Complex fragrance profiles as opposed to a single note, but what is a complex fragrance profile?

In one of our previous posts we discussed the difference between a good and a bad home fragrance. We put it quite simply, a bad home fragrance is a single layer aroma which is easily identifiable. A store bought air freshener or a alcohol based diffuser or room spray. So what is a complex fragrance profile? Here's the lowdown ...

Some of us like to think we are master perfumers, but when it comes to really understanding what goes into making a fragrance or perfume there are two main components which we are going to delve into. Fragrance families and the notes that exist within them.

First off let's explain briefly what notes are all about. Top notes also sometimes referred to as the opening notes of a fragrance, they are the first impression notes. They are made up of tiny molecules that appear immediately after spraying a perfume or fragrance but evaporate quickly, they are the most potent and last for the first ten minutes.

Heart notes are the middle notes in the formula and make an appearance once the top notes have evaporated, they last up to one hour and are usually a little more smooth than the potent top notes.

Finally the base notes, the champion of the three, these form the main body of the fragrance and introduce the depth and solidity of the fragrance. They appear once the top notes are completely evaporated. The main job of the base notes is to make the lasting impression. They are not detectable for the first 30 minutes or so, but can last up to 24 hours. 

Now that we have the notes of a complex fragrance covered, lets discuss the families that fragrances belong to. Floral, Oriental, Fresh and Woody are the four main families which also have branches or sub families linked to them. Families are used to characterize perfumes and fragrances and simplify the relationship between particular notes.


Feminine yet regal, romantic, light and fresh with influences from roses, lilies, frangipani, hibiscus, orange blossom, gardenia and jasmine these can be single floral notes or floral bouquets. 


Sensual scents with Eastern influence consist of rich opulent florals and deep, spicy scents like smokey incense, bergamot, cloves, cherries, cinnamon and ginger.


Dewy moss like scents created to have less of an overpowering feminine or "girly" scent. With deep notes of wood, sandalwood and amber, it aims to create the smell of dense forest or a roaring cabin fire.


Zesty scents of green, herbal, citrus, aqua and fruity. An everyday scent that evokes the memory of grass after a shower from the heavens or freshly cut grass. It also balances out very sweet scents perfectly. 

So now you know all about complex fragrances. In a nutshell it has many layers. The building blocks of a complex fragrance are called notes and notes exist within fragrance families. This information is quite focussed on body perfumes and fragrances but the concept is the same for quality home fragrances.

Single note fragrances are quite clearly just that, they do exist within a family but do not have more than one note or layer. Layering single note fragrances and perfumes is a trend which is all about creating a whole new unique perfume in the comfort of your own home. This said, scent plus scent does not equal two scents, but rather, a single, otherworldly fragrance (or a powerfully disastrous odor, if you do it wrong). But all of this is a discussion for another day, stay tuned!