Fragrance Pyramid: An Olfactory Tale
Karan V Grover
Jan 18, 2024
The right balance of ingredients used in the right manner makes a fragrance unique. Each perfume ingredient has its own special molecular properties, which play a role in its olfactory composition. Perfume creation means selecting and combining the right mix of ingredients. The technical knowledge and mastery of perfumers result in the creation of a fragrance. When it comes to perfumery, to achieve the right balance, it is important to understand the concept of an olfactory pyramid. The true power of a fragrance is its ability to connect with forgotten memories from the past. Perfumes are a fusion of ingredients, and both natural and synthetic compounds are used to create a delightful fragrance.
What Is The Fragrance Pyramid?
The famous French perfumer Jeans Carles (1892–1966) gave the name to the olfactory structure to be known as the fragrance pyramid. He came up with the concept of classifying notes and ranking their volatility and evaporation levels from lightest to most persistent. He believed that perfumery was an art. Later on, his concept became the universal model for the formulation of perfumes. Perfumes have three different layers with different ingredients. The three layers are top notes, middle/heart notes, and base notes.
The fragrance pyramid represents how we experience the scent throughout the day. Light and refreshing notes like basil, lavender, lemons, etc are at the top. Next, we get middle notes such as rose, jasmine, lemongrass, and more. Over time, it dries down to a heavy base like moss, sandalwood, patchouli, or oud. The pyramid shape is how we encounter a fragrance over the course of the day.
What Are Perfume Notes?
They describe the scent and blend it together to create a unique composition for a fragrance. The ingredients are placed in the fragrance pyramid in reference to their qualities, such as their evaporation levels. The top notes evaporate the fastest, while the base notes stay on for a long time. The layers in the perfume pyramid are well balanced with the one above them.
The top notes are placed in the first place on the fragrance pyramid. Just as we whiff the fragrance, we experience the top notes. As we get the first impression of the fragrance and buy a fragrance according to it. Since they are very light, they evaporate at a very fast rate. They wear off from the skin in a short span of time after giving out an impact. They last for 5-15 minutes and then pave the way for the middle notes.
Middle Notes/Heart Notes
Once the top notes say goodbye, we experience the middle notes. They stay on for 20 to 60 minutes. They connect the top and the base notes and act as a bridge between them. They help form the personality of the fragrance and suppress the base notes until they are mature enough to come up. They make sure that base notes are slowly establishing their place and providing the wearer with an aromatic experience.
Base notes add depth to the perfume and hold it together. As the top and middle notes evaporate at a fast pace, the layer that is the longest in the scent is the base notes. They stay for 5–6 hours and slowly create their way. They are rich, and this is why the skin can hold them longer. The foundation of every perfume lies in its base notes, because they are the ones that stay for a long time and carry unique accords with them.
When it comes to scents, what is important is that you choose what suits your personality the best.