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The 45 most commonly used ingredients in perfumery

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The 45 most commonly used ingredients in perfumery

Our promise at House of Formulas is that we only use ingredients of the highest possible quality for your tailored perfume. In order to understand how perfumes compare, you need to know which ingredients there are, what they smell like and where they originate from. These are the 45 most commonly used ingredients in perfumery, and give you a good overall understanding of how the magical craft of perfumery works.

Aldehyde C12 Lauric

A synthetic top note that increases the "power" of a fragrance and lifts the smell of floral and spicy notes. 

Aldehyde C14

This fruity heart note makes you think of apricot and nectarine blossom or the wax of a candle. It's a fruity ingredient that is associated with more recent perfumes.

Aldehyde C16

A synthetic fruity top note that mimics the smell of strawberries and other red fruits. 

Allyl Amyl Glycolate

A fruity, exotic top note that reminds you of the smell of pineapple. This ingredients blends a perfect cocktail with mango and passion fruits and gives you the real summer vibe.


A great imitation of amber wood and has the exact same musky, woody, spicy and leathery characteristics. It is a base note that blends well with oriental and floral fragrances.


This aromatic, anis like, top note is masculine and fresh. 


A citrusy top note that originates from citrus fruit that is mostly grown in Italy. This note smells like lavender, spices and woods. It is a fresh ingredient that will make you think of earl grey.


An aquatic heart note that will remind you of a fresh, salty ocean breeze. This iconic fresh scent will feel very familiar as it is used in fresh and airy fragrances like Acqua di Gio and Davidoff Cool Water. Since the discovery of this molecule in 1966, it has taken a very prominent place in the perfumery landscape. 


This spicy heart note that is fruity and citrusy has a strong smell with leathery and balsamic accents. 


A leathery, dry woody base note that will remind you of pencil shaving. The smell can differ depending on its origin. The Virginia extract is most commonly used in perfumery. 


A spicy heart note with traces of leather and woods. Cinnamon is a classic spicy ingredient that gives a warm note to the perfume. 


This is a green top note that smells exactly like freshly cut grass. This iconic molecule is very common for vegetal, leaf and grassy perfumes. 


Already in 1860 they discovered this almond or marzipan ingredient that is hidden in the tonka bean. For over 150 years this ingredient has been used in "Fougere" fragrances as a base note.


Masculine "Fougere" fragrances are very likely to have this aromatic top note ingredient included in their formulas. The fresh and clean, ozon like smell makes it perfectly suited for shower gels, deodorants and other personal care products.

Ethyl Linalool

This floral heart note resembles aromatic lavender, spicy coriander and citrusy bergamot. 


An aquatic heart note that contains floral ingredients without being too salty. 


This musky base note is not too strong but very long-lasting. For this reason, it is a universally used ingredient that is easy to use due to its soft, creamy, cotton like characteristics. 


This actually is a component of the rose, and is a synthetic heart note that fresh and a bit spicy.


A floral heart note that is known as a masculine rose note. As this ingredient is extracted from the leaves, it has green and aromatic accents.


This floral heart note has first been synthesised in 1962, and reminds you of jasmine tea. It smells very lightly like lemon and fresh flowers and is used in airy scents. 

Ionone alpha

The smell of sweet, ambery woods is represented in this powdery heart note. A flowery twist is common when combined with rose and iris. It belongs to a family of ingredients that is often associated with vintage cosmetics and the smell of talcum poweder.

Iso E Super

A woody base note that causes a comforting softness with its spicy yet fresh pine cut wood. No wonder it is often associated with the smell of a warm sauna.


This spicy, exotic, fruity, floral heart note is one of the most common used flowers in perfumery and smells like a blooming flower.


An amber base note that has a very balsamic and animalistic smell.


Closely related to lavender, but a more fresh, aromatic, herbaceous, minty and sweet ingredient. 


A more sharp, lively, fresh, green citrus top note that gives a kick to the perfume.


A synthetic ingredient that will give an airy, fresh and subtle floral or cotton like odour to the perfume. 

Mandarin Oil

This fruity, candy like citrus top note is the fruitiest citrus you can get.


The sweet smell of candy and sugar but leathery due to its "burnt" character. This base note is a great substitute for vannilin.


Neroli is a very common floral heart note that is obtained after the distillation of orange blossom. It is citrusy, green and sweet.


A more sweet and juicy citrus note. 


This icon was born in the 70's and is still going strong. This mossy base note smells like dry moss, tobacco and cacao. In perfumery, it is referred to as "Chypre" and it is extracted from the leaves of an Indonesian shrub. It is oriental, yet deep dark and sensual and blends perfectly with vanilla.


You know this one. It smells perfectly fresh and clean and makes your toothpaste smell like toothpaste. It is an uplifting, masculine and recognisable aromatic top note.


Another citrus top note, but more bitter as it is extracted from the leaves of an orange tree. 

Pink Peppercorn

A spicy top note that brings freshness and fruitiness to the fragrance. It is a great ingredient to spicy up a floral perfume. 


This woody base note is the synthetic substitute for sandalwood. It is just as woody, spicy and creamy and blend perfectly with floral, spicy and leathery notes.


A fruity heart note that will make you think of the smell of a coconut. This ingredient is used in suncream to give it the holiday and beach vibe. 


Everyone loves the smell of Rose. This widely used floral heart note is the queen of all flowers and smells green, sweet, fruity, woody and spicy. 


This aromatic top note has a masculine character and is herbaceous, minty and green.


A green top note that smells like tomato leaves and has a fruity accent. 


This synthetic green top note smells fresh like cucumber, water and leaves. 


We are sure you love this one. This base notes reminds you of ice cream and white chocolate. Vanillin if not exactly the same as the natural extract vanilla, but is even more clean and milky sweet. 


A woody base note that smells like leather, smoke and walnut. It is extracted from a root and combines very well with spicy and citrus notes.

Ylang Ylang

A floral heart note that is known as the "jasmine of the poor". It is spicy and exotic and is commonly used in suntan cream to use on the beach.