A first impression is an attraction that taps into your instincts. It helps you decide if you want to dig deeper and find out more. In perfumery, the fleck of spice, floral, or citrus that hits your nose on your first inhale is critical. If what you sense is enticing, you’re hooked; but if it’s too strong, you’re immediately turned off. For a perfume maker, the stakes are high.
A complex perfume is a variety of competing scents. The first impression comes from the top note: that is the scent that reveals itself first. But the top note is also the first to fade, making way to the middle and base notes that define the perfume. When designing a fragrance, the citrus family of oils is a great place to turn for a top note. A few drops of tart, zesty citrus can pull together families of green, floral, woody, and spicy cents, and can lighten up an otherwise overwhelming complexity of deeper and lower notes.