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A Guide to Candle Fragrance Notes And How They Work

A Guide to Candle Fragrance Notes And How They Work

A Guide to Candle Fragrance Notes And How They Work

Many fragrances and scent combinations are derived from blending natural essential oils. Many scents may also be created by combining synthetic oils and natural oils, simply because nature does not provide such a scent. However, once a candle is lit these fragrance notes will often change depending on what type of wax is being used in the candle and what the candles burn time is. 

Fragrance notes are the different stages of smells that develop when burning your candle. Notes as a feature of different scents are broken up into three stages, these are:

  1. Top Notes
  2. Core Notes
  3. Base Notes

These notes are revealed during the burning of a candle but are not contained in the top, middle and bottom of your candle. 

Top Notes

This is the introductory scent revealed at the start of the candle burn. In most cases, the top note scents will be similar to the smell you discover when you are shopping for your scented candles before you have started to burn it. Top notes are usually associated with the fresh and floral fragrances that reveal themselves when you first light your candle.

Following this, the core and base notes will start to evolve as the heat of the candle intensifies, melting the wax and releasing the depth of the fragrance.

Core Notes

The core or heart notes that follow the top notes usually best awaken oriental, floral, and spicy scents. 

Base Notes

Lastly, the base notes pick up heavier woody and amber fragrances. 

The fact that many fragrances are a blend of different fragrance families makes all the scents mysterious and exciting but end up giving you a hard time classifying the blended aromas.

The fragrance subgroups are many but the fragrance families are only four, these are:


  • Floral – fresh cut flowers
  • Soft floral – Aldehydes (sweet pungent such as Vanilla) and powdery notes
  • Oriental floral – Sweet smelling blossoms and sweet spices


  • Soft oriental – incense and Amber
  • Oriental resins are herbaceous and fresh like gum leaves 
  • Woody Orientals – sandalwood and patchouli oil (like wet soil)


  • Woody – aromatic woods
  • Mossy wood – moss and amber (earthy tones)
  • Dry woody – dry wood and leathers


  • Aromatic – lavender and aromatic herbs
  • Citrus – Bergamot and spicy floral citrus oils
  • Water – seaside, marine and aquatic scents
  • Greenery – Bitter, aromatic, and musky essential oils such as Galbanum
  • Fruity – berries and fruits

Although many candles have a variety of scents from different fragrance families blended into one, the classification of which family it will belong to will be based on which element is the strongest or most dominant scent.

By way of example, our fragrance for Hydrangea & Butter Rum Keri® Luxury Soy Candle contains Butter Rum (Oriental/Woody) and Hydrangea (Floral) from two fragrance family. It is the butter rum and spice that overpowers the hydrangea which ends up classifying this as an Oriental family fragranced soy candle. 

We often blend several fragrances with notes from all aspects of the fragrance family and increase the percentage or intensity of the essential oil to enhance the aroma. Complex blends often create more depth and notes that give off an intense and superior fragrance. 

Not all essential oils are natural and certain synthetic blends may be used to create varying fragrance notes. For our own Koch & Co candles, we love to use quality and natural products to deliver the enjoyment of a great mood filled candle.

For more information on fragrances browse our other Koch Blog articles A Guide For Candle Fragrances, and our Candle Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils FAQ page.

The post A Guide to Candle Fragrance Notes And How They Work appeared first on Koch & Co Blog.

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