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The Fragrance Blog

The Fragrance Pyramid Explained

The Fragrance Pyramid Explained

Do you take the time to discover the top, middle and base notes when you discover a new candle or fragrance for the first time? The architecture of a perfume is visually represented in the form of an olfactory pyramid. The structure of the perfume according to the olfactory pyramid can be observed on three levels: the top note first, then the middle one and finally the base note.

When describing our fragrances in product descriptions you may notice we speak about said fragrances top, mid (heart) and base notes.

 

Top notes

The most vivid and energetic, these are a perfume’s most volatile scents. They are what you smell first, establishing a fragrance’s first impression. But, as they are fleeting due to their lighter, smaller molecules, they evaporate quickly. Top notes should be carefully selected, allowing for a pleasant, smooth transition into the next part of the olfactory pyramid. 

Some Popular top notes: lemon, orange, bergamot, pink pepper, blackcurrant, ginger, mint

Scents average duration: 5 – 15 minutes

 

Middle or Heart Notes

These are the fragrance notes you perceive once the top notes have disappeared. They ensure the continuity of the top notes and prepare for a smooth transition into the base notes. Considered the “soul”, or personality, of a perfume, heart notes make up the majority of a fragrance’s scent. As such, they are evident throughout the full life of the fragrance. 

Some Popular top notes: jasmine, ylang-ylang, violet, rose

Scents average duration: 20 – 60 minutes

 

Base notes

Along with the heart notes, base notes tend to add depth and resonance which help build the foundation of a perfume. These notes appear more gradually but also evaporate more gradually. 

Some Popular top notes: vanilla, amber, musk, patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood

Scents average duration: several hours to several days