A Symphony of Scents: Understanding Fragrance’s Aromatic Notes

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A Symphony of Scents: Understanding Fragrance’s Aromatic Notes
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A Symphony of Scents: Understanding Fragrance’s Aromatic Notes

Fragrance: Music to our Noses

Fragrances have long been known to have powerful effects on our minds as well as our bodies. Ancient civilizations, including Egypt, China, and India, have used aromatherapy as a healing methodology for thousands of years. Aromatherapy, along with herbal and sometimes traditional medicine, has and continues to be used to treat many physical and psychological disorders, including headaches, anxiety, stress-related issues, digestive disorders, insomnia, depression, and so much more. 

Why are fragrances so powerful? Our sense of smell is directly connected with our limbic system, which is responsible for emotion and memory. Fragrance compounds are also able to cross the blood-brain barrier and interact directly with our nervous system. That is why we have an immediate reaction to different smells, and that’s also why we can’t control our initial reaction. 

Generally speaking, smelling something good makes us feel good, while smelling something bad makes us feel quite the opposite. 

Today we’re going to discuss how fragrances are composed of different elements called “notes,” and how those notes contribute to creating a magical, irresistible scent.

The Three Notes of Fragrance

Our sense of smell is highly complex and can detect more than 1 trillion scents.

One trillion! Isn’t that incredible? It’s no wonder that fragrances must be complex as well. Smelling one single fragrance would not be a very enjoyable or interesting experience. But when you smell a combination of scents, like cinnamon and apple, oh boy - our brains go wild with excitement! 

Fragrances are composed of notes, which are essentially building blocks. Each note has its own unique, specific scent, and when combined, they form a unique fragrance. There are three main categories of notes: top, middle, and base. A different combination of notes also determines how strong the scent is and how long it will last. 

First Impression: Top Notes

Top notes are most noticeable as the first impression of the fragrance. They are the most powerful upon first smelling them, but they last the shortest amount of time. Think about when you first spray a perfume. That initial scent is primarily composed of top notes. 

Top notes are also usually bright, citrusy flavors, such as lemon and bergamot. They can also include lavender and rose. Some beautiful examples of fragrance oils with these top notes are Lavande Rose, with its calming lavender top note, and Le Chemin, with its fresh, lemony top note. 

The Heart: Middle Notes

Middle notes are considered to be the heart of the fragrance. They retain some of the top notes and also begin to introduce the base notes as a type of buffer. This means the base notes are prevented from overpowering the scent. Middle notes make up most of the fragrance, composing around 70% of its smell. They also last the entire length of the fragrance, appearing as the top notes begin to fade.

Many different ingredients can constitute middle notes, such as jasmine, ylang-ylang, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, lemongrass, and pine. Even coffee can be used as a middle note, as it appears in Lèlior’s Cafe Royal fragrance oil. Inspired by London’s famous hotel, Cafe Royal, this luxurious fragrance uses coffee to give it a warm and comforting scent. Cinquieme Avenue is another beautiful example of fragrance composed of middle notes of ylang-ylang and jasmine. These two ingredients give this fragrance a rich floral aroma that is perfect for daytime scenting.

The Foundation: Base Notes

Base notes are the foundation of the fragrance, helping to boost the middle notes while adding in depth and resonance. They’re usually created from heavier scents such as vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, amber, and cedarwood. Base notes have the longest-lasting scent, so it is wise to take them into account when considering a fragrance.

Two of Lelior’s fragrance oils containing bold, beautiful base notes are Capri and 

Champs-Elysees. Capri blends the sweetness of caramel and woodiness of musk to create a wonderful balance with its citrus-flavored top notes. Champs-Elysees uses rich base notes of fragrant Indian patchouli and woody cedarwood, balanced out by the sweet warm scent of toffee to create a multi-layered, elegant aroma.

A World of Fragrance

If you think about it, fragrances are like little worlds unto themselves. Aside from deeply influencing our moods and resulting actions, fragrances, like humans, are also a complicated little bunch. With their endless possible combinations and varying degrees of complexity and intensity, fragrances have a certain quality that animates them nearly as much as it animates us.

One of the key ways to benefit the most from a fragrance is by using a good quality diffuser. Lèlior has gone to great lengths to ensure that our diffusers spread their scent evenly, quickly, and consistently. We have performed and continue to perform many quality assurance tests because our goal is to give you an unparalleled scenting experience. All of our diffusers use waterless nano-mist technology, ensuring an even dispersion of scent and zero residue. They’re also equipped with auto shut-off features and adjustable intensity settings. 

With diffusers ranging from travel size to home to HVAC-compatible, we have created the perfect one to meet your needs. 

Choosing the right fragrance oil is a personal endeavor, and Lèlior is here to help guide you with our quick and easy Scent Quiz. With over 30 unique, non-toxic, chemical-free fragrances to choose from, our scent quiz will help you discover what types of aromas match your tastes. 

Wishing you much success on your fragrance journey!

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