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Absolute Monographs 3

Absolute Monographs      Patchouli - Rose

Patchouli Absolute
Patchouli absolute is extracted from the dried, slightly fermented leaves of the herb Pogostemon cablin which is thought to have originated in India and gradually spread to surrounding countries such as Philippines, Indonesia, Madagascar, etc Today the main center of production is Indonesia with China and India beginning to exert their influence on the market.

Patchouli absolute is a dark green viscous liquid displaying a delicate, rich, sweet herbaceous/fruity bouquet with none of the musty notes often found in distilled oils that have been improperly distilled or the leaves improperly cured. The undertone is sweet/woody balsamic with an delicate licorice note.

In natural perfumery it finds extensive use especially in Oriental bases, woody bases, fougeres, chypres, etc. Would be a fine constituent of a historical perfume to portray the era when the leaves were layered in woolen shawls to give them a distinct perfume and also as a geographical perfume to help capture the aromatic essence of the Indonesian archipelago.

Blends well with labdanum abs, vetiver co2 and eo, oakmoss abs, cedarwood eo, orris root co2 and absolute, hay abs, flouve eo and abs, tonka bean abs, geranium eo and abs, lavender abs and eo, bergamot eo, clove bud abs and eo, pine needle abs and eo, sage clary abs and eo, cinnamon co2 and eo, myrrh co2 and eo, etc.

"The ladies, too, surrounded him like a garland of flowers, and spread as it were a cloud of a thousand perfumes over him: the one was scented like a rose, another like a violet, a third was strongly perfumed with patchouli.."
--from Home Life in Russia
By Nikola Gogol


Pine Needle Absolute
Pine Needle Absolute is extracted from the needles of the coniferous tree, Pinus sylvestris which grows extensively throughout the central and south Europe, Russia, the Baltic States etc. Main extraction takes place in France.

The absolute is a sticky dark green plastic mass at room temperature that becomes a pourable liquid with gentle heating and then mixes very well with other carrier oils etc. The absolute reveals an elegant rich, warm, fresh green resinous-balsamic aroma with a slightly sweet fruity undertone having good tenacity. Compared to the essential oil the absolute possess far greater olfactory depth and has fine fixative qualities.

In perfumery it can be used to great effect in forest fragrances, holiday perfumes, leather bases, etc. It would be a great addition to an aromatic creation meant to capture the spirit of indigenous cultures that have lived close to nature in sylvan surroundings. It could also be use in a number of sacred perfumes as its aroma immediately awakens in the heart a sense of well-being and serenity.

Blends well with all coniferous essential oils lending depth, beauty and tenacity to them. All blends well with other coniferous absolutes such as Blue Hemlock Spruce, White Cedarwood and Fir Balsam Absolute. Also is excellent with citrus oils such as Yuzu, Bergamot, Lime and Orange; lavender abs and eo, labdanum abs, hay abs, hop co2 and eo, galbanum abs and eo, coriander eo and co2, nagarmotha co2 and eo, lavindin abs and eo.

"As they climbed the hill that led to the wood the scent of the pines stole down to them in little fragrant whiffs. At the top of the hill it greeted them with a great generous rush of fragrance.
'Oh, you dear pines, you never stint one! You are always eager to give all your scented freshness.' She turned smiling eyes on him. 'I think I shall have a hyro--a pine hydro--in the very middle of a great pine wood, and all the patients who come to me, tired, nerve-ridden, weary, listless, I'll send off to my hydro, to live in the scent of the pines; not just to go out and walk in it, as they do at Bournemouth, and places like that, but to have it always--all day and night too--to be always drinking it in. There should be no treatment; just a rational, healthy system, and always the scent of the pines surrounding the patients. Of course people say they are sad,' her eyes looked wistfully into the darkness of the pines, ' but it is a soft sadness--a restful sadness--and their scent isn't sad! Oh it's a glorious scent!' "
--from Helen Alliston
by Mary Westrup

Pine needle

Rosa bourbonia/Edward Rose
Rosa bourbonia absolute is to my knowledge only extracted in India most of which comes from South India in the state of Tamil Nadu. The deciduous shrub is also grown extensively in Rajasthan but its main use is for the production of attar, gulkand and rose water with a small amount of essential oil also being produced in that dry desert region.

The absolute has distinct olfactory characteristics from Rosa damascena and Rosa centifolia in that it presents a more ambery, green honeyed note intermingled with its rich roseaceous heart note. One can distinguish something of the beauty of the Rose Leaf Absolute in its bouquet. The tenacity is very good with a soft delicate radiance.

It can be used in natural perfumery in much the same way as Rosa damascena and Rosa centifolia absolutes but will add its own unique quality to the composition.(See Rosa centifolia absolute)

"There are flower lovers who love some flowers and other flower lovers who love all flowers. Aunt Jane was of the latter class. The commonest plant, striving in it own humble way to be sweet and beautiful, was sure of a place here, and the haughtiest aristocrat who sought admission had to lay aside all pride of place or birth and acknowledge her kinship with common humanity. The Bourbon rose could not hold aside her skirts from contact with the cabbage-rose; the lavender could not disdain the companionship of sage and thyme. All must live together in the concord of perfect democracy. Then if the great Gardener bestowed rain and sunshine when they were needed, mid-summer days would show such a glorious symphony of color around the gray farmhouse, and through the enchantment of bloom and fragrance flitted an old woman, who dark eyes glowed with the joy of living, and the joy of remembering all life's other summers."
--from Aunt Jane of Kentucky
By Eliza Calvert Hall

Rosa bourbonia

Rosa centifolia/Rose de Mai/Cabbage Rose/Provence Rose
The absolute is extracted from the blossoms of the deciduous shrub, Rosa centifolia which is cultivated in France, Morocco, Egypt and to a small extent in India. The olfactory characteristics of the absolute will vary according to the point of origin, method of extraction, soil grown in, etc as holds true with other essential oils and absolutes. The differences may be minor but will definitely be evident to the one doing an olfactory examination of the different samples. This evaluation is based on a sample of Rose de Mai from France where it is still cultivated and extracted on a very limited basis compared to the golden age of perfumery in France from the late part of the 18th century until the 1930's.

The absolute is a yellow to deep orange viscous liquid displaying a deep, rich, soft, delicate, sweet roseaceous bouquet with a honeylike undertone. The bouquet while soft and delicate has a unique warmth and radiance. Its tenacity is also very good. As noted by several authors the Rose de Mai from France the spicy note often found in Rosa damascena absolute is much reduced.

In perfumery it has wide application as it blends well with many aromatic essences. It is valued in oriental bouquets, high class floral perfumes, chypres, ambre compositions and would be excellent in culinary, historical and sacred perfumes as the love of this scent is almost universal.

Blends well with jasmin grandiflorum abs, orange blossom abs, cassie abs, boronia abs, beeswax abs, sage clary abs and eo, geranium abs and eo, bergamot eo, sandalwood abs and eo, patchouli abs and eo, guaicwood eo, clove bud abs and co2, rosewood eo, agarwood eo.

"Week by week, from the first frail tentative buds to the swollen chalice that held the rose, and from the bursting chalice to the fullspread magical flowers, the growth had gone on to the perfection that was now here. For a week before the weather had erred on the side of dryness, then had followed twelve hours of plumping rain, then had followed a hot, moist day, then had followed a day of pervading, beneficent sun. And, as if he was the conductor of some garden symphony, all the roses had responded, as when a hundred bows are reading resting on the strings, to that baton beat, and had leapt on to fortissimo. There was an old fashioned cabbage rose, homely to the eye but steadfast as a friend to the nostril...."
--from Sheaves
by Edward Frederic Benson

Rosa centifolia

Rosa damascena/Damask Rose
Rosa damascena absolute is a orange-yellow, orange-reddish or olive yellowish colored viscous liquid displaying a rich, warm, radiant, slightly spicy, deep floral odor with a green, honey-like undertone. It has very good diffusive power.

Extensively used in natural perfumery in a wide variety of compositions with even small amounts producing fine results in the perfumes of which they become a part.(see Rosa centifolia absolute)

The full beauty of the Rosa damascena essence can be enjoyed by creating a combination of 15-20% of the Rosa damascena otto with the Rosa damascena absolute.

"The glorious amber glitter of sunset fills the sky, the west wind comes with a soft low swish, and gently stirs the emerald leaves; the fragrant breath of honeysuckle, mignonette, and carnations floats on the evening air, and a solitary butterfly, a king of his species, with jewelled wings, lingers over his last good night on the perfumed face of a damask rose."
--from A thing of beauty
by Mrs. Alexander Fraser


Absolute Monographs   Sandalwood  -  Tonka Bean

Sandalwood Absolute
Sandalwood absolute is extracted from the ethically harvested heartwood of Santalum austrocaledonicum which is grown on the island of Vanatu in New Caledonia. The absolute is a recent addition to the perfumers palette and is available in very limited quantities(as is the ethically harvested sandalwood).

The absolute is a clear transparent viscous liquid displaying a soft, warm, rich, balsamic, precious wood aroma with a sweet vanillic undertone possessing good tenacity. The odor profile of the absolute is fairly close to a good Indian sandalwood essential oil(which has become almost impossible to obtain in a pure unadulterated, legally harvested form).

In natural perfumery the application of sandalwood absolute is almost universal as it is one of the finest fixative/blender materials known and its modest yet attractive aromatic qualities blend seamlessly with many precious essential oils, co2 extracts, absolutes etc and can be used in fairly high proportions without dominating the composition. The problem now of course is the cost of sandalwood as the New Caledonia material now almost as expensive as Indian sandalwood. It is particularly suited for Oriental bouquets, chypres, fougeres, sacred perfumes, liquid incense compositions, historical perfumes, ambre bases, high class floral creations etc.

It blends excellently with patchouli co2 and abs, labdanum abs, frankincense eo and co2 extract, cassie abs, costus co2 and eo, mimosa abs, clove bud abs and co2 extract, rose abs and eo, ruh kewda, ruh motia, jasmin sambac abs, bakul abs, orris root co2 and abs, ambrette seed co2 and abs, cistus eo, champaca abs, ylang abs and eo, broom abs, osmanthus abs.

"Silken punkahs swung from chains, wafting back and forth a cloud of sandalwood smoke that veiled the whole scene in mysterious, scented mist. Through the open window came the splash of a fountain and the chattering of birds, and the branch of a feathery tree drooped near by. It seemed that the long white wall below was that of Yasmini's garden.

'Be welcome!/ laughed Rewa Gunga; 'I am to do the honors, since she is not here. Be seated, sahib.' "

from King--of the Khyber Rifles
by Talbot Mundy

Seaweed Absolute
Seaweed absolute is extracted from various Fucus and Dictyota species of seawood with main extraction taking place in Europe.

It is a deep green or greenish brown viscous liquid displaying a intensely green herbaceous, dry, phenolic, somewhat brackish woody odor.

It is considered an extremely powerful perfume material as its olfactory properties are distinct from any other. It is valued in mossy-woody compositions, green perfume note, herbaceous bouquets, and maritime bases. It would be an excellent addition to literary perfumesBlends well with oakmoss abs, mushroom abs, patchouli abs and eo, agarwood abs, ambrette seed abs, black musk attar, labdanum abs, lavender abs and co2 extract, virginia cedarwood oil, pine needle abs and eo, fir balsam abs, galbanum abs and eo, stryrax e, costus abs and co2, nagarmotha co2 and eo, calamus eo and co2, vetiver co2 and eo, cade eo, birch tar eo.

" There is a savage grandeur in these rocks,
Beaten by lapsing waves; across them blooms
The purpled sunset fires, and on man knows
How many million, million times that light
Has streamed o'er them before. The air is full
Of the cool, silvery surf-tones, and the song--
A piercing liquid tremolo of birds,
The sighs of the soft, seaweed-scented wind,
Rippling the wide sea."

from "The Earth Note"
by Helen Cary Chadwick
Spruce, Blue Hemlock Absolute
The absolute which is a dark green very viscous liquid(can solidy in cold temperatures) is extracted from the needles of the coniferous tree, Tsuga canadensis which grows naturally in Canada. Main extraction of the absolute takes place there.

The absolute displays a deep, warm, rich, sweet balasamic/green resinous bouquet with a delicate fruity undertone. The full and radiant scent emanating from the absolute captures the feel of walking in a spruce forest very nicely.

The absolute is well suited for use in fine coniferous bouquets, natural forest incense compositions, colognes,holiday creations, chypres, fougeres and sacred perfumes that celebrate sylvan cultures.
Blends well with conifer absolutes and essential oils(pine needle, fir balsam, black spruce, etc), oakmoss absolute, galbanum co2 and eo, hay abs, flouve eo, tonka bean abs, benzoin abs, rosemary co2 and eo, lavender abs and eo, cedarwood abs and eo.

"Except in late autumn and early spring, you are living under almost cloudless skys, in an atmosphere steeped in sunshine, spicy with the healing resin or the pines and hemlocks and spure, than ot only scent the air but literally permeate it with the essences of their own life."
from Through our Unknown Southwest
by Agnes C. Laut (published 1913)
Tea Black Absolute
Black Tea absolute is extracted from the dried cured leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis. The absolute is a black plastic mass displaying a delicate, dry, woody-herbaceous bouquet with a slightly smoky-phenolic undertone.

The absolute gives depth, naturalness and body to other tea-like essences such as Mate absolute, Henna leaf absolute, Green Tea Absolute, etc. It also is valued ingredient in essences which seek to bring out the sweet herbaceous notes that distinguish orange blossom, champa, gardenia, ylang, broom, hay etc bouquets.

Blends well with arnica abs, betel leaf oil, marigold absolute, rose leaf absolute, palmarosa oil, sage clary absolute and eo, lavender abs and eo, bergamot mint eo, petitgrain eo, brout abs, , geranium abs and eo, fir balsam abs, tuberose abs, jonquil abs, narcissus abs, violet leaf abs, seaweed abs.

"The two ladies were alone; they were dressed in clinging tea-gowns, shadowed with lace and revealing the gleam of white arms; their eyes shown with unusual warmth of welcome due to their return to town after an absence of several weeks; their smiles and kind words with the warm and luxury, the fresh aroma of tea and wood smoke, scents of pungent chrysanthemum in great china bowls and finer perfume of rose and violet in silver and glass with that delicate breath mingles, unknown sweet than in his fancy always clung about the younger lady, together with themagic of soft shadows and light half concealing and half revealing the proportions of the well-arranged room, in strong contrast witht hewild and threatening falling of lonely outside night, went to his head with a soft and healing enchantment; he sank into a downy chair stretching his legs before him with a sigh of deep content and a feeling of having come home for the first time in his life and forever...."
from The World-mender
By Mary Gleed Tuttiett

Tonka Bean
Tonka Bean absolute is extracted from the dried seeds/beans of the South American tree, Dipteryx odorata.

The absolute is a solid crystaline mass which is pale amber in color. It displays a fine delicate sweet, rich, warm carmelic/vanillic bouquet with dried fruit undertone.

In natural perfumery it is valued for its fine fixative and radiant qualities. Its warm and sweet notes are incorporated into a wide variety of perfume categories including chypres, fougeres, new mown hay compositons, Oriental creations, lavender bases, and might prove interesting in historical and geographical perfumes.

It blends well with lavender abs and eo, lavindin abs and eo, clary sage abs and eo, flouve eo, hay absolute, styrax eo and resinoid, bergamot eo, yuzu abs and eo, geranium abs and eo, oakmoss abs, fir balsam abs, aglaia abs, labdanum abs, ylang abs and eo, champa abs, rose abs and eo, beeswax abs, broom/genet abs, tuberose abs, bakul abs, frangipani abs.

"It was an eventful day in my childhood when, perched on a high chair, I was allowed to explore the mysteries of the top drawer and hold in my own hands the trinkets, ear rings, brooches, and fine lace worn by my mother in her youth, but now laid aside as useless in this new, strange, and busy life of the backwoods. There, too, were pieces of my maternal grandmother's(Kitty Weaver's) gowns, satin that shimmered and changed from purple to gold, 'stiff enough,' as my mother said, 'to stand alone,' and my great-grandfather Miller's tortise shell snuff box containing a tonquin bean that had not lost its peculiar fragrance."
from The Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson
By Nellie Van de Grift Sanchez


Absolute Monographs    Tuberose -- Ylang

Tuberose Absolute
Tuberose Absolute is extracted from the flowers of the tender perennial flower bulb, Polianthes tuberosa. Tuberose is mainly grown in India for extraction of the absolute but is grown in many places like Hawaii, Mexico, Indonesia, etc for its fragrant flowers. At one time it was extensively grown in South France for preparing the absolute but now only a small amount is grown mainly for enfluerage. It is a viscous amber colored liquid, sometimes a soft waxy mass which easily becomes a flowable liquid with gentle heat, It displays an intense heavy, exotic sweet floral, somewhat chocolaty/spicy odor with a beeswax/honey like undertone. The absolute possesses excellent tenacity and radiance.

Blends well with beeswax abs, benzoin abs, bergamot eo, amyris eo, bois de rose eo, caraway seed co2 and eo, carrot seed co2 and eo, clary sage eo and abs, clove bud eo and abs, coriander seed co2 and eo, frangipani abs, geranium and abs, ho wood eo, labdanum abs, mandarin eo, black musk attar, narcissus abs, neroli eo, oakmoss abs, orange flower abs, mandarin petitgrain eo, petitgrain eo, lemon petitgrain eo, rose abs, tonka bean abs, violet leaf abs, sandalwood eo and abs
ylang abs and eo.

Used in high class floral perfumes, amber bases, exotic oriental bouquets, Eastern and Hawaiian garland creations.

"One could almost hear the vibrations of the heat in warm waves, between the tinkling of neck bells and the long cry of the bullock drivers; and, if one were to listen more intently, the silken swish of the waves sending a shrewed whisper to the land, heavy with the scent of lime and tuberose, would fall regularly on one's ear as the breath of a sleeping child..."
--from Symphonies
By George Egerton

Vanilla Absolute
The absolute is extracted from the dried fermented beans of the orchid, Vanilla planifola. The most commonly available absolute is extracted from Madagascar grown beans although vanilla orchid is cultivated in Indonesia, Mexico, Tahiti, India, etc. It displays a deep, warm, mellow, sweet balsamic, vanilla like aroma with a delicate woody-earthy-animalic undertone.

Blends well with allspice eo and co2, ambrette seed co2 and abs, amyris eo, anise seed eo. benzoin abs, bois de rose eo, cassia bark co2 and eo, clove bud co2 and abs, fenugreek abs and co2, guaicwood eo, hay abs, helichrysum abs and eo, mimosa abs, black musk attar, orris root co2 and abs, peru balsam eo and abs, sandalwood eo and abs, tonka bean abs, ylang abs and eo, fir balsam abs, opoponax eo and abs. vetiver eo and co2, cinnamon co2 and eo.

Used in in culinary perfumes, new mown hay creations, ambre bases, oriental accords, sweet floral bouquets

"In the low, rambling outhouses near by a number of woman were employed curing the vanilla pods, which are about three eighths of an inch in diameter and from six to ten inches in length. They were a pretty sight, with their gay-colored petticoats and scarfs worn picturesquely, winding in an out of the long arbours, tending or picking off the ripe pods, and storing them in the wide-mouthed baskets strapped across their heads.

In the curing room, a scene of greater animation presented itself. Here the pods were carefully assorted, placed in a basket, and plunged into water for a half-minute and then laid out on mats to drain. After being exposed to the heat of the sun between woolen blankets for a week, they were packed into ollas at night and kept warm, so as to promote fermentation, until thoroughly dry. They they were soft, pliable, free from moisture, and of a dark chocolate color, thickly frosted with needle-like crystal of acid. Afterwards the were tied in bundles, wrapped in fine maguey fiber, and packed away ready to be manufactured into chocolate. The houses where this work was done adjoined the curing establishments, and when the wind came from that quarter, a delightful odor of vanilla filled the air."

--from Yermah the Dorado
By Frona Eunice Wait

Verbena, Lemon absolute
The absolute is extracted from the foliage of the tender perennial shrub, Lippia citriodora with main extraction occurring in France. The shrub is grown widely in Tunisia, Morocco, France, Algeria etc and is considered a native to Chile and Argentina. The absolute is a dark green slightly viscous liquid displaying a rich, delicate, smooth, sweet, lemony- fruity herbaceous odor. The sweet fruity-lemony odor remains deep into the dryout.

Blends well with frankincense eo and abs, benzoin abs, labdanum abs, cistus eo, elemi abs and eo, guaicwood eo, oakmoss abs, bruyere abs, aruacaria eo, cabreuva eo, seaweed abs, litsea cubeba eo, lemonbalm/melissa eo, lemongrass eo, lemon petitgrain eo, lime essence and eo, , tagetes eo and attar, lavender abs and o, neroli eo, orange blossom abs, spice oils.

In natural perfumery valued for its contributions to chypres, colognes, after shave lotions, herbal garden bouquets, new mown hay creations.

" But our lemon verbena! That is something to boast of. It may seem strange to Eastern folks to hear a lemon verbena spoken of as a shrub; this particular one, however, is a tree. It was a slender shoot of two feet in height when we set it out; it is fifteen feet now, and the stem as large around as a stout man's arm. It is monstrous, but has lost none of its fragrance by its vast proportions. It is the home of a dozen humming beards, who build their nests in it, and are tame enough to visit the cages of 'Yacob' and 'Jimmy' on the back porch; for their are no children with prying eyes and climbing feet to disturb them."
--from Another Juanita
By Josephine Clifford

Violet Leaf Absolute
Violet Leaf Absolute is extracted from the leaves of the perennial plant, Viola odorata. Main growing areas are Egypt, France and South Africa. The absolute is a dark green slightly viscous liquid sometimes slightly grainy, displaying an intense, powerful and rich herbaceous-green leaf aroma with a delicate soft sweet violet like undertone.

Blends well with amyris eo, basil abs, basil eo, bergamot eo, boronia abs, bois de rose eo, benzoin abs, beeswax eo, caraway eo and co2, carrot seed eo and abs, cedarwood oils, clary sage abs and eo, coriander eo and co2, cumin co2 and eo, galbanum abs and eo, geranium abs and eo, mimosa abs, oakmoss abs, combava petitgrain eo, tea leaf abs, henna leaf abs, rooibos abs, ylang abs and eo, vanilla abs, tonka bean abs.

In natural perfumery is valued for its contribution to green and leafy notes, mossy bouquets, tea perfumes, woody bases and violet flower creations

Ylang Absolute
The absolute is extracted from the flowers of the tropical tree, Cananga odorata var. genuina which grows in Nossi-Be, Madagascar, and Comoros Islands. The absolute is a light green or light golden liquid with a fresh, sweet, delicate balsamic-floral bouquet with a elegant vanilla-floral-balsamic undertone which remains uniform deep into the dryout. It has good tenacity and diffusiveness.

Blends well with bay leaf abs, bergamot eo, cardamon seed eo and co2, rosewood eo, carnation abs, champaca abs, cassie abs, clove bud co2 and abs, costus root co2 and eo, galbanum abs and eo, gurjun balsam eo, hay abs, jasmine abs, mimosa abs, opoponax eo and abs, orris root co2 and eo, peru balsam, orange blossom abs, neroli eo, sandalwood eo and abs, styrax eo, vetiver eo, rose otto and abs.

In natural perfumery it is excellent addition to tropical bouquets, high class floral perfumes, chypres, fougeres, geographical perfumes, oriental creations.

" The trees that gave us the greatest delight on all our lovely drive where the ilang ilang trees, which grow only in the Philippines. Their yellow blossoms gave out the sweetest perfume in the world..."
--from Barbara's Philippine Journey
By Frances Williston Burks