The middle notes, otherwise known as the heart notes or cœur, of a fragrance, are the scents of the perfume that arise just as the top notes are beginning to wane. The middle notes comprise the majority of the body, also known as the “heart”, which explains why middle notes are often dubbed heart notes. They begin to develop and promulgate in the middle of a fragrance’s half-life, and rear themselves to establish the intended theme the fragrance was designed to emulate. They are also utilized as a way to mitigate the initial unpleasant aroma the base notes are responsible for, which need time to develop and blend with the middle notes, in order to eventually cement the body of the fragrance. The scent of the base notes are typically mellow, smooth, full, and complete. The heart is often comprised of smooth, floral, or fruity aromas, and are often coupled with the scents of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Middle notes can begin to appear in anywhere from a mere couple of minutes, to upwards of an hour.
Rose is by far the most popular source for middle notes, as they provide balance and stability to compositions, but also blend well with almost every kind of aroma. Other common middle notes include ylang-ylang, lavender, neroli, and jasmine.