Many of the most fragrant flowers must be made into an absolute to achieve a natural fragrance for perfume and aromatherapy. Neroli Orange flower, jasmine, rose and osmanthus are a few examples of absolutes. The flowers are collected fresh and bathed in an alcohol or hexane solution in a sealed container. The essential oils are dissolved by the solvent circulated over the
flowers.The process yields a semisolid, waxy material called a concrete. Concretes are often used as base notes in aromatherapy and perfumery. They have a scent and texture that reminds me of the plant and a staying power that makes them an excellent choice as a low, or base note, which holds the aromas' fragrance for hours and even days. Concretes leave a residue when diluted into an aroma blend that can be filtered out. It is a waxy substance which contains scent.The aroma is very true to the plant and has a subtle different scent than an absolute. Resins and Balsams, vanilla, oakmoss,Peru Balsam and many others are also extracted by this process.
An absolute is created by rendering the waxy, semisolid materials from a concrete. This produces a very concentrated liquid that is completely soluble in alcohol. It is a refined product that is exquisitely fragrant and ready to use in a perfume, or as a perfume by itself. Absolutes are often very expensive, but worth the results. The fragrance of Jasmine grandiflora or Bitter orange absolutes will produce an aromatic pleasure never before experienced.The smell is better than any perfume I have ever sampled from the most exotic perfumers all over the world. It can take 1000 pounds of fresh flowers to make 3 pounds of an absolute. They are sure to take you to places in your consciousness you have never penetrated previously. Their intensity is many times more apparent than essential oils that are steam distilled. In a perfume or aromatherapy product, absolutes and concretes have a much longer staying time.
Essential oils lift quickly by their nature of volatility. They can be combined with concretes and absolutes in aromatic products, especially as high, or top notes. These are the first aromas apparent as an aromatherapy or perfume product is opened. The scent doesn't last long. This alluring scent gets us interested and ready for the heart of the blend, which can last for hours. The base, or low aromas, hold down the scent of the entire blend and allows it to smell for hours and even days.
In aromatherapy and perfumery, we always begin with low note aromas and build the heart and then high, more volatile scents to complete a transformation of scent that is healing and specific for your body chemistry. It's like building a pyramid of scent that all starts with concretes and resinous essential oil products and ends with high intensity , fragrant absolutes and steam distilled essential oils. The results are worth every bit of the experience!