Understanding Top, Middle, and Base Notes

Understanding Top, Middle, and Base Notes

What are top, middle, and base notes in scenting? 

All scent blends carry three distinct notes. They are categorized into the top, middle (sometimes called “the heart”), and base notes which is also known as the “olfactory trifecta”. They all have distinct jobs and work together to create a complete fragrance or perfume. The top notes are the most fleeting in a scent and disappear quickly, it always makes the first impression. The middle and the base notes then work together to deepen the top note, creating a multidimensional of aroma before leaving a lasting impression.    

 A little comparison top vs. middle vs. base 


       Top Notes 

    Middle Notes 

       Base Notes 


It is also called the head note, which is perceived as the initial impression. 

Known as the “the heat” of the notes. This note emerges just before the top note evaporates.  

The final note appear close to the evaporation of the middle notes. 



Lingers around for about the first 5 to 15 mins before evaporating.  

Can last up to anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. 

It has a duration of up to 6 hours. 


Made of small, light molecules. 

Makes up to 70% of the scent and remains the full body of the fragrance.  

Has the heavier molecules that evaporate slowly. 


The notes class are usually “fresh,” “assertive,” and “sharp” scents. 

The note compound is usually “more mellow and well-rounded" or aromatic herbs 

The note compound consists of “deep and rich” scents. 

Most Common Notes Used  


Are often citrus and ginger scents such as lemon, orange, and bergamot. The scenting oil “24k Magic” carries similar top notes  

Are often floral scents such as rose, lemongrass, and lavender. The scenting oil “All of Me” carries similar middle notes 

Are often musk scents such as sandalwood, vanilla, amber, and cedarwood. The scenting oil “Black Velvet” carries similar base notes 

Each note group has its own function in scenting and carries its scent based on its weight. Top notes are lightest and often associated with freshness. The middle notes as the “heart” of a scent are the liaison between the top and base notes. The base notes can be compared to low frequencies in music, they vibrate deep and slow and last the longest.    

Smell like a pro 

Here is how you can know the difference between each note... once you have a fragrance of your choice, diffuse the aroma to your desired space and within seconds you will instantly smell the top note. Leave the space after the top note has settled and come back 15 minutes later, you will notice the middle note emerging. During the break time, the fragrance transitioned from a volatile, fleeting top note to “the heart” note of the scent, consisting the full-bodied oil. By the 30-minute mark, the scent should appear quite different than when it was first diffused. It all takes a little bit of patience and passion for scent to decode the different notes in a fragrance, but once you do you have mastered “The Art of Scent.”    

The Takeaway   

Overall, you do not need to become an expert or a “scenting aficionado” to know the difference between the notes, just simply pick your favorite scenting oil from the Aroma360 collection and enjoy the fragrance, all while experiencing the essence of aroma in your home or business!