Perfume Notes: How to Identify Notes in a Perfume

Perfume shopping can be hectic, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Without a plan, it’s easy to end up with a hefty handful of sampler sticks and some pretty overwhelmed nostrils.

However, this dilemma is avoidable if you brush up on your perfume knowledge before entering the store. You’ll want to identify which notes work best for you (or the person you’re buying for). This can help you narrow down the types of scents you plan to sample.

But what are the different types of perfume notes? There’s actually a very exact science behind it. Read on to learn what scents fall under what categories, and how to determine the ones that work best for you.

Top Notes

Everyone’s skin is different, from oiliness to temperature, meaning that perfume scents will vary slightly from person to person. However, this usually only applies to the “top note” in the scent. Beyond that, the perfume should smell similarly on everyone.

Perfume is usually comprised of a triad of scents, starting with top notes.

Top notes evaporate the most quickly, with the scent diminishing after only five to fifteen minutes. These are also often the first notes you smell when sampling a perfume. Their purpose is to provide a pleasant initial scent (or, first impression) before seamlessly transitioning into the rest of the smell.

Some popular top notes include citrus scents or light florals like lavender and rose. Also popular are anise and basil.

Middle (“Heart”) Notes

The heart notes usually play off the top notes in that they’re meant to complement, or continue, the initial scent. These notes make up the bulk of the perfume, usually about 70%.

As the top notes fade, heart notes begin to become evident. They’ll then stick around for the duration of the scent, and often are meant to offset some of the base notes (which aren’t always as pleasant when used as stand-alone scents).

Heart notes are usually comprised of full-bodied florals, usually jasmine, neroli, pine, lemongrass, cinnamon, and other deep scents. These notes usually appear around the 20-minute mark and will remain strong until about an hour after application (although they are present for the duration of the perfume).

Bottom (“Base”) Notes

These notes form the foundation, or base, of the fragrance. These notes are usually very heavy and long-lasting, often remaining for 6 or more hours. They sink into your skin and serve to complement the lighter heart notes.

Common base notes include vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, and other very rich fragrances. For example, certain perfumes like Jimmy Choo at Perfume Price, have heavy woody base notes that denote a sense of elegance.

Choosing a Product Based on Perfume Notes

When buying a perfume, there’s a lot to consider from fragrance notes to perfume concentrations. You’ll want to consider each of these factors before making a purchase, but you’re now well-equipped to navigate the world of perfume notes.

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