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Thread: absolute?

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  1. #1

    Default absolute?

    i think that perhaps there should be a sticky in this thread of common terms used in the world of fragrance to prevent us from posting on the same subject thousands of times... (decant, for instance, has had numerous inquiries)

    anyways, i keep seeing the term 'absolute' in fragrances paired with other notes such as 'mandarin absolute' which is obviously something to do with mandarin oranges... but what is the absolute part?

    thanks, again, to everyone here for allowing be to post without feeling novice or stupid. you are great!

  2. #2

    Default Re: absolute?

    also, i see the term 'cloying' pretty regularly in posts and in fragrance reviews. any help here?

    my all-time faves include anna sui, vera wang princess, nanette lepore, miracle, amor amor, juicy couture, ralph rocks & betsey johnson

    decants i'm looking for:
    a sample vial/decant of viva la juicy by juicy couture
    anna sui scents (other than the original)

  3. #3

    Default Re: absolute?

    Hi, bloodylipstick.

    I will look into coming up with a terms list for those that are repedidly inquired about. I didn't do it before because I didn't want to scare people off from asking their questions by having all their answers already listed. I like when people can get acclimated to the site by asking those questions and recieving welcomes along with reponses.

    To answer your question about 'absolute'... I don't have one. I don't know why they would add absolute to a note's name. Maybe it is a more pure form?

    Cloying: an uncomfortable overpowering of the scent you are wearing in a negative way. It usually refers to the feeling of being choked by the fragrance fumes as a result of the notes being very heavy and strong.

    I hope this helps a bit and someone can help your with your question about what "absolute" means when combined with a note.

  4. #4

    Default Re: absolute?

    Absolute is a perfumery term, you can read more about it on wikipedia.

    ttp:// <- had to post it like this until I get 15 posts.

    In short, it is similar to essential oils, just that it's been extracted using some sort of solvent.

    I believe cloying refers to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable AND persists, that said I find many extremely sweet or extremely powdery sweet perfumes to be cloying.

  5. #5
    Drzed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Vancouver, BC

    Default Re: absolute?

    Quote Originally Posted by bloodylipstick
    also, i see the term 'cloying' pretty regularly in posts and in fragrance reviews. any help here?

    "Cloying" means to cause distaste or disgust by supplying with too much of something originally pleasant, especially something rich or sweet.

    I'm not sure about "absolute" as it is used in perfumery. In general, it would mean something that is pure and perfect in quality.

    Hope that helps

  6. #6

    Default Re: absolute?

    thanks everyone for the help! other terms i forgot to ask about are 'accord' and 'tonka' (i know it's a note, but what does it smell like and what is it?)

    also i love to read FAQs since i sometimes feel silly asking a question asked last week or something. but honestly, the people on this board are so welcoming that i doubt it would be easy to make anyone ashamed to ask a question.

    my all-time faves include anna sui, vera wang princess, nanette lepore, miracle, amor amor, juicy couture, ralph rocks & betsey johnson

    decants i'm looking for:
    a sample vial/decant of viva la juicy by juicy couture
    anna sui scents (other than the original)

  7. #7

    Default Re: absolute?

    Absolut Mandarin is a citrus-flavored vodka. I have read "vodka" as a note for some fragrances, so perhaps that is what they are referring to... I am pretty new too so this is just a guess!

    Hope this helps a litte bit!

  8. #8

    Default Re: absolute?

    accord refers to a general effect, usually note composed by a number of other notes, to achieve a common "big note". For example a "Sandalwood Accord" does not have to contain a drop of sandalwood oil, or even synthetic sandalwood, but through clever combination of woods and spices a perfumer may still create something that resembles sandalwood to the nose.

    Tonka from what I read a few days ago here was defined as a more nutty vanilla like sweet note with slight spicy notes. Synthetic coumarin is virtually the same smelly chemical extracted from Tonka, and is sometimes just referred to as tonka beans in a fragrance. I think people used to use this in food but not any longer due to health issues.

  9. #9

    Default Re: absolute?

    I'm glad you feel welcome here. That is the whole plan!

    An accord is something that you smell without it actually being a note. Like previously stated, it is the broad picture. A scent may not actually include notes but when combined with others they can create an accord, or new smell all together.

    Tonka is hard to describe. I think that it is a soft, warm smell that usually is combined with vanilla or sandalwood. It is what creates that 'powdery' accord in fragrances.

  10. #10

    Shycat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Nashville, Tennessee

    Default Re: absolute?

    An absolute is solvent extracted, an otto is distilled. In distillation, the high temperatures denature some of the fragrance molecules, and others may be lost in the water. The absolutes are never subjected to heat, and the volatile solvent evaporates out leaving all components. In making ottos, the left over distillate is sold as rose water, and keeps some of the various oils and all the 2-phenyl alcohol that give rose absolute it's fresher, true to blossom fragrance.

    This is all only what I have read--I've not ever had a rose absolute (although I now have a sample of AG Rose Absolute...) only the otto/attars.

  11. #11

    Default Re: absolute? has a good section on perfume components and described tonka beans, shows a photo, etc. As for how it smells, vanillic/smoky/warm/sweet is also how I have heard it described.

    What I love about the term "accord" is you can use it to describe (as has been said above) a certain over-arching impression or dominant characteristic a scent has. For example, Muscs Kublai Khan is said to have a "body odor" or "warm crotch" accord; others have "day at the beach accord," or "laundromat accord." I love how this word really allows you to describe a fragrance and its associations. As has been said above, it may contain none of the notes (after all, there is no "laundromat" would be many notes combining to make the accord laundromat).
    Beauty is but the sensible image of the Infinite.
    Like truth and justice it lives within us; like virtue and the moral law it is a companion of the soul.
    -George Bancroft {1800-1891 American Historian}


    current favorites:
    Balmain Jolie Madame, Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan

  12. #12

    Default Re: absolute?

    Concretes, thought to be the purest scents, are obtained by steeping flowers or spices in a solvent that draws out the fragrant oils.
    Absolutes are obtained by mixing a concrete with an alcohol and then evaporating the mixture. Most perfumes are made with absolutes. The alcohol that is taken off during the evaporation carries with it some fragrance and is often added to colognes or lotions.
    Tinctures are made by chopping a fragrant substance in alcohol. This mixture is then heated and filtered. Civet, castoreum, and musk are often used in tincture form.
    Distilled oils are obtained by exposing flowers or herbs to very hot steam. The steam draws off fragrant oils, which rise to the surface when the steam is condensed. Distillation is the cheapest and therefore most common way of extracting scents, but the heat can destroy some delicate fragrances.
    Expressed oils come directly from plants. An example of this is the fragrant oil that can be squeezed out of orange peels.


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