy the right perfume for your taste. If a perfume has several floral notes, such as freesia, tuberose, and rose, this will most certainly be described as a floral type perfume. Meanwhile sweeter notes such as fruits and vanilla or coconut, will be found in lighter, more fruity scents. This all comes down to personal preference and the types of perfumes you are drawn to.

Since the base notes are the longest lasting components of a perfume, picking a perfume with stronger and intense ingredients as base notes, such as patchouli, musk, and amber, will provide a long-wearing fragrance. You and others may even notice the pleasant aroma for longer than 24 hours.

At Perfume Direct we have a wide stock of perfumes, colognes and men’s aftershave, all using a wide variety of note combinations to bring you a great choice of fragrances. From popular sweet fragrances like Cloud by Ariana Grande, to musky colognes such as Kilian Musk Oud Eau De Parfum, we have plenty to choose from. Shop now and find your perfect fragrance today.


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