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Post in Beauty Confidential

Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

A masterfully-crafted fragrance reveals itself slowly, changing along the way as you experience each one of its layersโ€”three to be exact.


First up are the top notes, which evaporate to uncover the middle notes. Also known as the heart of a fragrance, this middle layer lasts the longest. Eventually the middle notes dry down, giving way to the fragranceโ€™s final twist: the base notes.   


Curious how this symphony of notes plays out IRL?

Letโ€™s look at Commodity Nectar. At first spritz, youโ€™re captivated by juicy pomelo, Italian tangerine and bergamot. Once these top notes wear off, neroli, honeysuckle and cedar wood fill the air. Until finally, you are wowed by the richness of orange blossom, liquid musk and vetiver.



Who knew the inner workings of a scent were so complex?


COMMODITY NECTAR 100ml (4).jpg

RE: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@Commodity I think I passed the test lol. That was my experience with Nectar as well. I recently tried a few more of your fragrances. Mimosa was not for me. Nothing wrong with it, just nothing special for me personally, and when you have a sizable parfumรฉ collection, special is what you need. Gin is amazing and a perfect gift for my brother even though I wish it didnโ€™t have such a strong staying power. I know itโ€™s usually a good thing but not when you are a doctor. And last but not least, Book. What a revelation! Itโ€™s darker edgier. Very sexy scent. Reminds me of Versace Crystal Noir. I will add Commodity Book to my line up.

Re: RE: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@Zvezdochka@ZvezdochkaSo glad to hear that youโ€™ve found fragrances you like from our collection ๐Ÿ˜Š Have you tried Book Candle if you love Book Eau de Parfum?    


RE: Re: RE: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

I will definitely give it a try later on. Thank you for your suggestion.

RE: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

Love this post! Gold is one of my favorite fragrances!! Could you do a similar breakdown for Gold?? โค๏ธ

Re: RE: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

  • We love to hear that Commodity Gold is one of your favorites @hugnkiss! And it would be our absolute pleasure do a note breakdown for Gold.

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

I grabbed a sample of Nectar when I was in store. Must give it a go again to see what notes I can pick up. I definitely remember the pomelo (love!) and citrusy tangerine but didnโ€™t pick up much bergamot. I donโ€™t remember much of the middle notes but did remember the lingering musk. 

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@Commodity I think my nose is broken ๐Ÿ˜ถ I tried really hard, I pulled out my bottle of Nectar and all I smell is....Nectar? 


I want to be a fancy lady who understands top notes and middle notes and bottom notes...can I train my nose? 

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@GG84We donโ€™t think your nose is broken! With a little practice and with the help of @pocketvenus 's wonderful tips, youโ€™ll be able to identify these wonderful notes in your Commodity Nectar:

    • Juicy pomelo, Italian Tangerine and Bergamot as your top notes
    • Neroli, honeysuckle and cedarwood as your middle notes
    • Orange blossom, liquid musk and vetiver as your base notes

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@GG84, you absolutely can train your nose ๐Ÿ™‚


I would start off by smelling individual notes - if you have access to essential oils, this can help a lot. Take your time and smell all the facets of them. You'll discover, for example, that jasmine can be really complex with hints of leather, or plastic, or even bananas. But if you can't access essential oils, you can try smelling things in your environment like flowers, or different types of leather and wood, and so on.


Maybe you cannot identify an exact note right away but you can try to identify a category. Some notes are floral, citrusy, leathery, smoky and so on. Whenever I don't know what I'm smelling this is what I do, aim for vaguer categories, like citrusy woody or ambery spice.


Another way to learn a note is to smell a lot of different types of perfumes. To understand what ISO-E Super smells like, I smelled a lot of fragrances with an ISO-E Super overdose. I think I've smelled enough ambroxan at this point to correctly guess at scents with a lot of it. I've also smelled a lot of chypres to understand oakmoss. None of these notes I've been able to access anywhere else except through perfume.


Once you have a feel for individual notes, I'd spray different perfumes and see what you can pick out and then check your answers against a notes pyramid to see what you got right. This is what I did when I started out and it helped a lot. I had a lot of incorrect answers in the beginning but you get better with practice ๐Ÿ™‚


If you can't always tease the notes apart, that's okay! Some scents blend the notes together very seamlessly making it challenging to pick out an individual note.

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@pocketvenus Oh this could be fun! I promise not to cheat. Can you pick out a common fragrance that Sephora has (I need to pick up Mascara tomorrow) and if I dont own it, I'll ask for a sample tomorrow and try to figure out some easy notes! 

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@GG84, If you can do two samples, how about Gucci's Bloom and Hermes' Twilly? They both feature the same flower but other notes make them different ๐Ÿ™‚ If you know the flower in question, how about Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noire? There is a distinctive fruit note in there, try guessing what it is ๐Ÿ™‚

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@pocketvenus On it!

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

This is so interesting to hear about! As someone who is not particularly familiar with fragrances, I love learning about how they work! I had no idea some scents are meant to change over time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hm. Thanks for explaining! @Commodity

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@SchylarR@Glarson, yes some scents can change, sometimes many times ๐Ÿ™‚ But a changing perfume is not necessarily a sign of quality and a non-changing perfume, what is sometimes called linear, is not necessarily a sign of a poor fragrance.


What is quite common these days is the most expensive ingredients are put up front so that what you smell at first is beautiful but then the rest of the perfume is filler. So the opening fades away and then you are left with something very generic and synthetic. This is why it's really important to test a scent on your skin and smell how it dries down!

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@pocketvenus Wow your responses are so informative and interesting! Thanks so much for all of the info!

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@Glarson, you're very welcome! Always nice to see people getting interested in perfume โค๏ธ

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@SchylarR I agree I had no idea either, and it is nice to know! I love your fragrance Gold, would you consider doing a breakdown of that fragrance so I have something to look forward to when I wear it next? I always notice the musky scent and the vanilla but I'd love to have a play by play. @Commodity

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@Glarson Absolutely! A Commodity Gold breakdown will be coming soon!!

Re: Understanding the Notes of Fragrance

@Commodity Glad to hear that!!

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  • COMMODITY NECTAR 100ml (4).jpg