Scented Candle 101 – What Are Top, Middle, and Bottom Notes in Candles?
Have you ever heard anyone talk about the top, middle, and bottom notes when describing the scent of a candle before? If you love to buy scented candles from Jackpot Candles, you might have seen these terms used in the ads for our products.
If you’re not sure what the difference is or how scent layering works when it comes to Jackpot’s scented candles, you’re not alone. This guide to the layering of scents in scented candles will help you to understand how scented candles are made and to make better choices when you’re shopping for candles, so you always end up with one you love!
How Smell Works
The first thing you need to know about the layering of scents in Jackpot candles is how your nose processes scent. When you smell something like your favorite home décor candle, this triggers a neural structure in the front brain called the olfactory bulb. When scent travels through your nasal cavity, it makes its way to the olfactory bulb in your brain where olfactory receptors process different information based on what you’re sniffing to let your brain know what it smells.
When you smell a Jackpot candle your olfactory receptors are going to register three different types of scent, including:
Bottom (base) notes
This process of layering scents is how the craftspeople at Jackpot create the signature aromas that you love. Using essential oils in combination with our 100% soy wax, the different layers of scent are poured so that each time you smell your candle you have a full-on scent experience that adds up to your favorite candle!
Top notes (also called “head notes”) are the first hints of scent that you register with your sense of smell. Top notes are the first scent impression of your candle and are usually perceived as "sharp" or "fresh" smells. Examples of top notes are:
When you smell your candle more deeply, the top note remains but the impression of it fades a bit as you begin to register the stable middle and base note scent layers that will linger longer.
Middle notes (also called “heart notes”) are the stable "personality" of your candle's fragrance. These mellow scent notes will register almost immediately after the fleeting top notes fade. Middle note scents are generally:
As you burn your candle, top notes will drift as the middle notes linger while the candle is lit and subtly drift into the base notes.
Base notes are the most stable scent in your candle and tend to be the last smells to register to your nose. Base notes appear after the middle notes and are generally the scents that last throughout the burn time of a candle. Most base notes are rich, sweet, or musky. They are the basic "roundness" of any scent, like:
other earthy scents
Base notes are the most imposing on a molecular level and have the largest molecules. They evaporate out more slowly from Jackpot’s soy wax, but once they appear, they have a powerful, long-lasting effect on your space.
The important takeaway here is to have a better understanding of what to expect from your Jackpot candle when you read the product description. Trying new scents can be fun, but at Jackpot Candles we hope that you’ll love every candle you buy and that this guide to top, middle, and base notes will help. Happy shopping!
(Recipe credits: New York Times’ Classic Hot Chocolate recipe by Melissa Clark; Shaken Together’s French Vanilla Hot Cocoa recipe by Melissa Riker; Tasty’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate recipe by Ellie Holland; Well Plated’s French Hot Chocolate recipe by Erin Clarke)
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