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Some "notes" on the olfactory pyramid of perfumes
I Am Sicily
Breathing is a natural and unconscious gesture bringing something extremely poetic: life. But breathing is also that perceptive experience which goes beyond the sense of smell, activating the complex sphere of emotions and memories. Each I am Sicily fragrance skilfully exploits this process through the sophisticated combination of essences making up the olfactory pyramid of the perfume. But what is the olfactory pyramid?
What is the olfactory pyramid of perfumes?
The olfactory pyramid of a perfume is a theoretical and extended representation of its olfactory notes. This chart was designed by Aimé Guerlain for his first fragrances, Jick in 1889.
According to its classification, every perfume is defined on three levels distinguishing its different level of persistence of olfactory notes. It is therefore a temporal scale for the perfume evaporations: from the lightest and most volatile essences of the opening notes, to the central notes, up to the base notes representing the most persistent lasting olfumes.
A good perfume composition must keep its olfactory pyramid structure for a perfect harmony.
How is the olfactory pyramid of a perfume composed?
Musical similarities about olfactory “notes” and harmony of compositions are not casual at all. On the contrary, it is coherent to think about the classification of the olfactory pyramid as a musical scale in which the top notes correspond to the highest tones whereas the bottom notes would remind the lowest ones. Therefore, the olfactory pyramid should be read from the top to the bottom, that is according to the way each fragrance expresses itself. Here are the 3 levels of the pyramid:
The top notes of a perfume are those which can be perceived immediately after nebulization. They are fresh and light essences, but at the same time very fleeting because they tend to fade away after few minutes. Nevertheless they play a very important role because they capture the senses instantly, enticing the person to perceive the fragrance. The olfactory families to which the top notes belong are generally of the citrus-experienced and aromatic-marine type. (More on this subject: Olfactory families of perfumes).
The heart notes follow in chronologically They begin to be perceived after few minutes, lasting from four to eight hours. Generally heart notes represent the warmest and full bodied part of the olfactory pyramid, emanating floral and/or fruity accords.
The base notes of a perfume are those that ultimately express its personality. Their aroma is intense and decisive and can be perceived even after days, remaining impregnated on the skin and clothes. For this reason these notes generate fidelity in the use of a perfume. These essences belong to the oriental-spicy, woody-amber or leather-musky families, while the sweeter and lighter ones recall vanilla, powdery and gourmand scents.
The times of perfume and the "ideal" olfactory pyramid
What we said about the times of perception of notes makes us understand the real importance of the definition of the olfactory pyramid of a perfume: the search for a perfect harmony between top notes, middle notes and bottom notes. Going back to the musical analogy, a harmonious olfactory pyramid is similar to a symphony in which every note finds its right place, And this rule is valid in every stage of the perfume evaporation , so that every note can delicately leave room to the following notes with no overwhelming
What has been said makes us understand how important the time factor is in the evaluation of a perfume. Never evaluate a perfume by its top notes! Otherwise it is necessary to let the fragrance express along all the stages of the olfactory pyramid. If a perfume is really good, it must exhibit perfect harmony both within the boundaries and through the transitions between the various top notes, middle notes and bottom notes.