Top, Middle and Base Notes – Cliffs Notes on Men’s Fragrance


Cologne is often a product that men really know very little about. More often than not cologne is not even bought by the guy who’s going to be wearing it…it’s bought by the significant other who wants you to smell a little bit better than Aqua Velva. So not only do we have to handle the problem of which fragrance should we be wearing, but we also have to know how to properly apply it.


Application is really quite simple you can spray a cloud and walk through it; just don’t let your poker buddies see you doing this. You can give your hair quick sprits for a longer lasting scent, or spray your chest for a similar effect. The last method is put a dab onto your wrists and the sides of your neck. Just please for the rest of us…when it comes to cologne less is often more if you know what I mean.

When describing scent and flavor lots of different terms are used to capture the true sensation of the product. We’ve all heard some of the more elaborate terms used in wine tasting or to describe liquor fragrance isn’t entirely different. To get a better understanding of fragrance we’ve asked Franco Wright, the co-founder of to explain what top, base and middle notes are and what we should be looking for in a fragrance.

Fragrance notes is a way to describe the olfactory composition of a fragrance, and is separated in three categories: Top, Middle (sometimes called Heart) and Base.

Top notes are generally what someone senses first; they are the opening ingredients to the scent and often reveal the first impression of the fragrance. From this impression, one can determine if the fragrance is floral, citrus, oriental, aquatic, woody, etc. Generally top notes will dissipate anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.

Middle notes (or Heart notes) will emerge once the top notes settle. Middle notes are the main body of the composition, and will give the overall lasting impression of the fragrance. Middle notes are more rounded and usually nose-friendly, as they consist of popular extracts like gardenia, vanilla, lavender, etc. Top notes will work in concert with the Middle notes in what creates most of the foundation for a fragrance, often referred to as the Head note.

Base notes are the foundation of a fragrance and consist of more concentrated, heavier type of ingredients such as patchouli, amber, musk, etc. They often give the fragrance lasting power and depth, and are typically not perceived until the dry-down stages of the scent application, generally 30 minutes to a hour.

Ok, now that we know what we’re talking about here there are several products out now that you should be aware of!

Hugo Boss – BOSS Selection


Top notes are green and fizzy, light with grapefruit and mandarin, yet infused with spicy pink peppercorn. Notes also of cedar wood and musk. A very light crisp scent appropriate for any event.
1.7 oz – $48.00

Heeley – Eau de Cedre


Notes of cumin, black pepper, cardamom, Moroccan cedar wood, leather and suede. A smooth masculine fragrance.
125ml – $75



Notes of California redwood, red rum, opopanax, kara-karounde from Guinea, Chinese agarwood, mahogany. A bold scent reminiscent of the Far East and the middle of the densest forest.
100ml – $82

Now the next time a girl in the elevator or at the bar tells you that you smell great you can say a little bit more just “thank you,”……you’re welcome!

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