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Perfume and aftershave inspired by designer

What Are Perfume Scent Notes and Why Do They Matter?

You’re looking to invest in a luxury perfume, but you’re not really sure what you want in terms of the overall fragrance… and then you see ‘scent notes’.

What the hell, you think, is a scent note?

Well, we’re glad you asked!

When you’re unsure which fragrance to invest in, fragrance notes are the fastest way to figure out whether a scent is for you, but they’re also important in knowing which parts of a fragrance will last the longest.

Let’s take a look at what perfume scent notes are and why they matter.


The overview

Perfume notes are the layers of a scent, and each note will last and evaporate differently.

These notes are divided into top notes, middle notes, and base notes.


  • Top notes

When you first spray a perfume in the air or on your skin, you’ll smell the top notes first because they’re the lightest notes and more volatile.

(That doesn’t mean they’ll hit you, it just means that they’re faster to evaporate!)

That means they have the shortest staying power at around 10-15 minutes, so keep this in mind if you’re choosing a perfume based on a preference for a top note specifically.

Top notes are often citrus scents, such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit, and floral scents like lavender and rose.


  • Middle notes

Also known as heart notes, middle notes are exactly what they sound like! They’re the notes that you can smell once the top notes have evaporated.

Middle notes often retain some of the general scent of the top notes whilst introducing new notes, lasting for around 2-3 hours and acting as the main body of the perfume.

Middle notes include more full-bodied fragrance notes, such as jasmine and neroli, and spicier notes like cinnamon, pepper, black pepper and cardamom.

  • Base notes

You guessed it! Once the middle notes evaporate it’s the base notes you can smell.

Base notes are the longest lasting, with up to 24 hours of longevity, and are also richer and heavier than top and middle notes are.

In short, base notes are meant to add more depth and warmth to the perfume and kick in around half an hour into wearing the perfume to combine with the middle notes for the overall scent.

Base notes such as vanilla, sandalwood, cedarwood, musk, amber and patchouli are popular (for a good reason, in our opinion!).


How should you pick a perfume based on scent notes?

A mistake people often run into is that they’ll pick a fragrance when reading notes and buy it based on top notes alone, meaning that their preferred notes are actually those that evaporate the fastest.

The best way to do it is to think about which scent notes you want to last and which ones are more of an ‘enhancer’, so to speak!

For example, a perfume with top notes of orange and lemon, middle notes of jasmine and lily, and base notes of amber, musk and vanilla will be a very floral, rich scent as opposed to predominantly citrus.

In this case, the citrus adds a freshness to it as opposed to being the lasting fragrance!

You can also choose based on category (e.g., floral notes, oriental notes, woody notes) to find a scent that suits your taste most, but keep in mind that fresh and floral notes are predominantly top notes and less long lasting, whereas woody and musky scents are traditionally base notes.


Take the faff out of things

If you’re looking for designer fragrance without a designer price tag, we have a full range of luxury scent-inspired perfumes.

Let’s take our Beauty perfume as an example – inspired by La Vie Est Belle, this fragrance has top notes of iris, jasmine, and orange blossom, middle notes of blackberry and pear, and a warming bottom note of patchouli.

It’s a decadent, fruity and floral feast for your senses!

What are you waiting for? It’s time to go scent-searching with your new-found knowledge!

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