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Notes in perfumery are descriptors of scents that can be sensed upon the application of a perfume. Notes are separated into three classes: top/head notes, middle/heart notes, and base notes; which denote groups of scents which can be sensed with respect to the time after the application of a perfume. These notes are created carefully with knowledge of the evaporation process and intended use of the perfume. The presence of one note may alter the perception of another—for instance, the presence of certain base or heart notes will alter the scent perceived when the top notes are strongest, and likewise the scent of base notes in the dry-down will often be altered depending on the smells of the heart notes.
The idea of notes is used primarily for the marketing of fine fragrances. The term is sometimes used by perfumers to describe approximately scents or the perfumery process to laypeople.
Fragrant materials are listed by Poucherin order of volatility and are grouped under respective evaporation coefficients (perfume notes) that range from 1 to 100.
|Top Notes:||1 to 14 (most volatile)|
|Middle Notes:||15 to 60|
|Base Notes:||61 to 100 (least volatile)|
Top notes are otherwise called the head notes.
Perceived immediately upon application of a perfume, top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person's initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of the product. The scents of this note class are usually described as "fresh", "assertive" or "sharp". The compounds that contribute to top notes are strong in scent, very volatile, and evaporate quickly.
Although not as saliently perceived, the heart and base-notes contribute much to the scent in the top notes.
Citrus and ginger scents are common top notes.
Also called the "heart notes", the middle notes are the scent of a perfume that emerges just before the top notes dissipate. The middle note compounds form the "heart" or main body of a perfume and emerge in the middle of the perfume's dispersion process. They serve to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. Not surprisingly, the scent of middle note compounds is usually more mellow and "rounded". Scents from this note class disappear anywhere from twenty minutes to one hour after the application of a perfume.
Lavender and rose scents are typical middle notes.
The scent of a perfume that appears close to the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class are often the fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes. Consisting of large, heavy molecules that evaporate slowly, compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and "deep" and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after the application of the perfume or during the period of perfume dry-down.
Some base notes can still be detectable in excess of twenty-four hours after application, particularly the animalic and musk notes.
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents, usually in liquid form, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces an agreeable scent.
Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. Musk was a name originally given to a substance with a strong odor obtained from a gland of the musk deer. The substance has been used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times and is one of the most expensive animal products in the world. The name originates from the Late Greek μόσχος 'moskhos', from Persian 'mushk', similar to Sanskrit मुष्क muṣka ("testicle"), derived from Proto-Indo-European noun "mouse". The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. It is applied to various plants and animals of similar smell and has come to encompass a wide variety of aromatic substances with similar odors, despite their often differing chemical structures and molecular shapes.
Fragrance oils, also known as aroma oils, aromatic oils, and flavor oils, are blended synthetic aroma compounds or natural essential oils that are diluted with a carrier like propylene glycol, vegetable oil, or mineral oil.
The ionones are a series of closely related chemical substances that are part of a group of compounds known as rose ketones, which also includes damascones and damascenones. Ionones are aroma compounds found in a variety of essential oils, including rose oil. β-Ionone is a significant contributor to the aroma of roses, despite its relatively low concentration, and is an important fragrance chemical used in perfumery. The ionones are derived from the degradation of carotenoids.
Evernia prunastri, also known as oakmoss, is a species of lichen. It can be found in many mountainous temperate forests throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of France, Portugal, Spain, North America, and much of Central Europe. Oakmoss grows primarily on the trunk and branches of oak trees, but is also commonly found on the bark of other deciduous trees and conifers such as fir and pine. The thalli of oakmoss are short and bushy, and grow together on bark to form large clumps. Oakmoss thallus is flat and strap-like. They are also highly branched, resembling the form of deer antlers. The colour of oakmoss ranges from green to a greenish-white when dry, and dark olive-green to yellow-green when wet. The texture of the thalli is rough when dry and rubbery when wet. It is used extensively in modern perfumery.
In chemistry, volatility is a material quality which describes how readily a substance vaporizes. At a given temperature and pressure, a substance with high volatility is more likely to exist as a vapor, while a substance with low volatility is more likely to be a liquid or solid. Volatility can also describe the tendency of a vapor to condense into a liquid or solid; less volatile substances will more readily condense from a vapor than highly volatile ones. Differences in volatility can be observed by comparing how fast a group of substances evaporate when exposed to the atmosphere. A highly volatile substance such as rubbing alcohol will quickly evaporate, while a substance with low volatility such as vegetable oil will remain condensed. In general, solids are much less volatile than liquids, but there are some exceptions. Solids that sublime such as dry ice or iodine can vaporize at a similar rate as some liquids under standard conditions.
A perfumer is an expert on creating perfume compositions, sometimes referred to affectionately as a nose due to their fine sense of smell and skill in producing olfactory compositions. The perfumer is effectively an artist who is trained in depth on the concepts of fragrance aesthetics and who is capable of conveying abstract concepts and moods with compositions. At the most rudimentary level, a perfumer must have a keen knowledge of a large variety of fragrance ingredients and their smells, and be able to distinguish each one alone or in combination with others. They must also know how each reveals itself over time. The job of the perfumer is very similar to that of flavourists, who compose smells and flavourants for commercial food products.
Fragrance extraction refers to the separation process of aromatic compounds from raw materials, using methods such as distillation, solvent extraction, expression, sieving, or enfleurage. The results of the extracts are either essential oils, absolutes, concretes, or butters, depending on the amount of waxes in the extracted product.
Chypre is the name of a family of perfumes that are characterised by an accord composed of citrus top notes, a middle centered on cistus labdanum, and a mossy-animalic set of basenotes derived from oakmoss. Chypre perfumes fall into numerous classes according to their modifier notes, which include but are not limited to leather, florals, fruits, and amber.
The word perfume is used today to describe scented mixtures and is derived from the Latin word, "per fumus," meaning through smoke. The word Perfumery refers to the art of making perfumes. Perfume was further refined by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs. Although perfume and perfumery also existed in East Asia, much of its fragrances were incense based. The basic ingredients and methods of making perfumes are described by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.
Jean Carles (1892–1966) was a French perfumer who worked in Roure in the early 20th century. He was the founder of the Roure Perfumery School and served as its first director in 1946.
Eau de toilette literally translated as toilet water is a lightly scented cologne used as a skin freshener. It is also referred to as "aromatic waters" and has a high alcohol content. It is usually applied directly to the skin after bathing or shaving. It was originally composed of alcohol and various volatile oils. Traditionally these products were named after a principal ingredient; some being geranium water, lavender water, lilac water, violet water, spirit of myrcia and 'eau de Bretfeld'. Because of this, eau de toilette was sometimes referred to as "toilet water".
Fougère, pronounced [fu.ʒɛʁ], is one of the main olfactive families of perfumes. The name comes from the French language word for "fern". Fougère perfumes are made with a blend of fragrances: top-notes are sweet, with the scent of lavender flowers; as the more volatile components evaporate, the scents of oakmoss, derived from a species of lichen and described as woody, sharp and slightly sweet, and coumarin, similar to the scent of new-mown hay, become noticeable. Aromatic fougère, a derivative of this class, contains additional notes of herbs, spice and/or wood.
An odor or odour is caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds that are generally found in low concentrations that humans and animals can perceive by their sense of smell. An odor is also called a "smell" or a "scent", which can refer to either a pleasant or an unpleasant odor.
Christophe Laudamiel is a French perfumer. He is founder and master perfumer of DreamAir creative studios in New York City, where he currently resides. In 2019 he was named chief perfumer to BélAir Lab in Tokyo: a perfume composition and technology studio newly managed by Roto Pharmaceuticals. He is a founder and president of the non-profit Academy of Perfumery and Aromatics.
A fragrance wheel, also known as aroma wheel, fragrance circle, perfume wheel or smell wheel, is a circular diagram showing the inferred relationships among olfactory groups based upon similarities and differences in their odor. The groups bordering one another are implied to share common olfactory characteristics. Fragrance wheel is frequently used as a classification tool in oenology and perfumery.
S by Shakira is the first woman's fragrance by Colombian singer songwriter Shakira. Developing an interest in perfumery and scents, Shakira signed an agreement with international fashion company Puig to create a line of beauty and personal care products. S by Shakira is an amber perfume which combines scents of various exotic sources like sambac jasmine, sandalwood, and vanilla. The bottle of the perfume is made of treated glass which reflects light at different angles; it does not have a cap and instead utilises a key-like mechanism to stop the flow of the perfume. Shakira launched S by Shakira at a press release in Madrid, Spain, in June 2010, and it was sent to retail stores in September 2010. Critics praised the scent of S by Shakira, but there was criticism regarding the design of the bottle. It was nominated for a FiFi Award in 2011.
3-Isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine is a methoxypyrazine that is very similar to isopropyl methoxy pyrazine except that the alkyl side-group contains an isobutyl group attached to the carbon alpha to the methoxy sidegroup instead of an isopropyl side-group at that same carbon position.
Sillage in perfume refers to the trail created by a perfume when it is worn on the skin. It comes from the word in French for "wake" and can best be described as how a fragrance diffuses behind the wearer as they move.