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Fragrance Notes in Perfumes

Kalpana Kumari
A perfume consists of three sets of molecules which evaporate at different time intervals to give a different fragrance. Here we share some information on the same.
All perfumes, irrespective of its fragrance and brand, comprises three different sets of components. These components differ in their evaporation time.
The sets are called notes; the molecule with the shortest evaporation time, is called the top note; the one which takes a little longer to vaporize, is called the middle note; the third one, which is called the base note, takes the longest time to evaporate.
All these three notes have their own importance and no perfume is perfect without their well-balanced combination.

Top Note (Head Note)

This is the scent perceived just after the application of the perfume. This is because the top note is made of small and light molecules that evaporate as soon as they are exposed to the atmosphere.
Freshness, sharpness, and assertiveness are the words that describe this note the best. Aroma of ginger and citrus fruits are mostly used in its preparation. These compounds are volatile enough to be felt right at the time of their exposure to the atmosphere. The scent lasts for around 10 minutes.
People tend to decide whether to purchase the scent or not on the basis of this note. This makes it very important from the business point of view.

Middle Note

The middle note is formed by molecules which relatively take a longer time to vaporize. The molecules emerge when the top note dissipates. The aroma vaporizes between two minutes to one hour of its application.
The scent is fully-flavored, expansive, warm, soft, and smooth. Aroma of lavender and rose petals are typical representatives of this class. It also has aroma of flowers like magnolia and honeysuckle.
Middle note forms the heart or main body of a redolence. It remains active for about half an hour. Its other function is to mask the initial unpleasant smell of the base note, which becomes pleasant with the passage of time. Middle note is also known as the heart note.

Base Note

The final aura sensed is the base note. It emerges right after the departure of the middle note, usually after the initial half an hour to one hour of the scent application. As already mentioned, it takes the longest time to evaporate, so its presence is the last to be noticed.
Compounds of the note class acts as the fixative and the holder of the upper lighter and middle notes. "Rich" and "deep" are the terms usually used to describe the base note. Vetiver, musk and scents of plant resins fall under this class.
The combination of base note and middle note decides the main theme of the perfume. A fragrance gets its origin from this combination.
The aroma of the top and middle note influences the aroma of the base note and vice versa.
It is a connoisseur's task to design a perfect combination of all the three notes in a perfume. Manufacturers of scents present these three notes as the pyramids of perfume. Big brand perfume come in stylish and adorable bottles. Artistic and fanciful quotations do a lot in catching the customer's attention.
Calling fragrance notes to different classes of fragrance in a perfume is inspired by musical metaphor. Just like musical notes, here all the three classes of aroma combine together to form a harmonious chord of the scent.
Wearing a perfume, indeed adds glamor to one's personality. It defines and glorifies the special person in you. The fashion of wearing fragrances started before 7th century AD and is no doubt still appreciated and followed to this day.