Understanding the formulations of perfumes would be a good guide for when deciding to purchase a fragrance. One of the most common ways to formulate a fragrance is by composing a balance of oils using three different notes known as the top, middle and base notes.
Perfumes have three layers known as top note, middle or heart notes and base notes. Top notes are most volatile and will evaporate first after a perfume application, they are usually the fragrance to hit your nose the moment you pump the bottle, while the base notes are the longest lasting.
TOP NOTES: These are sometimes referred to as opening notes or head notes. They make up approximately 10-30% of your blend. They are the lightest and generally less expensive and usually last for between 5 -30 minutes. They give the first impression of the perfume. The common top notes are: citrus ( lemon, orange zest, bergamot), light fruits ( grapefruit, berries ) and herbs ( clary, sage, lavender).
MIDDLE NOTES: They make up approximately 30-60% of your blend. These make up the body of the perfume. The smells of middle notes are not always immediately detected and may take up to 10-30 minutes to fully develop on the skin. They are the notes that classify the fragrance family and are normally warm and soft. Middle notes are usually a combination of floral and fruit tones: sometimes they are infused with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, neroli and jasmine.
BASE NOTES: They make up approximately 15-30% of your blend. These notes are normally intense and heavy and are the most expensive of all the oils blended to make a perfume. They last the longest and help to slow down the evaporation rates of the lighter notes, giving the fragrance holding power. Base notes linger on the skin from hours to days after the top notes have dissipated. The most common base notes are: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Myrrh, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang, Musk , Frankincense, Balsam of Peru, Agarwood, Vanilla.
The combination of the three levels of notes is what differentiates perfumes and make some more aromatically pleasing.
Vital Tip For When Purchasing A Fragrance
All perfume react differently with each person's body chemistry so it's always a good idea to apply the fragrance on your pulse points, such as your wrists, and then wait a couple of hours before purchasing the fragrance. You should smell the top notes immediately and up to 5 minutes after. 30 minutes later you should be able to notice the variation in smell as the middle notes warm up. About 2 hours later your body chemistry should have made the base notes yours, such that you or your friend can smell the fragrance as it becomes you.