You are probably well-versed on the benefits of using essential oils in your products, and you may even know a thing or two about extracts and floral waters. Are you familiar yet with the role of carefully extracted absolutes to develop high quality fragrances? Absolutes play an important role in the fragrance industry, so it is important for your product formulas to take advantage of everything they have to offer.
Standard essential oils like Peppermint or Tea Tree are most commonly extracted through a process called steam distillation. This process of distillation involves suspending the freshly picked plant parts over boiling water so that the steam can pull the plant’s oils right out. As the steam rises it is captured in a large vessel that pushes it along through tubing and catches the oil, which can be separated as the water cools.
However, a number of flowers are too delicate to endure the process of distillation. When fragile flowers like Rose, Lily, Jasmine, and Lotus are placed through distillation, the intense heat damages the petals and ultimately ruins the oils. In order to capture the full fragrance and benefits of the plant, the oils of these flowers must be extracted differently. These are known as absolute oils.
Plants parts like honeysuckle flowers are destined to become absolute oils because they cannot survive the heat of steam distillation. These plant parts are placed into a drum with a solvent like hexane or toluene. The solvent and plant parts sit together over the span of a few days. Once the solvent is removed, a waxy, viscous, fragrant “concrete” remains. Ethyl alcohol is then used to dissolve the concrete and extract the waxy plant residue from the fragrant oil tincture. Once the alcohol is removed, only the absolute oil remains.
Absolute oils are not quite as pure as essential oils or CO2 oils since they are likely to contain trace amounts of wax, pigments, solvents, and ethyl alcohol, but they offer the most potent and concentrated form of natural fragrance. This is exactly why high quality absolute oils offer such value in natural perfumery. In fact, most high-end perfumes contain different absolutes like Jasmine and Vanilla. Thanks to modern technology, the residue levels are so diluted- down to parts per trillion! That high quality absolutes are so close to pure that they create excellent fragrance products.
Aromatic Ingredients serves all of Australia and beyond with wholesale and bulk distribution of high quality absolutes, technical expertise, and close relationships with producers and distillers. We are committed to helping you obtain and utilise the absolutes you need to create perfumes, lotions, soaps, and other popular consumer products. With increasing consumer interest in natural formulations for the flavour, fragrance and cosmetic industry, ingredients like absolutes are increasingly popular. We have product solutions for use in many different categories. Call us at 03 9702 3698 to learn more.