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Absolutes, Attars and Resin .. Oh My!
In the fragrance industry we hear terms used constantly but are not quite sure of what the heck they mean. Absolutes, attars and resins are actually some of the most important ingredients in a perfume solution. They are the first stages of the process taken when making perfumes.
What is an absolute? When oils are extracted from the plants, flowers or barks they go through different processes to obtain the oil. Absolutes are derived from a solvent extraction process. The advantage that an absolute has over an essential oil is that there has been no heat used, thereby giving the fragrance a truer smell of the original flower.
Undiluted absolutes are extremely concentrated and donít often smell so great until they are diluted.
Fragrances like honeysuckle and gardenia must be created through solvent extraction or mimicry-which is the blending of various fragrance oils to create an illusion of a desired fragrance.
Perfumes made from high-quality absolutes contain virtually no solvent, thereby allowing people with fragrance sensitivities to tolerate them.
What are attars? True attars are perfume oils made from flower petals and distilled in water using low heat and pressure. Some attars contain exotic woods and spices.
Sandalwood is one of those attars. A sandalwood based attar is created when the steam containing the essential oil is collected into a container of mild sandalwood oil. Over the course of weeks the sandalwood oil is completely saturated with the fragrance of the flowers.
In the art of perfumery, this is pure alchemy at work. The sandalwood is used as a base or fixative and binds with the molecules of the essential oil, thereby allowing the subtleties to develop and last longer. Like a fine wine, a true sandalwood based attar, improves with age.
What is a resin? We know them as crystallized formations used in incense making. Frankincense, myrrh and my favorite, amber are three of the most popular resins known to the common nose.
Long used in incense making these beauties create some of the most luxurious scents to date. Often found burning in churches or on altars to clear the energy field and air of an environment. What do the Catholic priest know that they arenít sharing with the masses? Imagine how many negative energies they experience coming in for confession and prayer.
When found in their crystal forms, frankincense, myrrh and amber can be burned on top of a charcol round and used to smudge and cleanse your environment. The process leaves a very clean and light feel to your space.
So whether itís absolute, attars or resins, these beauties are the foundation of some of our most precious natural and mass produced perfumes and incense.
Life Never Smelled So Sweet!
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