Jasmine, rose and vanilla are all amazing and popular scents that we love, but, did you know that all three scents come in the form of absolutes rather than essential oils? Absolutes are similar to essential oils, only their method of extraction is much more elaborate and is either done using CO2 or a solvent such as hexane. Essential oils are made primarily by steam distillation or cold pressing (like from the rind of an orange). Absolutes result in a very complex, highly concentrated and expensive oil.
Producing jasmine absolute is an incredibly labor intensive and delicate process. First, the jasmine flowers must be hand picked during the night since much of the fragrance will evaporate during daylight hours. The blossoms must be very carefully picked, packed and transported because they are fragile and if they get crushed, the quality is compromised. Then, a solvent is used to extract the oil, and then evaporated away, leaving behind only the absolute oil. It takes about 8000 jasmine blossoms to produce 1 gram (about 1mL) of jasmine absolute. A single pound of pure jasmine absolute oil may cost between $1000 to $4500! So, if we were to make one of our glass tumbler candles with pure jasmine oil, it would cost us about $40 to produce. Check out the prices of jasmine absolute oil for yourself at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Rose is actually available in both an essential oil and an absolute. There is very little oil contained in the rose petals, which is why it requires over 30 roses to produce 1 drop of rose absolute! Making rose absolute is more efficient, producing a greater amount of oil from fewer petals compared to the distillation process to make the essential oil. Compare the prices of the absolute vs. the essential oil at Mountain Rose Herbs. If you’ve ever handled a rose before, you know that the petals containing the oil are very fragile and bruise easily, making it also a delicate operation to collect and process the petals. There are myriad types of rose absolutes, but the top three used are Bulgarian, Maroc, and Damask-Turkey. To scent one of our glass tumbler candles with pure rose absolute, it would cost us between $40 and $76 per candle.
Vanilla is the most popular candle scent. Vanilla absolute oil, like jasmine and rose, is produced using the fragile flowers (not the beans!) of the vanilla plant. The deep trumpet-shaped flower, a member of the orchid family, must be hand pollinated, except for in locations in Mexico where a native hummingbird is capable of doing the work. The delicate flower will wilt if not pollinated within a few hours of being opened. These factors contribute to the price of vanilla absolute oil, which you can see for yourself at Mountain Rose Herbs. It would cost us about $26 to scent a glass tumbler candle with pure vanilla. Visit this post to learn more about why we don’t make a vanilla candle.
So, while we love these scents, we won’t be making any aromatherapy candles at Way Out Wax with them anytime soon. We share this information to help educate folks and encourage them to ask questions. There are a lot of inexpensive synthetic jasmine, rose, and vanilla fragrances out there used by candle makers and perfumers alike. Check out our website to learn more about synthetic fragrances and learn why we’ve made such a strong commitment to not using them. Remember, if the price of a product claiming to use these “essential oils” seems like it’s too good to be true, it just may be!