What are top, middle, and base notes in fragrances?

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Top notes provide the first scent impression of a fragrance once it has been applied to the skin. They are usually lighter, more volatile aromas that evaporate readily. Their scent usually lingers for between 5 and 30 minutes.

Middle notes, sometimes referred to as "heart notes", make up the body of the blend. They may be evident from the start, but will usually take 10 to 30 minutes to fully develop on the skin. They are the notes that classify the fragrance family (floral, oriental, chypre, etc)

Base notes are those with the greatest molecular weight. They last the longest, and are also important as fixatives, that is, they help slow down the evaporation rates of the lighter notes, giving the fragrance holding power. Common base notes include oakmoss, patchouli, woods, musk, and vanilla.
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