The Common Base Notes in Fragrances

Base notes are the underlying scents of a perfume. They tend to be the scents that last the longest in a perfume, and surprisingly many of your favorite fragrances often use the same type of base notes. This does not mean that the scents all smell the same, but it does mean that there are common scents that are placed into several scents. The base not is the
bottom layer of a perfume, the one that you will be able to smell the long after the original application. It is initially meant to boost the impact of the top and middle notes and eventually eases into the body and theme of the fragrance.

How Base Notes are Selected

Most brands select their base notes based on the type of scent that they would like to have as a final product and for the longevity of the scent itself. You will often see the base notes described in the perfume description. These base notes are important because you will be
able to see what is combined with the top note in order to make up the scent that you are purchasing.

There are common ways that most base notes are described. You will notice these listed after the top notes in the description of the perfume.

  • Spicy
  • Heavy
  • Exotic
  • Sensual
  • Mossy
  • Musky
  • Smokey
  • Woody
  • Warm

    For a woody base note, try She Wood by Dsquared2

These base notes are used to describe the type of lasting scent that will remain after the top notes wear off. You will see that many perfumes use similar base notes because they are limited on the types of scents that they can use due to price, availability, and ingredients’ lasting effects.  The description of many base notes may be Spicy or Warm based on the ingredients used to compose the intended feelings, but this does not mean the same components are used to make up every fragrance.

For a refined mossy fragrance, try Paloma Picasso by Paloma Picasso.

Most Common Base Notes

There are certain base notes that you will see listed over and over again when
reading perfume descriptions. These are often used simply for their ability to
blend well with and boost the top notes.

  • Musk- A synthetically created scent that helps with the longevity of a perfume. Musk can help with the strength of a perfume, so it is used in a variety of strengths.
  • Amber- Considered to fit best in the warm or woody category. It has great blending capabilities and is chosen for its ability to compliment other fragrances.
  • Tonka Bean- This has an extremely sweet smell. It has been said to have caramel like properties, and is growing in popularity as a base note for many perfumes. Tonka Bean is most likely seen as a base note in perfumes that are created for young women due to its extremely sweet smelling properties.

For tonka bean base note, try Shalimar Parfum Initial by Cuerlain.

  • Vanilla- Everyone knows that vanilla has a strong scent and offers quite a bit of longevity and this is why it is used in not only perfumes, but air fresheners, candles, and many other scented products.

For a vanilla base, try Amethyst by Lalique.

Base notes are a great way to add to the strength of a perfume, but it is extremely important for the heavy base notes to compliment the top notes. Look to the description of the base note in order to help understand the strength on longevity of the perfume that you are purchasing.


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