Your choice of 201 Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Absolute Oils
Although many people are familiar with essential oils, far fewer are aware of the existence of absolute oils. Similar to essential oils, absolute oils are concentrated aromatic oils. Some flowers are too delicate for steam distillation, which damages them a great deal, and so their oils are more effectively extracted using a process known as enfleurage. Absolute oils are usually more concentrated than essential oils, and since they are created in a low temperature process, more of the fragrance is preserved. This means that the scent of an absolute oil is often more similar to the aroma of the original plant.
Used in perfumery and aromatherapy, absolutes are similar to essential oils. They are concentrated, highly aromatic, oily mixtures extracted from plants. Whereas essential oils can typically be produced through steam distillation, absolutes require the use of solvent extraction techniques or more traditionally, through enfleurage. Absolutes are usually more concentrated than essential oils. Also, the efficiency and low temperature of the extraction process helps prevent damage to the fragrant compounds. With a good understanding of the solvent they are using, extractors can produce absolutes with aromas closer to the original plant product than is possible with essential oils produced through distillation. Absolutes are used extensively in perfumery because the aromatic compounds in absolutes have not undergone processes involving high temperatures. This makes them often smell fresher.