Perfume Notes

Oils generally fall into one of three classifications with the odd exception to the rule.

Top notes are the most delicate (volatile) and evaporate rather quickly. They give the first impression and generally serve to enchant and entice. The Heart notes form the central theme and are the next set of oils to evaporate once the top notes are gone. They are slightly heavier than the top notes but not as dense as the base notes. The base notes linger for the longest time and are the last to leave the skin.

Below are some examples detailing the classification of some essential oils. We do not get to decide the assignment ourselves. Oils behave in certain ways, and we can only use them in accordance with how they perform.

 

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When it comes to ratios between the base, heart and top notes, it’s more or less a personal decision. At the end of the day, if it works, it works, but perfumes do tend to have a lower concentration in the top notes. The heart would have the highest concentration, and the base would have the second highest concentration. Personally, I tend to make perfumes which contain more base notes. Just be creative, like I said, if it works, it works.

The way to making a perfume is to start with the base. Once complete move on to the heart and then finally to the top. If you find yourself adding top notes but recognise that you need to modify something in the base, don’t be afraid to add something extra. You won’t ruin your perfume. Blend until you’re happy.

You don’t even need to have top notes if you don’t want. There are top notes I love, but I often enjoy my creations more before adding them unless I use my preferred oils that is, but the consequence to that is that everything you make starts to smell somewhat similar. Again, it comes down to personal preference. Make what you want to make.

Essential Oil Classification

Examples

Base Notes Heart Notes Top Notes

Amyris

Balsam Copaiba

Balsam Peru

Benzoin

Cassia (To Middle)

Cedarwood

Cinnamon (To Middle)

Cade

Clove (To Middle)

Frankincense

Gaiac Wood

Ginger (To Middle)

Jasmine (To Middle)

Myrrh

Neroli (Also as Top)

Oakmoss

Patchouli

Rose (To Middle)

Rosewood (To Middle)

Sandalwood

Valerian

Vanilla

Vetiver

Ylang Ylang (To Middle)

Bay

Black Pepper

Cardamom

Chamomile

Citronella

Cypress

Fennel (To Top)

Geranium

Helichrysum

Ho Leaf

Ho Wood

Hyssop (To Top)

Juniper

Lavender (To Top)

Marjoram

Melissa (To Top)

Myrtle

Nutmeg

Palmarosa

Pine

Rhododendron

Rosemary

Spikenard (To Base)

Yarrow

Basil (To Middle)

Bergamot (To Middle)

Cajuput

Cinnamon

Clary Sage (To Middle)

Coriander Seed (To Middle)

Eucalyptus

Grapefruit

Hyssop (To Middle)

Lemon

Lemongrass

Mandarin

Tangerine

Neroli (To Middle)

Verbena

Niaouli

Orange

Peppermint

Petitgrain

Ravensara

Sage

Spearmint

Tagetes

Tea Tree

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