Essential Oil Notes Explained

What are essential oil notes?

May 05, 2022

Do you want to blend your essential oils but you're not sure which oils go together? It can be tricky, but did you know each essential oil has a ‘note’ - either a top, middle and base notes. In the world of perfumery each scent is assigned a ‘note’ which helps classify its strength and fragrance. This helps us understand where each scent sits on a scale in relation to other scents and which scents will blend well together. We’ve put together a guide and chart to help you understand these notes and which oils will blend well with others.

What are Top Note Essential Oils?

Top notes are the first scents you’ll experience when inhaling an essential oil. They are the first scents people will notice in a blend. Top notes are usually fresh and light and give an instant little lift. They awaken the senses before fading and allowing the middle and base notes to take over.

A fragrances' top note is usually the first to evaporate which is why they don’t last as long as the middle or base notes. Most citrus essential oils are top notes along with eucalyptus and often top note essential oils are cheaper than middle or base notes. Bergamot is a popular essential oil for blending because of its powerful scent which is enough to hold its own when mixed with other fragrances but light enough to form the colourful top note of a recipe.

What are Middle Note Essential Oils?

The middle notes are the ones that make themselves known as the scents of the top notes fades away. Middle notes are often herbal or floral scents such as rosemary or lavender and they function as the main body of a blend. As middle notes are longer lasting, usually for around two hours, they are beneficial in the blend to body and mind, helping to calm, de-stress, reduce pain or invigorate.

What are Base Note Essential Oils?

Base notes linger the longest before evaporating as they contain heavier molecules. As the top and middle notes fade away, just the base note is left - which is why when you test a perfume on your skin it smells different after a while. These deeper scents can affect your mood and are the crux of your oil blends, so they must be carefully chosen so that they work in harmony. Some popular base note essential oils include ylang ylang, peppermint, frankincense and vetiver.

Essential Notes Chart

We’ve put together an essential oil notes chart to show you where your favourite oils sit on the scale before you start blending. This will help you create a balanced blend that smells great.

The Soapery Essential Oils Notes Chart


Andy's Top Tips For Blending Essential Oils:

  • Always remember that essential oils can cause skin irritation if they aren't diluted. Always use with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
  • To avoid wasted oils when you're experimenting with blends, start out small. A total number of 5, 10, 20 or 25 drops is a good start.
  • A 2ml amber bottle is an inexpensive choice for blending and storing in small quantities.
  • Remember to write down the oils and number of drops used for each blend you create - that way you can  make it again when you find one you love.
  • Label each blend to avoid guesswork.
  • After creating a blend, let it sit for a few days before deciding if you’re keeping it or throwing it out

We hope understanding more about top, middle and base notes of essential oils will help you on a successful journey to your own beautiful blends. Don't forget to tag us in your pictures on Instagram and Facebook and let us know what your new favourite blends are!

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