There are two main Rose products on the market: Damask Rose oil which is steam distilled from the flowering part of roses and Rose absolute which is solvent extracted, also from the flowers. To create an absolute a chemical solvent is used to basically “dry clean” the plant material; releasing many plant constituents (including essential oil) into the solvent. Hydocarbon solvents are used and later ethanol for a further ‘washing’ and extraction. After this process one is left with a plant essence of sorts; it is not a true essential oil (which requires steam distillation).
Solvent extraction is used with delicate and low yield plants. For example, Rose absolute obtained from solvent extraction of fresh petals of Rosa centifolia requires 700 kilos of flowers to produce one kilo of pink to brown orange liquid. To create one kilo of “rose otto”/ pure Damask Rose essential oil, 4,000 kilos of flowers are needed (an extremely low yield). About six times as much Rose absolute can be produced as compared to the oil with the same weight of flowers.
Both smell incredible: The Rose absolute fragrance is more alike to smelling the flower itself, and the Rose Oil has a sweeter, almost honey-like fragrance. Although therapeutically the Rose Oil is more energetically potent.
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