Fragrance TYPES for beginners

women and fragrances

There are thousands of fragrances, perfumes, eau de toilette, etc. to choose from. But did you know that there are only two types of fragrances? I'm talking about actual composition here, not the more common varieties such as eau de parfum vs eau de toilette, which refer only to concentration. Of course, you don't need to understand everything about fragrances to enjoy them, but having a bit of extra knowledge can help you select the fragrance that is best for you. For the most part, fragrances use a three stage formulation, often referred to as notes. Here is what you need to know:

Top Notes - This can be considered the so-called "first impression" given by a fragrance. It is typically made up of lighter ingredients which can make a fragrance come off with a sense of freshness. Common top notes include citrus (lemon, grapefruit, etc), green notes (pine, mint, etc) and aldehyde.
Middle Notes

Middle Notes - Following a few minutes, the top notes will start to mix in with something called middle notes. Sometimes, the middle notes would be called the heart of the fragrance. The middle notes are what best characterizes a fragrance and are used to classify it into a fragrance family such as woody, oriental of floral. There are a great variuety of ingredients that can be used to create the scents of the middle notes.

Base Notes - As the name may imply, top notes make up the underlying tones. Base notes are what gives a fragrance its long-term appeal. These notes are constructed from less volatile ingredients. Common base note ingredients are vanilla, amber, and other rare woods.

You can buy fragrances with all of these notes by going to

Despite having three different notes, the transition from top to bottom should be seamless, creating a harmonious aroma from the blend of notes. More recently, there has emerged another fragrance type where there is no noticeable gransition from the top notes to the base notes. Such fragrances utilize a vertical formulation that has a tendency to emphasize one predominant note.


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