ABSOLUTES VERSUS ESSENTIAL OILS
What’s the difference between an essential oil and absolute, besides the price tag? Essential oils are created by steam distillation, a fairly straightforward procedure. However, because of the delicate nature of many flowers (including lily, gardenia, jasmine, jonquil, mimosa, rose and tuberose, as well as others), steam distillation cannot be used for extraction purposes because the intense heat destroys the flowers. They are extracted using solvents instead, without heat. These oils are called absolutes. These aromatic oils are highly concentrated, even more so than essential oils. Their high concentration means they are often sought-after for perfume-making. They are technically not considered to be essential oils, though they still have therapeutic properties. The method to extract absolutes is more long-winded, the solvents are expensive, and the end product is more concentrated, hence the higher price tag. However, absolutes are often sold diluted in a carrier oil to make them more affordable.