What is a Fragrance Pyramid?

An olfactory, fragrance or perfume pyramid is a concept used to visualise a fragrance’s life-cycle. The different notes are classed by their volatility to create a clear distinction between each phase.

These are arranged into 3 groups from the most to least volatile:

  1. Head Notes: these are the first notes perceived after applying a perfume. They consist of the most volatile compounds, which evaporate very quickly. Head notes are short-lived but strong and sharp. They introduce the wearer to the fragrance and serve as first impressions.
  2. Heart Notes: as the head notes fade, the heart notes tend to emerge. These are transitory notes that linger as the base comes noticeable. They are usually designed to hide base notes, which take a while to mature and can be unpleasant at first.
  3. Base Notes: base notes are the foundation of a fragrance. They are long-lasting aromas that usually form accords with the heart notes. Base notes are what provides a fragrance’s longevity and can usually last for hours.

The notes are then stacked on top of each other like layers, which serve to indicate the life-cycle’s chronology. This takes the form of a triangle but is colloquially referred to as a pyramid.

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