High, Middle, and Low (Evaporation Rate)
The top note will be the first impression of the fragrance as it evaporates. They tend to be light and penetrating and will last on the body around 30 minutes.
The middle note or the body of the perfume is generally the overall odor of the blend and rounds out the fragrance. The middle notes can make up 50 to 80% of the blend and can last as long as three hours.
Base notes or the dry note of the blend contain deep, warm, and sensuous oils. The base notes are the slowest to evaporate. They consist of woods, resins, and roots and tend to be some of the more expensive essential oils.
A Bit More About Notes
The first smell to arise from a blend and evaporate quickly. The top note fragrance is usually light, fresh, sharp, penetrating, and airy. They add brightness to a blend. The aroma of top note oils reminds me of wind chimes or a flute. Top notes stimulate and clear your mind, uplifting your energy.
Examples: Bergamot, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, and Orange
Called the “heart” note, these oils give the blend aromatic softness, fullness, and can round off any sharp edges. Middle notes can have both top and base note aromas within them. They are harmonizing for your blends. Middle notes provide balance both physically and energetically. They are soothing and harmonizing for the mind and body.
Examples: German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Helichrysum, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Ravintsara, Pine, and Rosemary
These oils provide a deep, warm, grounded quality to your blend. They function as fixatives by reducing the evaporation of the top notes. Base notes add intensity to a blend and often have an earthy aroma. The aroma rises slowly to your nose unlike top notes, which penetrate quickly. Base notes are used to relieve stress, anxiety, and insomnia. They are calming and grounding. Most oils derived from woods, resins, and roots are base notes.
Examples: Opoponax, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Spikenard, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang
When blending, add one drop at a time to your blend, then mix and smell. Allow the blend to unfold slowly and inform you about what oils to add and how much. We often need much less essential oil than we might imagine. Remember to keep track of the blends you make by recording which oils you used and how many drops of oil. When you finish the blend and want to make it again, you will have the recipe!
Photo courtesy of: https://lavenderandoil.com/essential-oil-notes/
For more information on "notes", including charts categorizing popular oils by note, check out: