Top, Middle & Base Note Essential Oils with Blending Chart

Did you know that essential oils are categorized as having top, middle and base notes? Their note classification helps us understand how volatile each oil is so we can choose the right oils to create a blend that is harmonious, well balanced and lingers for hours (or even days)!

bottles of essential oils with dried flowers on table.

When I first started experimenting with creating my own unique essential oil blends, I realized that a lot did NOT work. They either did not smell good or I was not able to smell some of the oils I added. A TOTAL waste. And I hated wasting oils because they are not cheap.

Once I learned about the different oil notes, I was able to create my own DIY oil blends that worked SO well together with less wasted oils!

Get ready to put your limbic system to work!

How are essential oil “notes” useful?

A chemist named George William Septimus Piesse invented the concept of “notes” in perfumery which are stilled used today. Because essential oils are made up of numerous different compounds, they have different evaporation rates. This means that some oils will evaporate faster than others.

Why is this important?

Well if you want to create your own essential oil blends, you want to create one with the best “synergy” so that the fragrance lasts as long as possible. Otherwise you will be wasting your money.

I put together a list of the more popular essential oils below. They are each categorized alphabetically based on their note classification. Keep in mind that some of the oils below can be considered two notes.

essential oils in clear bottles of different notes.

Top Note Essential Oils List

Top note oils are the most “volatile” meaning they evaporate the quickest!

They also happen to have anti-viral properties. They are usually light aromas that are uplifting and are usually the least expensive.

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Balsam
  • Bay Laurel
  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Clary Sage
  • Coriander
  • Eucalyptus
  • Grapefruit
  • Hyssop
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Neroli
  • Niaouli
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Rosewood
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Tangerine
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Verbena

Middle Note Essential Oils (Body)

Middle note oils, also known as “heart notes”, are like the middle-man who helps the top oils and base oils come together nicely. They make up a majority of the oils. They last longer than top notes but not as long as base notes. They are typically extracted from spices and herbs.

  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Clary Sage
  • Clove
  • Cypress
  • Fennel
  • Geranium
  • Helichrysum
  • Ho Wood
  • Hyssop
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Melissa
  • Myrtle
  • Nutmeg
  • Parsley
  • Pine
  • Rosemary
  • Rosewood
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Violet leaf
  • Yarrow
  • Ylang Ylang

Base Note Essential Oils (Fixative)

Base note oils create the full body of the fragrance. They are heavier oils which evaporate the slowest. They are usually more expensive and are extracted from trees, bark or roots. Base note oils are meant to ground you and provide a lasting impression.

  • Balsam Peru
  • Cassia
  • Cedarwood
  • Cinnamon
  • Copaiba
  • Frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Jasmine
  • Myrrh
  • Oakmoss
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Rose
  • Rosewood
  • Sandalwood
  • Turmeric
  • Valerian
  • Vanilla
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang

Balancing your notes is key! Check out my recommended ratio below for how many drops to use of each note.

Balancing And Blending Oil Notes PDF

Infographic list PDF printable of essential oil top, middle and base notes.

If you are reading this because you want some help creating your own oil blends that “work”, here are some things to keep in mind before blending your oils:

  • What is the note of each oil?
  • What are the aroma profiles of each oil?
  • What’s the purpose of each individual oil in your blend?
  • What is the blend going to be used for?
  • Will the oils will be exposed to sunlight?
  • Does the oil contains esters?

A popular blending ratio is 3:5:2 which is 3 parts top note oils, 5 parts middle note oils and 2 parts base note oils.

How To Blend Notes

Blending does not need to be complicated. Just make sure not to overpower your blend! Since we all prefer different scents, there is no one scent that everyone will love. Mix and match until you get an aromatic blend that pleases your nose!

It is also recommended to use less top note/middle note oils than base note oils. Choosing a woody base note, a floral middle note and a citrusy top note will result in the most successful blends. Ideally you want to aim for 2 top note oils, 2 middle note oils and 1 base note oil. which is five total oils.

A popular blending ratio is 3:5:2 which is 3 parts top note oils, 5 parts middle note oils and 2 parts base note oils. You should not need more than six different essential oils in one blend. Sometimes just two oil blends are the best!

Some of the most popular top note oils:

Eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, sweet orange, lavender, pink grapefruit, basil, bergamot, and clary sage.

Some of the more popular middle note oils are:

Roman chamomile, geranium, lavender and rosemary, black pepper, eucalyptus, rose absolute, ylang ylang, tea tree, clove, and cinnamon.

Popular base note oils are:

Cedarwood, jasmine, patchouli, myrrh, frankincense, vetiver, and vanilla oleoresin.

How To Start Blending

There is no right or wrong way to start testing different notes together. First determine what scents you already like. What candles have you purchased in the past that drew you in? Were they nature-inspired? Flowery? Crisp? Citrusy? Spicy? Start with those oils.

Then, add a few drops of a different note to the strip and inhale deeply. Add another drop of another note and repeat.

If you want a long-lasting oil blend, allow your strip to sit a while (15-60 minutes) before coming back to smell it. Does it still have an aroma or have all the oils evaporated off?

If you don’t smell much of a fragrance, maybe you add another oil that is longer- lasting.

white essential oil bottle with flowers in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you mix essential oil notes?

You need to be able to balance out the notes so that the aroma lasts as long as possible. A popular blending ratio is 3:5:2 which is 3 parts top note oils, 5 parts middle note oils and 2 parts base note oils.

What’s the best way to apply essential oil blends?

The best way is subjective. Each person has different methods of using essential oils. The idea is to inhale them through your nose so they reach the olfactory nerve. Another way is to use a diffuser, you can also apply topically or (directly to your skin), or you can ingest them but this method has many skeptics because of safety concerns. Make sure to use a carrier oil too.

Final Notes on “Notes”

Don’t let this overwhelm or intimidate you! It is just a recommendation and should be simply looked at as a recipe guide. My suggestion is to start with a 1:1:1 ratio. Use a perfume testing strip or cotton ball to add your blend to it after you add each drop and take a whiff. Add more of what you think it needs. Have fun with your oils and don’t forget to write down everything! 🙂

What to read next!

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