How to Use Single Note Fragrances to Create Custom Blends

What is a single note fragrance?

Many fragrance oils are complex and multi-layered, with unique top, middle and bottom notes that round them out. However, there are also a number of single-note fragrances that feature only one scent. If you’ve ever come across fragrances like Lemon, Amber or Orange, you might have used single note fragrances without realizing it.

When there are so many multi-note fragrances to choose from, single-note scents might seem a little boring by comparison. However, these fragrances are ideal for a number of purposes. Not only do they smell great on their own, they’re also perfect for creating your own custom fragrance blends.

Read More: 12 Free Scent Blending Recipes for Summer

What are fragrance notes?

Before going further, it’ll help to talk about what a “fragrance note” is in the first place. It’s impossible to venture into the world of fragrances without hearing this term at least once. A fragrance note is simply what you sense when smelling a fragrance.

Most fragrance oil blends feature a number of different notes. The notes you sense immediately are usually referred to as top notes. Citrus, herbs and light fruity scents are common top notes. Top notes tend to be lighter oils with smaller molecules, and as such, they tend to fade away faster.

The next part of a fragrance you sense is called the middle note or heart note. Whereas ideal top notes are often zestier or sharper, middle notes are usually meant to be softer and warmer. A top note draws you in to a fragrance, while the middle note makes you want to stay there. Many middle notes are floral, fruity, spicy or herbal. Rose, Chocolate, Pear and Rain are a few common middle notes. 

Lastly, we have bottom notes or base notes. These notes are the ones you smell last, and because they are heavier oils with larger molecules, they also stick around the longest. Bottom notes tend to be warm, sometimes woodsy scents. Vanilla, Musk, Amber and Sandalwood are some of the more common base notes. No matter what they are, these notes take the stage once the top and middle notes have started to dissipate.

chart showing fragrance top notes, middle notes and base notes

What makes something a top, middle or bottom note?

It really depends on the type of fragrance as well as the amount of it used in a blend. For example, citrusy scents are almost always used as top notes because they’re usually the first thing you sense when smelling a fragrance, regardless of how much citrus scent is actually used in the blend.

For an ideal blend, it’s important to think about ratios. Top notes and bottom notes account for only a small portion of a fragrance oil blend, while middle notes usually make up the largest portion. A middle note often accounts for up to 80 percent of a fragrance oil blend. Base notes generally only make up 20 percent or less of a blend. Specific blending recipes will vary, but a typical ratio might be 2 parts top note, 5 parts middle note and 1 part base note.

TIP: While you can blend using any ratio you want, you might not get the results you’re looking for if you go too heavy on the top or bottom note. For example, using a base note as 80 percent of your mix is usually off-putting and overpowering due to how strong and heavy these scents can be. Using too much of a top or bottom note will usually make your blends smell “off” or simply fall flat.

What single note fragrances are there?

Now that you know how top, middle and bottom notes interact, you might be excited to start making your own custom blends. There are numerous different types of single note fragrances to play around with. Some blends include just top and middle notes, while others incorporate top, middle and bottom. The possibilities are pretty endless.

You Might Also Like: 12 Things You Can Do with Just 1 oz of Fragrance Oil

We carry more than 40 single-note fragrances. You can browse all our single note fragrances in our fragrance creator collection or refer to this table, which we’ve organized by top, middle and bottom note:

Top Notes

Middle Notes

Bottom Notes






Balsam Pine












Tonka Bean

Pink Grapefruit








Dark Fruit


Clean Floral



Green Floral






Rose Water








Sweet Floral



Water Floral




How to Use Single Note Fragrances

There’s no rule against using a single-note fragrance by itself. If you want a candle that smells like Vanilla and nothing else, go for it! Single-note fragrances often smell amazing all on their own.

There’s also endless fun in exploring your own blends. Once you understand the basics of using single note fragrances, it’s easy to craft your own custom fragrances. However, it can feel intimidating to get started. We put together this post with a ton of easy recipes for you to try out.

Whether you’re blending an ounce or a pound, it’s important to keep your ratios in mind. For small batches, using a pipette dropper is the easiest way to measure fragrances. With a pipette, you can measure by drops to get the perfect ratio.

If you’re making a larger quantity of fragrance, the best way to measure is by weight, not volume. This is because fragrance oils have different densities. A digital scale makes everything easier when you’re working with larger quantities.

When it comes to blending fragrances, there’s really no way to go wrong. Besides, mistakes might just lead to an amazing fragrance you never would have thought of! Whatever you do, just be sure to jot down some notes so you can remember the ratios needed to recreate your favorite blends.

Do you blend your own fragrances? We’d love to hear about your process and tips in the comments!  

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.