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Fragrance Basics

The building blocks of fragrance are called "notes" or " accords". The terms mean the same thing: the smallest combination of ingredients that represents an identifiable, usable smell. For simplicity, we will just refer to them as notes.

Notes have special characteristics: they express their scented nature immediately, and do not change over time. All Demeter Fragrances are single notes, so they express their nature immediately and do not change over time. It is this simplicity and familiarity that make Demeter scents ideal for everyday.

Notes are the ingredients that a master perfumer uses to make more complex prestige fragrances, whether designer, celebrity or artisanal. By " complex", we generally mean:

1. Fragrances that contain many different notes and ingredients, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, and;

2. Fragrances whose smell changes over time. Different notes express their scent after different periods of time. The "dry down", or changes in complex scents that we experience, are the different notes naturally expressing themselves at different lengths of time.

We generally break notes into three broad categories:

  • Top
  • Middle
  • Base

A complex fragrance is normally made up of notes from each of the three groups, and unfolds over time.

Top Notes: These are expressed immediately on the application of a perfume, and evaporate quickly.
Top notes form the initial impression of a perfume.
Middle Notes: Also known as the "Heart" of a complex fragrance, these emerge just prior to the dissipation of the top note. These notes form the main body of a perfume, and in complex blends, they mask the occasional unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant as they mellow over time.
Base Notes: These appear close to the departure of middle notes, and form the main theme of a complex fragrance. Base notes bring depth to a complex blend.