The prettiest part of any perfume is its top note. Of course, there is a trick to that. Top notes are invariably the most alluring part of any fragrance BUT they are also the most fleeting. Like getting caught in a mouse trap.

It’s ironic that some top notes are terribly strong when they first come out of the bottle. Almond, for instance, is a wild and overwhelming smell when you encounter it. I find myself thinking, “Good Grief, am I going to have to take a shower to rid myself of this HUGE broadcast?” Then it settles down to a glorious fragrance and carries me away on a magic carpet of sensual delight which *plop* ends abruptly when it totally disappears! It is gone forever within 5 minutes. I am always so sad when that happens but will always remember what delight tickled my soul as I took the first breath of almond.

Other top notes include: palmarosa, wintergreen and all of the mints, citruses, and cognac.

There is some serious controversy about exactly what is and what is not a top note, too. Some people say that petitgrain* is a top note, I disagree. To me it’s a middle note because it lasts a pretty long time. I say that chocolate and cognac are both top notes, other people classify them as base notes. I cannot get them to stick around. Clary sage evaporates around me, leaving not even a trace and so does melissa. I find vanilla is a middle note but I suspect that is because I love it so that it seems to disappear as my nose gets used to it.

One very strange note is violet. It’s really a bass note, it sticks around for a very long time but it has a surprising characteristic: the more you smell it, the more your nose is anesthetized! You utterly cease to smell it within a matter of minutes. That is a well known fact among perfumers.

Finally, orris root is used as a fixative and I consider it a bass note BUT not everyone agrees with me and some respectable perfumers classify it as a middle note. Since it does smell similar to violet, maybe it’s pulling the violet disappearing trick.

It is possible to create meltingly beautiful perfumes out of only top notes, or middle notes, or bass notes; and sometimes that is the only way to get the effect that you seek. Adding a bit of lightly scented or complimentary musk to the blend will help these fleeting fragrances stay a bit longer, but even so they will evaporate fairly quickly leaving behind only the sweet memory of their savory impression.

*Smells a lot like neroli or orange blossom.

Coming in June to coincide with the Ancient Egyptian Collection another exciting chapter in the Quest for Kohl! Those dark ringed eyes that we all crave, that most sexy of sexy looks. The ecstasy of such smoldering eyes. How do you get that look? I embarked on my own journey last year and did find some great eyeliners but time marches on and I found out even more, including my favorite place to buy kohl (or some people call it “waterline eyeliner”). So, sign up for the blog so you don’t miss out on The Quest for Kohl!

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