PERFUME INGREDIENTS NOTES, CHORDS AND OLFACTORY PYRAMID
A perfume is a mixture of essential oils or fragrances, fixatives and solvents, usually ethanol or a mixture of light aliphatic alcohols. Each fragrance consists of three groups of fragrance notes which are top, heart and base notes. It is a collection of scents that develop over time.
The world of perfumes is not only a world full of various fragrances with countless possibilities. Perfumes created by outstanding perfumers can be a true masterpiece, a source of inspiration, a reflection of experiences, emotions and dreams. No doubt it is an art that let us interpret what we feel in a unique and exceptional way. Same as in case of music, there are similar descriptions such as notes, chords and compositions. In this post, we shall explain what each means.
The composition is nothing else than a mixture of ingredients used to create the fragrance. It consists of fragrance oils, water, alcohol and – in the case of synthetic fragrances strengthening agents. Additionally, to obtain a smooth mixture, homogenizing agents are used too. They do not affect the fragrance itself, but help to obtain a homogeneous substance. Further the composition transforms into a bouquet and it will become the final scent of a given perfume.
Fragrances that make up a given composition, are called chords in perfumery. Depending on the perfumer’s fantasy, they can consist of two, three or even more ingredients. As each fragrance can be made up of countless oils, they are therefore divided into fragrance chords. On the other hand the chords are built up of single fragrance notes. It is very important to know how the notes will blend with each other resulting at the end in certain chord. This art requires enormous knowledge and experience. The notes of the chord have to interact perfectly and make common harmonious elements match together. It is exactly the same as during music creation process, where not all chords sound good together.
NOTE BY NOTE
Notes are the basic single ingredients creating the composition. They are countless. The method and order of mixing them are also of great importance. The same fragrance notes mixed together, but in a different order can give a completely different effect. There are floral, citrus, woody, spicy, oriental, chypre, green, leather and aldehyde notes. Most of the compositions are built on the pyramid principle consisting of three groups: top notes, heart notes and base notes. A separate post dedicated to the topic will follow soon.
The art of perfumes creation process is extremely complicated. It requires experience, knowledge and continuous learning. If the composition is to be successful, you have to remember about certain rules, while working on it. These principles allow you to achieve a consistent and harmonious end result. Composing perfumes is based on strictly established patterns. Due to the structure, the compositions can be divided into two types: linear and pyramidal.
Linear compositions are basically not very sophisticated . Their structure is relatively simple, which means the fragrance smells the same from the moment of application to its complete oxidation. Roughly speaking the scent will remain unchanged and for sure it will not surprise you. It is typical composition for commercial perfumes, while niche ones are mainly based on a pyramidal structure.
Fragrances that are built according to the pyramid scheme are definitely more sophisticated and their creation requires extensive knowledge and experience of the perfumer. Such compositions are divided into three parts, in which the base, the heart and the top notes are respectively distinguished. Each of them accentuates in different moments, intertwining with each other. The top of the pyramid is, of course, the top notes. They are the first to prevail right after they are applied on. They are usually light, waterish, fresh, citrus and fruity notes that are less persistent and evaporate faster. However, they have an extremely important role to perform. They are responsible for the first impression, often a decisive factor while choosing a fragrance. The fragrance heart is its most important part. Heart notes will dominate and define a given fragrance. Additionally they combine the top notes with the base ones. Therefore, it is important that the transition between the various parts of the fragrance is smooth and harmonious. The heart of the fragrance begins to enhance in about 10-20 minutes after being applied on. Their longevity reaches several hours and it depends mainly on the concentration and quality of the oils used. The most common notes here are floral, green and spicy. The longevity of heart notes is greater than of the top ones, but less than of notes emerging in the base of the fragrance. Base notes are essential to maintain the longevity and strength of the pyramid fragrance. They keep all composition “in check”. They are the heaviest and will last the longest. This does not mean, however, that they will dominate the entire fragrance. They will certainly be an indispensable fixer, which the notes of the head and heart could not develop and stay on the skin without. The base of the fragrance is usually not felt earlier than half an hour after application. These strong and heavy notes last up to 8 hours. The most common in this group are woody, leather, balsamic, sweet or tobacco notes. The most frequently used are certainly musk, patchouli and vanilla ones. Pyramid compositions are much more popular than linear ones. They let the fragrance evolve and change over time, giving you the opportunity to discover step by step the beauty and magic of perfumes.
We invite you to test all the fragrances in our DISCOVERY SET. Certainly you will find your favorite notes and enter the world of KINETIC.