Fragrance Notes Explained: Top, Middle, and Base Notes

In this article we'll quickly summarise characteristic features of fragrance notes and how long they last.

Top Notes

Also referred to as the "opening notes" or "head notes", top notes are the initial scents you smell when you first spray a fragrance. The top notes are also the first to evaporate given their light molecular structure, so they only last around 5 to 20 minutes. However, this does not mean they aren't of utmost importance. First impression is important so top notes can be a dealbreaker when you try a fragrance for the first time.

Middle Notes

Also known as "heart notes", middle notes start revealing themselves once the top notes evaporate and they tend to last a little longer, anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. They operate as a bridge between top notes and base notes, providing a smooth transition.

Base Notes

These are the longest lasting notes and they form the foundation of the fragrance. Base notes are the scents that linger. The scents you can smell when you pick up someone’s worn jumper and their fragrance is still present. Base notes tend to begin overpowering after the top notes are completely evaporated. They don’t surface for about 30 minutes into wear, but they can last up to 5-24 hours depending on their performance and how it reacts with your skin.