What are the ‘notes’ in a fragrance?

They are the different phases through which a fragrance develops when you spray it on your skin. Each of these stages or groups of “notes” has a different degree of volatility.

The head or top notes are the first impression of a fragrance. These are the light volatile notes that burst on your skin as you first spray, the fragrance you experience as you open a bottle. The head notes are so volatile that they usually wear away within 10 to 15 minutes.

As they fade, the heart or middle notes bloom on your skin. These form the core of the composition, and are the dominant theme of the fragrance.

This theme is accentuated and fixed by the base or soul notes. These are the foundation of the fragrance, the notes that bind the other ingredients together. They create the memory that makes the theme linger in your mind, and make the fragrance last for some four to five hours on your skin.

The Michael Edwards Fragrance Wheel
The Michael Edwards Fragrance Wheel