Also known as head notes or tete (French), top notes are the immediate aromas that are evident right after the fragrance has been applied or dispersed. They usually light and compact on the molecular level, and evaporate fairly quickly. The basis of the top note is to provide an initial impression of what the fragrance stands for, and what it wishes to embody. As a result, it plays a crucial part in perfumery, as it can often make or break a possible purchase. This is why top notes are usually fresh, noticeable, plucky, and full of vigor. The compounds that are used as top notes must be volatile — quick evaporation is a must — and must be strong in aroma, although not confronting. Common extracts are those from the citrus family, although spicier tones are also commonly used, like those descending from ginger.
It contributes more to the selling of the product than it does to the overall body of the fragrance, although it is necessary to have a greeting aroma that intends to introduce you to the experience ahead, regardless of whether or not it’s supposed to act as a tool for selling. It is also imperative that the top note make a smooth and seamless transition into the heart — a handing of the baton.