The three classes of olfactory notes. If there’s a point that directly connects perfumes and music, it’s the notes. For the ideal result, you need to mix and match the perfect notes. In music, the seven musical notes, if handled by the right hands, are capable of making incredible, unpredictable, surprising, exciting combinations. In relation to perfumes, we can use these same adjectives. The difference is that in this area there are not just seven notes, but thousands. Imagine how many combinations are possible. Maybe millions. With so many possibilities, the perfume industry could not be content with just one essence per fragrance. More was needed.

Eau de Parfum To be perfect, each perfume had to have three very different essences. That’s why each perfume has three classes of olfactory notes in its composition, namely: the top/head notes; the middle/heart notes; and the base/base notes.

If you notice, stores like Sephora, Sepha, Zattini, and Glio always indicate the notes of each of the fragrances. Each of these classes of notes are felt on the skin at a different time, which means three times more pleasure if you find your ideal perfume. As it couldn’t be different, the notes are classified based on specialized knowledge about evaporations and the effects that one class causes on the other. For example, the perception of the heart or base notes can be altered if the top notes are too strong, just as the base notes can be influenced by the heart notes.

Let’s look at each of the pitch classes separately:

Top/head olfactory notes

These notes are noticed immediately after the perfume is applied to the skin. They are always small, light molecules that evaporate quickly, which means that the smell will also dissipate soon.

For this reason, they are very important when buying the product, as they are able to win over or drive away those who are tasting it. Thus, these notes are the shapers of the first impression, which is the one that stays, as the saying goes. These essences are usually described as fresh, aggressive, sharp, as their components are always strong-smelling and very volatile, which is why they evaporate quickly.

Examples of these notes are citrus substances, light fruits, herbs and ginger. Also the heart and base notes are important for the formation of the top notes, which is not always easy to understand by non-professionals.

Middle/heart olfactory notes

Middle notes, better known as heart notes, emerge to the nose soon after the top notes evaporate. Eau de toilette As the name says, these are the notes that form the heart of the fragrance, they are the main ones. Located in the middle of the evaporation process, these notes are often responsible for masking the discomfort caused by some base notes that are not yet ready to be felt. Each note exists to be felt at a certain moment, which is why background notes cannot appear before the time, nor can the previous ones delay their effect.

Heart notes are generally described as softer and more polished, examples being lavender, geranium, jasmine and rose essences. Technically, you can expect to find these notes somewhere between 2 minutes to 1 hour after application to the skin.

Base/back olfactory notes

The base or base notes appear when the heart notes begin to disappear. That is, when the base notes begin to be felt, it is still possible to perceive the heart notes, as well as at the beginning of this one, some top notes are perceptible.

The moment when it is possible to feel the heart and base notes is considered the main theme of the perfume, which can happen from 30 minutes after application of the fragrance. These base notes bring depth and solidity to the perfume and stay for a long time on the body. The curious thing is that they have a double function: they serve to exhale the odor after a long time of use and they are also important to hold and fortify the top and heart notes.

The longer duration on the skin is due to its molecules being larger and heavier, which therefore evaporates more slowly. Eau de CologneSome notes can be felt even after 24 hours of application, especially the animal-derived notes, vanilla, amber, patchouli and musk.


Now you know that each perfume has three classes of notes, one felt at the beginning (the top notes), one in the middle (the heart notes) and one at the end (base or base notes).

This, together with the knowledge of the different existing olfactory families and the difference between Parfum, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Cologne, will transform you into an almost perfumer, a specialist in perfumes, which will certainly make you look at perfumes with others. eyes.

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