The easiest way to describe a perfume is by the fragrance notes of the scent or the ‘family’ it belongs to. These notes affect the overall impression of a perfume from first application to the last lingering hint of scent.

We can describe perfumes using a musical metaphor - with three sets of notes. Perfume accords are a balanced blend of three notes which lose their individual identity to create a completely new, unified impression. The notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the top note leading to the deeper middle notes, and the base notes gradually appearing as the final stage. Experts create these notes paying careful attention to the evaporation process of the perfume.

Top notes: Detected immediately a perfume is applied. Top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person’s initial impression of a perfume, so are very important in the potential wearer’s buying decision. Also called the head notes.

Middle notes: Emerge just before the top notes dissipate. The middle note compounds form the ‘heart’ or main body of a perfume and mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. They are also called the heart notes.

Base notes: Appear close to the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together create a perfume’s main theme. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and ‘deep’ and aren’t usually detected for 30 minutes after application.

Discover the fragrances scents

Each perfume is made up of various notes that give it its distinctive smell. Click below to find out more about the various scents .

The scents in the top and middle notes are influenced by the base notes, while base notes can be altered by the type of ingredients used as middle notes. Perfume manufacturers usually publish perfume notes and typically they present it as fragrance pyramid, with the components listed in imaginative and abstract terms.