What is an Absolute?
Absolutes are fragrant oils that are extracted from flowers and plant materials using the solvent method of extraction. The aromatic oils are highly concentrated even more so than with regular essential oils.
Because they are so concentrated you use half to a quarter as much of an absolute as you would of an essential oil This means that the bottle of fragrance will last a lot longer and be less expensive over time even though they are more expensive than regular essential oils.
The shelf life of an Absolute is longer than that of an essential oil. They will typically store for about 3 to 4 years when done correctly. This means storing away from light, heat, temperature variations, in tightly sealed amber or dark blue glass bottles.
Absolutes should never be taken internally due to their higher concentrations of components and need to be used with respect. Another reason is due to the fact that chemicals and solvents are used for their extraction. There are arguments over chemical residues remaining and their quantities.
How are Absolutes used?
Absolutes may be used in the same manner you would essential oils but the quantity needed is reduced greatly. If you are using an absolute for a recipe that calls for an essential oil then reduce the amount down to a quarter of that amount stated in the recipe.
If you ever smell an absolute straight from the bottle you probably will surmise it does not smell anything like the plant it originated from. This is only due in part to the higher concentration of fragrance molecules. Once properly diluted back down to the proper ratio the fragrance will smell true and correct. Lavender absolutes may be used to refresh potpourri that has lost its scent.
Where can I purchase Absolutes?
Absolutes may be purchased where ever quality essential oils are sold. You may also purchase them online directly from the producer cutting out the middle man. This means fresher product and more reasonable cost. A large variety of plant extracts come in absolute form and some are hard to find except for online shopping.