Frequently Asked Questions



What is an "essential oil"?

An "essential oil" is the volatile aromatic essence distilled from the roots, leaves, flowers, bark, etc of plants. The most widely used method of distillation is that of steam but several other methods are also employed such as hydrodistillation and a combination of both steam and hydrodistillation. Essential oils are generally soluble in ethanol and carrier oils.


What is an "absolute"?

An "absolute" is an aromatic essence produced by first extracting the waxes, pigments and volatile essence of a natural botanical materials using a solvent such as hexane. This produces a solid waxy or plastic mass and is called a "concrete". The "concrete" is then washed in ethanol, chilled to precipitate out the non-alcohol soluble waxes, filtered and then vacuum distilled to remove the remaining alcohol. This produces the concentrated "absolute". An "absolute" is generally a highly pigmented material that is, at room temperature, a viscous liquid, viscous grainy liquid, solid waxy mass or solid plastic mass depending on the botanical being extracted.

Absolutes are soluble in pure ethanol but vary in their solubility in carrier/fixed oils.(Some are fully soluble, other partially soluble)


What is a "CO2 extract"?

A "CO2 extract" is a natural essence created by pumping pressurized carbon dioxide into a chamber containing the botanical to be extracted. Under high pressure and low temperatures carbon dixoide acts while remaining in its gaseous state acts as a liquid and separates from the plant material its bioactive substances such as antioxidants, natural flavors, essential oils and fatty oils. Two types of CO2 extracts are generally made. "Select extracts" which focus in on the volatile/essential oil constituents of the plants(although some percentage of fatty oils also are in the select extracts) and "Total Extracts" where all extractable lipophilic constituents are extracted. The fact that the extraction occurs at low temperature produces an essence in its chemical makeup is closer to that of the extractable molecules in the raw botanical than which occurs at the higher heat which characterizes distillation of essential oils.
CO2 extracts are generally often not fully soluble in alcohol but are fully soluble in carrier/fixed oils.


What is an "attar"?

Traditional attars are produced by the hydro-distillation of one or a number of aromatic plants into a receiving vessel containing sandalwood. The sandalwood absorbs the essence of the plant/plants over a period of 10 days or more depending on the attar being made. See article on Production of Traditional Attars for more details see : http://www.whitelotusaromatics.com/newsletters/visit_to_kannauj_4_production_of_traditional_attars

Contemporary Attars are produced by macerating essential oils, absolutes and co2 extracts in sandalwood.


What is an "ruh"?

A "Ruh" is the pure essence of an aromatic plant produced by traditional techniques and equipment like that of attars.
The main difference between attars and ruhs is that in attar production the receiving vessel contains sandalwood and in making ruhs the receiving vessel contains no sandalwood. Hence a pure essential oil of the plant is produced. Only a few flowers, to my knowledge,  can be distilled for Ruhs: Jasminum auriculatum/Juhi, Jasminum sambac/ Motia, Jasminum grandiflorum/Chameli, Pandanus odoratissimus/Kewda or Keora, Rosa damascena/Gulab, and Vetiveria zizaniodes/Khus. They are generally more expensive than attars.

See article on Kewda for more detail on how "Ruh" is prepared:   http://www.whitelotusaromatics.com/newsletters/kewda


What is a "melange"?

We use melange to indicate a proprietary blend. A melange may be a blend of either natural essences (absolutes, co2 extracts, essential oils), for instance Blood Orange "Cologne" Melange or a blend of natural essential oil fractions as in the case of the Natural "Fruit" Melanges (Strawberry Natural Melange, Pineapple Natural Melange, Raspberry Natural Melange, etc.)


What is an "essential oil fraction"?

A essential oil fraction is generally produced by fractional distillation of an essential oil.  By this method various components of the oils can be "isolated" with specific aromatic qualities. Other techniques may also be used to isolate components of botanical materials (the distillation of ylang ylang which captures different components at different stages of the distillation is an instance) but fractional distillation is the most common. More and more essential oil fractions (also called isolates) are appearing on the market giving creative perfumers a greatly extended palette to work from. Essential oil fractions with specific aromatic characteristics from different essential oils can be blended together to create totally new natural essences like one finds in the Fruit Melanges.


What is a chemotype?

Chemotypes are plants that are botanically (morphologically) identical, but with distinct chemical variations. A chemotype of a plant has the basic chemical composition expected for the plant, but because of the climate, locale or other environmental factors where it has grown, also develops a strong secondary chemical characteristic.

This secondary chemical characteristic can lend a distinguishing aromatic note to the chemotype oil.  Basil (Ocimum basilicum), for instance, has a number of chemotypes (ct) -- Lemon Basil (Ocimum basilicum ct citral), Basil Cinammon (Ocimum basilicum ct methyl cinnamate), Sweet Basil, linalool-rich (Ocimum basilicum ct linalool), Sweet Basil methy-chavicol rich (Ocimum basilicum ct methy-chavicol). Read more about Chemotypes.



What is meant by "organic"?

Organic means that the aromatic crop has been grown by using  one or a number of organic gardening products including compost, green manure crops, botanical herbicides and pesticides (such as are extracted from Neem) etc.


What is meant by "wild harvest"?

Wild harvested means that the aromatic crop is gathered from nature as it grows in its native habitat without any outside assistance from human beings.


What is meant by "non-sprayed"?

Non-sprayed means that the crops have not been sprayed with chemical pesticides and herbicides but chemical fertilizers have been used.


What is meant by "conventional"?

Conventional means that the crop has been grown using chemical fertilizers and where considered necessary herbicides and pesticides.


Do you offer "certified organic" oils?

We do not offer "certified organic"  oils.



What is an MSDS?

A Material Safety Data Sheet ( MSDS) contains physical and chemical information about a natural essence along with transport regulations and safety procedures to be observed by people handling the oils in industrial settings should any accident occur.


What is a Certificate of Analysis?

A Certificate of Analysis (CofA) is a quality control document that indicates that a product falls within acceptable parameters established for that product. The CofA includes a basic description of a specific essence and other data regarding its physical, chemical and olfactory properties.



For questions regarding Ordering please see our How to Order page.  Please note, we sell wholesale only and our oils do not come with orifice reducers (dropper caps).



For questions about safety of natural essences please see our   SAFETY     page. Please note, we do not recommend taking the oils internally.