To describe how non-linear fragrances’ notes change over time, the notes are usually broken down into 3 categories: Top, Heart and Base. These terms originated from the practice of creating perfumes using a pyramid structure, where fragrances are made with layers of different ingredients that unfold over time.
First come the “Top” notes:
The Top notes represent the first impression of the fragrance upon immediate application. These notes are usually light, fresh and volatile, meaning they evaporate relatively quickly. Common top notes include citrus, fruity and herbal scents.
Then, after the top notes dissipate, the “Heart” notes become more noticeable:
The Heart notes are often considered the core or the “heart” of the fragrance, as they represent the true character and personality of the scent. These add more complexity and character to the fragrance and can last for several hours. Typical notes are floral, spicy and woody.
Finally, the "Base" notes reveal themselves:
The Base notes are the foundation of the fragrance and emerge after the heart notes have settled. They are typically rich, deep and long-lasting scents that linger on the skin for the longest duration. Base notes are essential for the overall longevity and stability of the fragrance and commonly include woody, musky and balsamic notes.
Without added context—and maybe a perfumer’s degree—this breakdown of Top, Heart and Base notes can be a bit unintuitive, since it refers to the technical dispersion and fragrance structure rather than the fragrance wearers’ experience on the skin.
So, in our ongoing effort to modernise our artisanal fragrance, we’ve decided to get rid of these terms, replacing them with “First,” “Then” and “Finally” to intuitively describe the progression of our non-linear fragrances.