View RSS Feed

Jaime B's Blog

A Response to a Question about Top, Middle, and Base Notes

Rate this Entry
The question:

Quote Originally Posted by Fadi007 View Post
[Are] there some notes that are restricted to one level in the three levels of a fragrance?

i mean, for example, can we have musk, patchouli , sandalwood , clove... on top notes?

or can we have lime , lavender , cinnamon , sage... in the base notes ?

or [are] there some notes that are physically impossible to put in top or base ?
My reply:

Hermès Eau des Merveilles was supposed to have been engineered as a reverse fragrance: that is, the normal base notes were supposed to behave as top notes (i. e., evaporate fairly quickly), and the usual top notes were supposed to last into the drydown.

I suppose it would be possible to use citrus absolutes or concretes rather than essential oils, since the absolutes and concretes are supposed to be more suited for use in base notes; they retain the molecules longer and disperse less quickly because they are "weighed down" by solids present in them, such as waxes. I am not sure how the reverse would be done, but I imagine in might be possible to take some base note materials, such as resinoids or oleoresins and "wash" them by treatment with solvents (such as alcohols) to remove some of the solids and thus speed up their dispersion rates. This might result in some materials that are normally used as base notes behaving more like essential oils, and dispersing more rapidly.

I would think this would be difficult with many typically base-note materials, because they often contain odor elements that have a much lower odor detection threshold. For example, in rose oil, beta-damascenone is only present at about one percent volume, but it is responsible for roughly 90% of the odor impression of rose oil...

I was able to find some articles online about citrus oils' odor detection thresholds, but since I am not a professional in the field or a subscriber to the journals, I could only read the abstracts, and so could not go into details. Tant pis...

I suppose a perfumer could answer this question better. Is anyone out there in Basenotes cyberspace who can weigh in on this?

Updated 12th October 2011 at 02:42 PM by JaimeB



  1. ExcelsisUSA's Avatar
    The way you pose your question suggests to me that you may not understand the distinction among top. middle and base notes. The simple explanation is that top note fragrances have high volatility and dissipate in a shorter period of time than middle notes which are intermedicate in duration and the base notes are least volatile and evaporate and disappear most slowly. Of course when top . middle and base notes are in a mixture in a cologne or perfume, they all begin evaporating at the same time once they are placed on the skin. The overal duration or sustainability of the fragrances may be increased by use of a fixative such as benzoin (which itself is a base note) but this will only uniformly (and not selectively) reduce the rate of evaporation and thus increase the duration but also reduce the intensity of the fragrance.) Its use will also alter the fragrance. ) Glycerine has also been used as a fixative and it has little or no fragrance of its own.
  2. nustafa's Avatar
    hi im Mustafa . im trying to start collecting by bulk any info. would be great....
    i woulk like to buy by the pound


Total Trackbacks 0
Trackback URL:

Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000