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 Lupe! We recommend starting with a 1% dilution rate and working your way up to 3% at most if you want a stronger aroma.

    1%= 6 drops of Rose oil per 1 oz of cream
    3%= 18 drops of Rose oil per 1 oz of cream

  • Lupe Osness says...

    I wish to make a body cream using Rose absolute. How much should I use with 4oz cream, as, I am very sensitive. I would like a it to be a light scent, but also therapeutic.

    Thank You,
    Lupe Osness

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Crystal! It is separated using ethanol and vacuum concentration.

  • Crystal says...

    If an absolute oil is using chemical process to extract the essential oil how is that chemical then removed from the absolute oil… or does it remain behind?

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Nicole! Yes, you can use Rose absolute

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