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Base note, middle note and top note in perfumery

Fragrances have top, middle and base notes. Top note is, what gives the first impression of a perfume, when you smell it in the shop, and decide to like it or not. These are the compounds with the lightest molecular weight, so they evaporate first after applying the scent. Typical top notes are for example citrus scents, some herbs and spices.

After the top notes evaporated (15-60 min.), the middle notes start to appear. Middle or heart notes are more heavy in their molecular weight, usually flowers, fruits, marine scents, and stay remarkable for 2-5 hours.

Base notes are the building blocks of the perfume. Long lasting compounds, with heavy molecular weight, which the whole fragrance composition is based on. They can last up to 12 hours, but will first show their existence, after the middle notes are evaporated. Exemples are woody notes, resins, gums, mosses.

Some compounds can act like middle and base notes in the same perfume. It depends on their individual longetivity, and on what kind of other molecules they are blended with. They can also act, like base note in one fragrance, and like middle note in an other.

One thing is sure: a real perfume has all three notes. When you open a bottle, you can start to smell bergamot first, half an hour later rose and jasmin, then some hours later sandalwood. This system can help to identify a fake perfume. Cheap copies do not follow these rules. Those ones copy only the top note of a real fragrance, so when you smell the bergamot, you believe, the perfume smells right, and you buy it. But after half an hour the top note fade away, and you are left without scent.

Buy your fragrances always from trustworthy retailer or directly from the brand´s website or store, support the artist, not the thief :)


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