The scent you leave behind makes up an unexpectedly significant part of the impression people have about you. We come to associate the perfume someone uses with their character, traits and manner of speaking, and it’s only natural that you should want to choose the right perfume for you.
So whether you’re looking to buy yourself a nice new perfume this Christmas, or are shopping for a fragrance for someone special, this quick guide is definitely for you.
What are Fragrance Notes?
In order to understand perfumes, you need to first understand what the perfume is made of, and that is three types of notes: top, heart and base notes. Every perfume contains a careful blend of each of these three notes, which is ultimately what lends it its unique scent.
Top notes give the smell you notice immediately, right after you spray out some perfume. While strong, these will only last about 15-20 minutes before wearing off. Top notes are often light floral or citrus scents, like rose or lemon.
Heart notes make up the majority of the perfume’s body, and last a little longer, usually around 60 minutes. Heart notes tend to be full-bodied and more aromatic, like jasmine or cardamom.
Base notes are the ones that last by far the longest (upward of 6 hours, usually), and can only be sensed after the perfume’s been on for a bit (usually 30 mins). These often include sandalwood, musk or vanilla.
Different Types of Notes & How to Identify Them
Different notes can be identified by the period of time they last, but also by the scent type. Top notes are usually citrusy and light, heart notes are floral and fruity, and base notes are stronger, typically musky.
Fresh Notes (Top)
These are mostly combinations of citrus fruit and flowers, such as lemon and bergamot, for example.
Floral Notes (Top/Heart)
These are more natural and light scents, such as jasmine of ylang-ylang.
Fruity Notes (Heart)
Fruit is wonderfully versatile when it comes to fragrance blends. It offers a great choice, anything from sweet scents (e.g. strawberry or apple) to stronger, muskier scents (like blackberry).
Spice Notes (Heart)
Again, a type of note that blends easily with other notes, spice notes (like cinnamon or cardamom) blend with fruit and flowers to give the perfume its heart note.
Wood Notes (Base)
You’ll see a lot of perfumes and colognes labeled after their base note, for example, Woody Fresh is named exactly after the main notes in the blend. Although these aren’t solely wood-scented, they use the name, since that wood base note is the most long-lasting.
Musky Notes (Base)
One of the most popular and expensive fragrance notes, musk has been a timeless classic. Perfumes that don’t use wood notes may tend to lean toward musky notes, like cashmeran or musk. These often add a unique scent and make the scent last longer, because of their intensity.
So how do you know which is right for you?
Ultimately, this is a highly personal decision, with most people choosing a fragrance based on personal preference (are you a flowery sort of person, or a more musky fellow?). Look for vendors that list each note type of a given perfume, so you know what sort of scent you’re getting at all times. Lastly, once you’ve identified which of the above types of fragrance notes appeal most, feel free to have a look through our perfume selection!