Dear EG- What's the difference between absolutes and Essential Oils?

If you’ve been apart of the aromatherapy world, you have likely seen the term absolute circulating, and perhaps already have a firm understanding of what this term means. However, for those of you who are unsure about what an absolute is or how they differ from an essential oil, Edens Garden hopes to increase your comprehension on the subject and help you along on your aromatherapy journey.

The difference between absolutes and essential oils is the method of obtaining the oil. Absolutes are obtained through solvent extraction. A solvent can be a chemical or alcohol. In solvent extraction, a solvent is combined with plant material. The solvent attracts the oil from the plant material, and the solvent and oil are then separated.

Solvent extraction is used on plant material that is more delicate and not easily distilled. An example being Jasmine. When Jasmine is steam distilled, very little oil is produced and the oil does not have as nice of an aroma as solvent extracted Jasmine.

Another example is Rose. Steam distilled Rose essential oil (also known as Rose Otto) has a very different aroma than Rose absolute, and is not as desirable in perfumery as Rose absolute is. Rose absolute is very high in a constituent called phenylethyl alcohol (PEA) which separates from the oil when steam distilled. PEA contributes in large part to Rose’s classic flowery aroma.

The method in which an oil is obtained can greatly affect the outcome of an oil, and this is how absolutes and essential oils differ.

Have a question for EG? Ask us in the comments section below!


These comments were contributed by customers without influence from Edens Garden. The opinions expressed in these comments are 100% the authors' own and do not reflect the views or opinions of Edens Garden.

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi José! Edens Garden Peru Balsam is actually steam distilled from the resin.

  • José says...

    I wonder how is obtained de Peru Balsam Absolute as it has a very strong odor fixing capacity so the odor of the solvent will remain in the Aboslute.
    Thank you,

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Teresa! Jasmine almost never comes in the form of a distilled essential oil, because when distilled its aroma is ruined and becomes quite bad. The company you purchased Jasmine essential oil from either is mislabeling their product or is offering a fragrance oil. You may want to ask them this.

    Absolutes can be used in Ultrasonic Diffusers, but not in Nebulizers, like our Thera Lux Nebulizing Diffuser because absolutes are thicker and will get clogged in the tubing.

    Lastly, to get the most out of your Jasmine essential oil as a fragrance, try diluting it in grain alcohol and using it as a perfume. This will ensure a longer lasting aroma.

  • Teresa Riley says...

    Can the absolutes be used in a essenential oil diffuser ? Cold air? I bought a Jasmine absolute oil recently , expecting it to be alot stronger than the regular essential oil. . To my surprise, its not. Its very light and when worn as a perfume after diluting it in jojoba oil, it faded completely within a few hours and i couldnt even tell i had put anything on. Thinking it sould be better served as an aromatherapy if possible..☹️

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Lobus! Yes, depending on the diffuser you’re using, all of our essential oils and synergy blends may be diffused.

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