JournalMaking Sense of Scent Notes

Making Sense of Scent Notes

Making Sense of Scent Notes: A beginner’s guide to the different scent notes.

Have you ever wondered why some perfumes or colognes smell so complex and intriguing? The secret lies in the art of fragrance composition and the use of various scent notes. Scent notes are the individual components that make up a fragrance, creating a unique olfactory experience. In this beginner’s guide, we will delve into the world of scent notes, explore their characteristics, and help you understand how they contribute to the overall fragrance.

Understanding Fragrance Composition

Before diving into scent notes, it’s essential to grasp the basics of fragrance composition. A perfume is typically composed of three layers known as top, middle, and base notes. Each layer consists of specific scent notes that harmoniously blend together to create a balanced and captivating fragrance.

Top Notes: The First Impression

Top notes are the initial scents you experience when you first apply a fragrance. They are often light, refreshing, and evaporate relatively quickly. Common top notes include citrus fruits like Bergamot and Lemon, as well as herbal and green elements like mint or basil. Top notes create the first impression of a fragrance and set the stage for the layers to come.

Middle Notes: The Heart of the Fragrance

After the top notes dissipate, the middle notes or heart notes become noticeable. These scents are more prominent and longer-lasting than the top notes. Middle notes add depth and complexity to the fragrance, forming its core character. Floral notes like rose, jasmine, or lavender, as well as fruity or spicy elements, often dominate the middle layer.

Base Notes: The Foundation

Base notes are the foundation of a fragrance and provide the long-lasting scent that lingers on your skin. They emerge after the middle notes settle and help anchor the fragrance. Base notes are usually rich, warm, and often include ingredients like musk, amber, vanilla, or woody accords. They add depth, sensuality, and stability to the overall composition.

Understanding Scent Families

Scent families categorise fragrances based on their predominant notes and characteristics. By familiarising yourself with different scent families, you can start recognizing the scents you prefer and explore fragrances within those families. Common scent families include floral, citrus, amber, woody, and fresh, among others.

Fragrance Layering and Note Interactions

Fragrance layering involves combining multiple scents to create a personalised fragrance. By understanding the different scent notes and their interactions, you can experiment with layering to enhance or modify the fragrance you wear. Discover how certain notes complement or clash with each other, and let your creativity guide you.

Exploring Fragrance Notes

There are countless fragrance notes available, ranging from natural ingredients to synthetic molecules (we use naturally derived essences at our workshops). Delve into the characteristics of various scent notes, such as Rose, Patchouli, Vetiver, or Oud, and understand their unique olfactory profiles. By expanding your knowledge of scent notes, you can make more informed choices when selecting fragrances.

Scent notes are the building blocks of fragrances, and understanding their roles and characteristics can deepen your appreciation of perfumes and colognes. By familiarising yourself with the different layers, notes, and scent families, you can embark on an exciting journey of exploring and discovering the scents that resonate with your personal style and preferences. Whether you are a beginner or a fragrance enthusiast, this guide will serve as a valuable resource to make sense of scent notes and enhance your fragrance experience.


Join our workshops and learn to explore different fragrance notes and create your own signature scent.

“Perfume is the invisible, unforgettable, fashionable accessory that announces your arrival and prolongs your departure”

 – Coco Chanel

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