There is definitely a lot going on in a simple bottle of fragrance and for anyone who is mildly curious or interested will know that perfume notes are an intrinsic part of this dynamic. While having an in depth knowledge about the kind of notes that each perfume contains is difficult, having a basic understanding of these notes and the way perfumes are designed is essential when choosing one.
Most fragrances have a life cycle and while their expiry usually depends on how safely the perfume is stored, how much heat it gets exposed among other things, a typical fragrance comes in a three-part life cycle. There are three different kinds of scents which play along in one bottle of perfume. These comprise the different notes and each note has its distinct characteristic.
The top note is the very initial fragrance that hits your nose which can last from 10 minutes to as much as 3 hours. The top note is a very light kind of fragrance which is usually smelt in perfumes that have floral scents or are citrusy and fruity. These are scents that waft through your nose and are a breath of fresh air. However, holding on to this particular scent is almost impossible due to its lightness and airy nature. The top notes are also sometimes referred to as the opening notes as they are bound to make the first impression. They are usually the ones that provide for a smooth transition to the middle notes.
The middle notes are the ones that emerge only after the top notes dissipate and can last for more than 3 to 5 hours after being sprayed. The medium notes comprise of heavier scents such as jasmine, cinnamon, clove, etc. These are not as volatile as the top notes and form the heart of the perfume. Lavender and rose are the typical middle notes that are seen in most fragrances, however some perfumes are also made of unusual combinations like spice scents, grass or stone. The middle notes make a more lasting impression as compared to the top notes.
The least volatile of the lot are the base notes which are only observed and sensed after a couple of hours of spraying the perfume. Soaking in the scent takes time and base notes lay the foundation and determine how long the fragrance will last on your skin. Sandalwood, moss, vetiver, vanilla and leather are some of the typical base notes that are bold and noticeable as the time passes.
Without this quintessential combination of top, middle and base notes, a fragrance will be incomplete and will not be as appealing as one where the notes are well pronounced and equally balanced. Knowing which notes tend to go well with your skin type is a great way to go about making a choice for a perfume.