What Are Top, Middle and Base Notes in Perfume? A Pyramid From Fresh to Deep scents

You may have heard of these terms before, but what do they mean – we’re here to explain!

Top, middle and base notes constitute what is known as the olfactory pyramid. They are the three groups of notes that complete a formula to give balance to a fragrance, from fresh and fleeting to deep and long-lasting.

Top, Middle and Base notes are also the main reason why a fragrance changes over time, from its first to lasting impression.

Top Notes


The fresh invitation into your fragrance

Top notes are immediately recognisable and are mainly fresh scents. Some can even be quite sharp. They give you the first impression of a fragrance, and set the stage for the mid notes to shine through.

They are the most volatile of the three notes that evaporate the quickest – this means their scent is short lived. Ingredients in this group are the strongest for the first few minutes and will start to disappear after 10 – 30 minutes.

Top notes are largely composed of citrus ingredients but you’ll also find other fresh notes such as green and part of the fruity family.

Mid Notes (or Heart)

Guiding the scent from top to bottom

Mid notes are often called ‘heart’ notes, because they form the heart of a fragrance. They are considered ‘mellow’ and ‘balancing’. They are by nature nor fresh, nor deep.

The true smell of mid notes usually starts revealing itself from 15 minutes onward and will can last for up to a few hours. They are the most complex and great for bringing together the fresh top and the warm base notes.

A wide variety of ingredients belong to this group, most of which are floral, but you’ll also spicy and fruity just to name a few!

Base Notes (or Drydown)

Lingering depth and warmth

Base notes are the least volatile that evaporate the slowest. This means they last the longest of all the notes.

Their true scent can take a while to get revealed, but then can go on to last for days. These are the scents we smell for hours on on our clothes and other fabrics. They want to make us snuggle up to whatever or who ever is wearing them!

Predominately compromised of deep and warm ingredients such as woody, balsamic and musky notes, but this isn’t an exhaustive list. They are perfect for giving lasting power to fragrances and warm up the lighter top and mid notes!

Choose from Top, Mid and Base and blend them together

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