Natural Perfume Basics: About Absolutes
Many “absolutes” that are available today are concoctions of synthetic chemicals and fragrances. There is no law that prevents companies from marketing their fragrances in this way. It is much more profitable to sell synthetics than to go through the expense and effort to make a real botanical product.
True modern absolutes are highly concentrated aromatic “oils” extracted from plants through a multi-step solvent method.
The process begins with extracting aromatic oils from the plant material with a chemical solvent such as hexane or benzene.
The solvent is then removed through distillation or chemical extraction. The substance left behind is a waxy substance called a concrete.
The aromatic oils are then extracted from the concrete with ethyl alcohol. After the ethyl alcohol is removed, the remaining substance is called an absolute.
Absolutes carry an aroma close to the plant from which they came. Absolutes are the most concentrated form of fragrance. Skillfully made absolutes are highly regarded in natural perfumery.
Note: Absolutes can and usually do contain traces of solvent; they are not suitable for internal use.
About Our Absolutes
Traditionally, absolutes were made using a method called “enfleurage”. This is a time consuming method where plant material–such as rose petals– is layered on top of lard (animal fat).
The fat absorbs the aromatic oils over time. Eventually the plant material is removed and replaced with fresh material. This is repeated over a period of weeks or months.
The resulting fatty aromatic substance (called pomade) can then be used as it is, as a hard perfume, or made into products for skin care and cosmetics.
Or the pomade can be alcohol extracted to create an absolute.
It is rare to find anyone making this type of absolute these days, as it is very time consuming. Yet there are still some rare individual artisans producing these traditional absolutes (in very small amounts).
We do our best to source absolutes of this old, traditional method. They are generally more costly because of the time and complexity involved in producing them. Yet they are of the highest quality known to us. We are proud and happy to offer these rare absolutes to all of our customers.
Blending with Natural Absolutes
Depending on what you are making, you can use oil or alcohol as a carrier for blending.
Alcohol is best for colognes, perfumes, and sprays. Almost all absolutes will dissolve in alcohol, although some will take time to dissolve thoroughly.
The type of alcohol that I prefer to use for this purpose is vodka. You can spend a lot on real perfumer’s alcohol, but really there is no noticeable difference in using high grade vodka as your carrier.
My favorite is a grape vodka called Ciroc. It has virtually no alcoholic aroma to interfere with the perfume, and is a wonderful carrier. I have also used Skyy vodka with great results. Skyy is filtered through quartz crystal, giving a very clean energy.
Botanical Oil Carrier
Filtered coconut oil is my favorite for blending with natural absolutes. It is thin in consistency and highly absorbable. It even works in most sprayers in case you want to use it as a perfume spray base.
Other potential carrier oils are grape seed, jojoba, and sweet almond. All of these will create a slightly oilier consistency than the filtered coconut.
Absolutes are typically so highly concentrated, that their true aroma is not evident until they are diluted. That is, the aroma is compressed, and needs to be expanded through dilution before its true aromatic nuances are evident.
A good starting place for dilution is a 50% / 50% blend (or 50% dilution) of absolute to carrier. Another option is a 35% / 65% dilution, which is still quite potent and can be used to create perfume blends and add aromas to body care products.
If you are purchasing absolutes in 1.5 ml bottles, you can empty the bottle of absolute into a 5 ml bottle, and add carrier to fill the bottle. This makes about a 35% dilution of absolute. This is one of my favorite dilutions to work with as a perfume ingredient.
If you are looking to make a single note perfume from one absolute, you can experiment with dilution rates to reach the best effect. Adding 25 drops of 35% dilution to a 5 ml bottle of carrier, is often a very nice dilution for a perfume. It is at least a good starting point.
Test the blend on your wrist to see if it is close to the strength that you are seeking. If not, add a few more drops.
Natural absolutes are often most alluring at a very soft, subtle level. Even if you think it is not strong enough, try wearing it for a day before adding more absolute to experience its true effect.
Natural Absolutes and Healing
In this day and age, it can be challenging for most people to make the connection between perfumes and healing. Our noses are constantly bombarded with chemical based “fragrances” that are added to everything from dish detergent to toilet paper to clothing to plastic products.
Marketers have made us suspicious of anything that smells real. Their synthetic aromatic imitations of strawberries consistently test “better” than the aroma of real strawberries in blind tests.
Add to this, the media is constantly insinuating that if we smell like a real person, we will be unable to get a job, a promotion, or attract a mate! We are constantly encouraged to cover natural aromas with synthetic fragrances.
No wonder most people can not tell the difference between a synthetic aroma and a real one. But there is a difference–and it goes much more than skin deep.
Once upon a time in areas of ancient Egypt, America, China, and India, people began extracting the aroma of botanical substances. These extraction processes were refined and soon became available to healers, shamans, and perfumers as absolutes.
In those ancient cultures, there was no distinction between perfume and medicine–both were considered to be healing substances. People understood that natural botanical extracts could have a healing action on the mind, emotions, and spirit of a person.
Today, it has been proven by science that the hypothalamus–also known as the reptilian brain–processes the sense of smell. It is also the seat of instinctual behavior, and emotion. It becomes very clear how aromas can have profound effects on our minds, and even create responses in our physical bodies.
The metaphysical effects of absolutes are even more profound. Aromas have spiritual aspects. They are present especially when produced consciously, in a way that supports the spiritual energy (or morphogenic fields–a scientific term that is roughly parallel), to remain intact in the absolute.
Metaphysical aspects can support change and healing through frequency and vibration. They can offer a multi-dimensional aspect to any healing process.
Wearing a perfume that vibrationally supports a chosen intention, can enhance one’s ability to integrate change. Each time a person inhales the aroma, a vibrational boost of support enters the brain and supports the new programming that is being embodied.
If the inhalation frequency is amplified with a healing affirmation, repeated when inhaled, the healing process is boosted exponentially. We can use the beautiful aroma of natural perfumes to create new patterns, alternatives, and responses to our environment. They can help us change our lives for the better.
None of our products are recognized or approved by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. This information is anecdotal, and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as medical advice. See a health care professional for medical advice.