Clarification about multiple positions of notes


New member
Apr 9, 2021
Just wondering how to find some notes in different levels in the pyramid,,,

Some times sandalwood found as heart note while it is a base note.

Lemon as heart instead of Top

Jasmine as base note instead of heart

Or Cedar in heart as well as in base in the same perfume

I see such things like that in ads for a perfume or in formula ...

Any one can help?


Basenotes Dependent
May 15, 2015
Others who know more about making fragrance can probably chime in with more technical knowledge, but from what I understand it is likely two things:

1. Marketing: a notes list is not an ingredients list and can name notes that the scent invokes that might not even be in it. Oud is the most abused example, where the perfume might contain an accord of ingredients to imply the smell of oud without containing any real oud at all. Or, how a complex natural like vanilla might have multiple facets like "custard" or "tobacco" and so the marketing will put these in the notes list to draw your attention to these facets even though it might be just vanilla. I imagine a similar thing goes on where they want you to really believe a perfume is packed to the brim with a certain ingredient so they list it in all 3 parts of the pyramid. BTW there's nothing wrong with this IMO as long we understand the notes pyramid are the things we might smell but not necessarily what's in the juice. It's a lot like wine or coffee descriptions, we know there aren't actually red currants or chocolate in the coffee beans but the seller wants us to notice these facets when we taste it.

2. The more technical explanation, notes pyramids are really about evaporation curves. The materials in the top evaporate more quickly to reveal the mid and so on. Depending on how the perfumer designs the perfume, the top may be able to hide the base so that new aspects are gradually revealed over time, or they may prefer a more linear approach where all the elements of the perfume are detectable from the start. I imagine when the same note is listed in different levels, they might be different materials of the same note with different evaporation curves. So, you get a quickly evaporating puff of iris top that provides a "wow iris!" in the opening, then a more slowly evaporating iris compound in the mid that provides body followed with a long lasting iris compound to continue the smell into the base.


Basenotes Institution
Oct 25, 2007
As long as I am able to detect the note/accord at some point in the process, I feel I am lucky!

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