Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Every woman wants to smell good. For some that's as fresh as soap and water and others its a trip down the perfume aisle. Prior to writing this article about the Gardenia's role in making perfume, I had never heard of a Top, Middle or Base note. I learned a lot. Read it, it might make buying your next bottle of perfume more interesting.
The process of combining aromatic compounds and essential oils to produce perfume is complicated but fascinating. The ingredients are arranged in a way that allows for vaporization and evaporation in a predictable, staggered pattern.This is referred to as a "musical metaphor." There is a top note, a middle note and a base note. The heady scent of the gardenia, which is widely used in the making of perfumes, is considered osmically balanced. In other words, it is perfectly balanced and contains all three notes.

The Top Note

  • The top note or head note is what we smell when the perfume is first sprayed and is the determining factor in its ability to sell. It has a lighter scent and evaporates quickly, usually in about 10 minutes. This evaporation is followed by the vaporization of the second note. The gardenia is often used as the top note, emitting a delicate fragrance that is described as intoxicating.

                The Middle Note

  • The middle note or "heart note" may be evident from the beginning but does not fully develop for 10 to 30 minutes. When a perfume is categorized, such as fruity or floral, it is the middle note that is being described. This note covers the base note, allowing it time to mellow and become pleasant. Gardenia is also used in this position and is often combined with other scents such as orchid or lily of the valley.

The Base Note

  • Base notes have a grounding effect on the perfume. They have the greatest molecular weight, slowing down the evaporation rate of the lighter notes and allowing the fragrance to last. The base note becomes most noticeable about an hour after the initial spray. Each note has a role to play and all are needed for the final harmonious effect. Because the gardenia is so well balanced it can also act as a base note, giving the perfume depth and longevity.
Antique Perfume Bottles

A Single Flower Perfume

  • Most perfumes today are floral bouquets, a combination of sometimes dozens of scents. The gardenia plays an important role in many popular fragrances. Its beautiful white pedals are crushed and refined to extract an essential oil that is powerful. Although a key player in the perfume industry, this sweet smelling flower is still one of the few that can stand on its own. With its perfectly balanced nature and its ability to create its own "musical metaphor," it is still used as a single flower perfume.
  • What's your favorite perfume?  I would love to her from you.