Essential Oils 101 – Perfumery Notes


  • Perfumery Notes
    • Top / Head Notes
    • Middle / Heart Notes
    • Base / Bottom Notes

Perfumery Notes

Different oils have different rates of evaporation. Most essential oils fall into one of three categories depending on their volatility.

Top / Head Notes

Top notes have the lightest fragrances which are quickest to evaporate (in an hour or two) and the most stimulating and uplifting to the mind and body.  They tend to give the first impression of a blend and typically have antiseptic properties.  Lighter and smaller molecules produce thinner oils that are less viscous. They are more volatile and are more aromatic. Lighter and smaller molecules assimilate in the body faster and thus are metabolised faster. For this reason, they will also linger in the body for a shorter period.  (10-30% of your blend)  Average30%.

Middle / Heart Notes

Once the top notes dissipate, the middle notes make their presence known. Also called the heart of the fragrance, middle notes usually last between two and four hours and bear a strong influence on the final base note.  These are warm, soft and subtle fragrances which usually last throughout a massage. They have a medium volatility and tend to affect the functions and general metabolism of the body and are also good for balancing and relaxing the mind.  The majority of essential oils are classified in the middle note category. The aroma of middle note essential oils are not overpowering.  (30-60% of your blend) Average 50%.

Base / Bottom Notes 

Once both top and middle notes have completely evaporated, the base notes provide the longest impression of the blend, taking one to several days to dissolve and are usually the most relaxing and sedating oils.  Base Notes are richer and heavier with larger molecules which create thicker oils that are viscous and are less volatile (aromatic). Heavier and larger molecules are absorbed in the body slower and are metabolised slowly in the body. (15-30% of the blend).  Average 20%.

Some oils do cross over between the notes and can be described, as middle/top or base/middle.



Information provided is for personal information and interest only, it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and does not offer medical advice or treatment for any condition. It is recommend you consult your doctor or aromatherapist if you are pregnant, nursing, take medication, have any health/medical conditions and want to include using essential oils.


6 thoughts on “Essential Oils 101 – Perfumery Notes

  1. I wear perfume every day but actually don’t know too much about it. I do believe in essential oils and they’re actually starting to be used in hospitals to help with anxiety and depression xx

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