Perfume is described in a musical metaphor as having three sets of notes, making the harmonious scent accord.

These notes are assembled with the knowledge of the evaporation process of each of these raw ingredients.

They are generally the lightest of all notes and recognized immediately after application. Top notes consist of small, light molecules with high volatility that evaporate quickly.

Common fragrances of top notes include citrus (lemon, orange zest), light fruits (grape, berries) and herbs (clary sage, lavender).

The middle notes, or the heart notes, make an appearance once the top notes evaporate.  The middle note compounds form the “heart” or main body of a perfume and act to fuse with the initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time.

Common fragrances of middle notes includes rose, lemon, ylang ylang, lavender, nutmeg and jasmine.

Base notes or bottom or dry notes appear while the middle notes are fading. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume.

Common fragrances of base notes include sandalwood, vanilla, amber and musk.


Although your sense of smell is emotional, the fragrances you most enjoy will probably belong to just one or two fragrance families.

The Fragrance Wheel holds the key to your fragrance likes and dislikes. It lets you see at a glance the relationship between the 14 different families.

Each family leads to the next, for example – Florals become Soft Florals when blended with sparkling aldehydes and balanced by a powdery drydown. Soft Florals are transformed into Floral Orientals by adding the scents of orange blossom and sweet spices.