Understanding Organic Perfume Pyramid

Although it may appear as simple as mixing together a few oils with a diluting product, perfume making is actually a little more technical than that. All good scents contain three different layers of fragrance.

Top Notes

The top note(s) form the first impression of your perfume. This is the initial smell that either attracts or repels you, and as such, it is the most important layer.

Top notes generally evaporate within the first 20 minutes. This does not mean that their scents are removed from the overall perfume fragrance, just that these stop being the dominant scents. Typically, top notes make up 20 – 40% of your essential oils blend.

Popular essential oils used for top notes are:-

Anise, Basil, Bay (Bay Laurel), Bergamot, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Galbanum, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Orange, peppermint, Petitgrain, Spearmint, Tagetes and Tangerine.

Middle Notes

Mid Notes make up the main component of your essential oil blend and account for between 40 – 80% of the oils used.

The middle notes become gradually more noticeable as the top notes begin to fade. It takes around 10 minutes for the first hints to come through the top notes and they are fully apparent after around 30 minutes. Mid notes generally stay dominant from up to 2 hours, (certain scents may last a little longer than this).

Popular mid notes essential oils include:

Bay, Carrot, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove, Cypress, Dill, Fennel, Fir, Geranium, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Lindon Blossom, Marjoram, Neroli, Nutmeg, Palmarosa, Parsley, Black Pepper, Scotch Pine, Rose, Rose Geranium, Rosemary, Rosewood, Spruce, Tea Tree, Thyme, Tobacco, Yarrow, Ylang Ylang.

Base Notes

Base notes begin to develop around 30 minutes after the perfume is applied and make up between 10 – 25% of the essential oil blend.

These are the longest lasting scents of the fragrance blend and are responsible for the lingering aroma of your scent long after the main smell have disappeared.

Popular base note essential oils include:

Angelica, Balsam, Beeswax, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ginger, Myrrh, Oakmoss, Olibanum, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver.

How To Blend Oils For Organic Perfumes

When you first begin choosing your own blends of essential oils it is important to familiarize yourself with both individual oils scents and combined scents. Many oils smell very different when mixed with another and even though they appear unpleasant on their own, when blended with other scents they can create beautiful aromas. Similarly, pleasant smelling oils can take on quite unpleasant smelling characteristics if mixed with the wrong oil.

Keep a notebook to hand when experimenting with blending so you can record what works and what does not.

Start with a limit of 5 to 10 drops of oil in total and use a mixture of top, middle and base notes. Do not waste your oils by making sample blends using too many drops as this can lead to expensive mistakes.

Once you find a blend you like you can begin to experiment further but it will save a lot of waste in the interim.

Once you have settled on a particular blend, test it out with different dilution mediums. All carrier oils contain their own scents and characteristics, some stronger than others, so if you are using oil as a dilution agent you must ensure you find one that compliments your essential oil blend.

Initially, use a basic essential oil ratio of 30:50:20 to get you started, this can then be adapted as you become more experienced. This equates to 30% top note oils, 50% middle note oils and 20% base note oils.


1oz of perfume = 30ml = 600 drops

If you make a 10ml oil based Eau de Perfume you will need a scent blend between 10 – 20%.

For this example, I will be using a 20% blend. This equates to 1-part essential oil blend (2ml) and 4 parts carrier oil (8ml).

There are 20 drops of essential oil per 1ml; so for a 20% blend of 10ml I will need 40 drops of oil.

30% = 12 drops of top notes

50% = 20 drops of middle notes

20% = 8 drops of base notes

These are then blended together and added to the 8ml of carrier oil.

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