Monday, April 16, 2007

Fragrance Facts: Notes

For the common person, perfume scent can only be described in one or two adjectives - strong, musky, light, sharp, fresh, etc. For a well trained person, perfume scent can actually be described in notes. There are usually 3 notes for a fragrance, and in a musical analogy, the notes should deliver a harmonious chord in order for the scent to work. These notes are layered on top of each other and the person experiencing the scent should sense each note one by one. In other words, the top notes will lead to the middle notes and gradually to the base notes. These notes are possible with careful usage of the evaporation process of the perfume.

Top notes - also called head notes, these scents are immediately perceived upon application of the perfume. It consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. This scent is usually what gives an impression to a common person trying out the fragrance. Citrus and ginger scents are two very common top notes.

Middle notes - also called heart notes, this scent forms the main body (or heart) of a perfume and act to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes. It emerges after the top notes dissipate, which can be from two minutes to an hour after the perfume was applied. Lavender and rose are typical middle notes.

Base notes - also called soul notes, consists of large, heavy molecules, base notes bring solidity and depth to a perfume scent. Together with the middle notes, they are the main theme of the perfume. It is usually not perceived until 30 minutes after the application, and it is possible for some base notes to still be detectable even after 24 hours.

So next time you read a perfume advertisement, you know what it means when it describe the scent in notes - essentially, the head, heart and soul of a perfume.

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