Definitions

Alcohol extract: Herbal materials are soaked in alcohol and then filtered out. The alcohol retains essential oils, resins and other compounds. Extracts are equivalent to essences and tinctures.

Absolute: A solvent extract of fragrant materials from botanicals, producing an alcohol-soluble liquid or semi-liquid oil. Common solvents include, among others, ethanol and hexane, which are then removed.

Attar: A traditional term for the steam-distilled essential oil of rose petals. This term is also used in India for the material obtained by distilling rose petals and sandalwood together.

Balsam: A resinous, semi-solid mass or viscous liquid exuded from a plant. A "true" balsam is characterized by its high content of benzoic or cinnamic acid or their salts. They are often associated with pathological or physiological products.

Cold pressed: a pressing process of extraction for citrus and fixed oils with minimized heat and deterioration, usually under 49°C (120° F). The same thing as expression.

Concrete: a concentrate, waxy, solid or semi-solid perfume material prepared from previously alive plant matter, usually using a hydrocarbon solvent, which is then removed.

Distillate water: Otherwise known as floral water or hydrosol, produced during steam distillation.

Enfleurage: A process for making perfumes in which odorless fats or oils absorb the fragrance of fresh flowers (from French: enfleurer, to saturate with the perfume of flowers).

Essence: An alcoholic extract (see Tincture). This term is also used commercially for prepared mixtures of flavorings used to prepare beverages and liquors.

Essential oil: Volatile oils, typically fragrant, which are extracted from botanicals using steam distillation or expression. Essential oils are normally liquid, but some cases, like anise, may be solid at low temperatures.

Expression: The extraction of essential oils and non-volatile materials by pressing the natural material.

Extraction: a process of removing botanical components from a raw material through the uses of distillation, solvents, heat, or pressure. The extract will contain non-volatile as well as volatile components. Oleoresins, resinoids, concretes and absolutes are all produced by extraction.

Exudate: A non-cellular, natural raw material that is secreted by plants, either spontaneously or after wounding. Balsam Peru and Balsam copaiba are examples of exudates.

Fixative: A material that slows down the rate of evaporation of the more volatile components in perfume and natural products formulation.

Fixed oil: A name given to a vegetable oil obtained from plants that, unlike essential oils, are fatty, dense and non-volatile. Olive, peanut and corn oils are all fixed oils.

Gum: A water-soluble exudate consisting mainly of polysaccharides, used principally as a thickener.

Gum resin absolute: An oil-soluble, purified exudate consisting mostly of resinous constituents, gums and small amounts of volatile components. Examples are Myrrh, galbanum and opoponax.

Hydrosol: Water containing dissolved volatile substances from plant material. The same as distillate water.

Infusion: Extraction of materials from plant matter by soaking in cold or warm liquid solvents, or in oils or fats. Tea is a water infusion of camellia leaves.

Maceration: Soaking until soft.

Oleo gum resin: A natural exudates from trees and plants that consists mainly of essential oil, gum and resin.

Oleoresin: A natural resinous exudation from plants, or an aromatic liquid preparation, extracted from botanical matter using solvents. They consist almost entirely of essential oils and resins.

Pomade: A prepared perfume material obtained by the enfleurage process.

Rectification: A second distillation of an essential oil to remove color, resinous matter and perhaps unwanted flavors.

Resin: A natural or prepared product, either solid or semi-solid in nature. Natural resins are exudations from trees, such as mastic; prepared resins are oleoresins from which essential oil has been removed.

Resinoid: A perfumery material prepared from natural resinous matter, such as balsams and gum resins, by extraction with an hydrocarbon solvent.

Tincture: An alcohol extract.

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