Similar to essential oils, absolutes are concentrated, highly aromatic oily mixtures extracted from plants. Whereas essential oils can typically be produced through steam distillation, absolutes require the use of solvent extraction techniques to produce a waxy mass called concrete. The lower molecular weight, fragrant compounds are extracted from the concrete into ethanol. When the ethanol evaporates, an oil (the absolute) is left behind. Absolutes are used extensively in perfumery applications. Extraction can produce absolutes having an aroma closer to the original plant than is possible with essential oils produced through steam distillation.
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