“Notes” are an important aspect of blending essential oils for aromas. A basic understanding of notes will go a long way in helping you to create, or guide customers in creating, successful essential oil blends.
What are notes in blending? Notes are characteristics of oils that are determined by the individual aromatic compounds that make up every essential oil. These compounds evaporate at different rates. If an oil is made up mostly of compounds that evaporate quickly, it's considered a "top note" oil. If an oil is made up mostly of compounds that evaporate very slowly, it's considered a “base note.” A "middle note" oil often serves to bridge top and base notes in a blend. Strive to create blends that have a balance of all three notes.
Top notes are the most noticeable aroma in a blend and are typically very refreshing and uplifting. Most citrus essential oils are top notes. Top are the quickest to evaporate — 30 minutes to a few hours.
Popular top notes include eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint and sweet orange.
Middle notes are harmonizing for the total blend, like in music. They give “body” to the blends and can be soothing and relaxing. They can take up to 4 hours to evaporate.
Some examples of middle notes are Roman chamomile, geranium, lavender and rosemary.
Base notes work as a fixative to hold top and middle notes together and give stability to blends. They are the slowest to evaporate, and in some cases can last several days. Most base notes can be described as deep, intense and grounding.
Some common base notes are cedarwood, jasmine absolute, patchouli and myrrh.
Understanding the different aroma notes is just one component of oil blending, but it’s an important one for achieving the most satisfying results. To create an interesting and complex aroma blend, you might consider using a woody oil (typically a base note), a floral oil (typically a middle note), and a citrus oil (typically a top note). Choose ones that appeal to you to create your own unique blend.