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  1. #1
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    I just received some lovely (and expensive) CO2 extracts (e.g. Orris root, White Rose, Vetiver, vanilla) and as they are a bit thick before working with them I tried diluting them (well, a small amount) in ethanol (96%) to no avail. A complete mess. I wrote to the supplier and they told me CO2 Extracts cannot be dissolved in alcohol, only oil... this is news to me, although maybe common knowledge? I did read quite a bit about CO2s before buying but this never came up. As I am making blends for use in alcohol based perfumes, this is a big problem... Anyone have an idea what I can do? I have tried heating and that does not work, it just crystallizes back out on cooling. Washing the extracts with alcohol like one would do with a pomade or concrete? Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    how about dilluting them in oil, and then allowing the oil to marry with the alcohol like in the traditional method of perfumery?

  3. #3
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Thanks Joey86, I think that would have to be an oil that is both neutral in scent and solvable in alcohol, like fractionated coconut oil, right? But I don't have any of that unfortunately, and also not sure it would not cause the CO2 extracts to separate out once in the alcohol? Or maybe not -- I guess I can experiment with sandalwood oil, although an expensive way to experiment... Any other easily obtainable neutral oil that will also dissolve in alcohol?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    I'm new to this, but I've always been under the impression that CO2/SCO2 extracts are soluble in high proof alcohol. I could be wrong though. Who supplied your extracts?

  5. #5
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Quote Originally Posted by Smells_Familiar View Post
    I'm new to this, but I've always been under the impression that CO2/SCO2 extracts are soluble in high proof alcohol. I could be wrong though. Who supplied your extracts?
    Me too. But apparently not, or at least not all of them. Strange I have never seen anyone talk about this before (thus I assumed they were the same in terms of solvability as absolutes or EOs.) Even more odd in that Sharini reports using CO2s in alcohol perfumes (which is what inspired me to try CO2s). I bought from a reputable supplier, White Lotus Aromatics.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    I've used jojoba oil with CO2 and solvent-extracts, with success.

  7. #7
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Quote Originally Posted by M-F View Post
    I've used jojoba oil with CO2 and solvent-extracts, with success.
    hmmm. No doubt, but I don't think that solves this particular problem. Jojoba does not dissolve in ethanol either does it? I have tried it in sandalwood now, it dissolves nicely, but then that mixture in the alcohol sublimates the CO2 extract out again...

  8. #8
    oliverandco
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    i think the best choice is to dissolve them in pure alcohol and store it in very good bottles.
    i also use DPG, IPM or DEP to make 10% dilution. i never used fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Yeah - I know, I've read that too. I haven't had the problem of sublimation or insolubility, but it might be because I'm using very small quantities in comparison to the larger alcohol blend. Also - after standard filtering, I find that whatever few minute particles are left behind, have imparted their scent to the blend. I do agree with Oliver&Co though that dipropylene glycol might work well. Let us know what you find out!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    I have trouble believing that vanilla CO2 is insoluble in alcohol. Very few aromachemicals and extracts can't be solvated in alcohol (and that means their use is restricted in most perfume formulations).

    Sadly, I doubt you have a sonicator. It does wonders on things that don't like dissolving. Or cautiously try heat.

    You could perhaps try using a glycol ether (or even a light weight PEG?).

  11. #11
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Thanks Chemistwithanose, I am surprised too, although as to the vanilla specifically, I have not tried yet, I have only worked with the white rose and the orris root. I fear I may have found the reason though: I looked on eden botanicals CO2 pages and they say their CO2s, for example with Orris root, depending on concentration, are cut with "vegetable oil" and not recommended for alcohol. White lotus aromatics did say these are pure extracts, but I will query them more to be sure they are not combined with vegetable oil... oh and what is a sonicator? (I'll look it up on the web, but maybe you have a more useful explanation...)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Quote Originally Posted by gecko214 View Post
    Thanks Chemistwithanose, I am surprised too, although as to the vanilla specifically, I have not tried yet, I have only worked with the white rose and the orris root. I fear I may have found the reason though: I looked on eden botanicals CO2 pages and they say their CO2s, for example with Orris root, depending on concentration, are cut with "vegetable oil" and not recommended for alcohol. White lotus aromatics did say these are pure extracts, but I will query them more to be sure they are not combined with vegetable oil... oh and what is a sonicator? (I'll look it up on the web, but maybe you have a more useful explanation...)
    CO2 extracts, which are called "totals", do contain plant waxes, and are soluble only partially. Those are suitable for skin care like lotions,creams etc. CO2 extracts, which are called "selects", as they contain only volatile parts of the plant, are suitable for perfumery.

  13. #13
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Thanks Mon Essence, this is very useful, and sounds like most likely the case. Thus, I think, I can simple use them, let them macerate, and then filter out the waxy particles, n'est ce pas?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Dear Gecko,
    if it is the case, your proposal should certainly work out.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Quote Originally Posted by gecko214 View Post
    oh and what is a sonicator? (I'll look it up on the web, but maybe you have a more useful explanation...)
    a sonicator is an ultrasonic bath, or any other device using ultrasonics. in a bath, these frequencies are applied to the liquid inside. it is used to clean things, you can get household sonic baths for little money, to clean jewelry, etc. they are on ebay for less than 10$, i've been thinking about getting one. a good professional one will cost much more. the devices will reach even the most tiny spots, no matter how small, and will clean thoroughly.

    ultrasonic baths have been used for odor extraction as well. it is basically a tincture (maybe it's used for concretes, too) that is constantly agitated by high frequency vibrations.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Quote Originally Posted by Mon Essence View Post
    CO2 extracts, which are called "totals", do contain plant waxes, and are soluble only partially. Those are suitable for skin care like lotions,creams etc. CO2 extracts, which are called "selects", as they contain only volatile parts of the plant, are suitable for perfumery.


    One can de-wax these with refined hexanes. I've done this before to remove the fattier components of various plant extracts. Much of the lipid content comes only when a plant is macerated and crushed. Blending it in a blender with hexane will remove the fatty component (bear in mind that this is dangerous as hexane is flammable and electric motors spark).

    Dissolving extracts, absolutes, and EOs is an exercise in polarity control! The preparation of these compounds is all very interesting. One day, I must post some pictures of some small scale stuff I've done in my laboratory.

    Adding to gido's excellent post, a sonicator is something I use at work that

    It does this (theorized really) much like microwave irradiation does in speeding up a reaction-- it causes tiny microbubbles to form and cavitate creating extreme pressures and temperatures. Since solubility of a substance in solvent usually increases with increased pressure and temperature (if it didn't, there would be very interesting thermodynamics at play, but this usually only applies to macromolecules!) this allows for difficulty-soluble substances to go into solution much easier.

    I always said to my graduate students that I worked with that the sonicator should be their second choice after the heat gun and d-DMSO for difficultly soluble products and getting an NMR spectra. I realize that some of you here may totally get this OT reference :-) kudos to you chemists too!

  17. #17
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Thanks again Chemistwithaname. Very interesting and informative, although I think I will need to spend some time on wikipedia to understand everything you said... Hexane, yes, and refined hexane at that. I actually have tried to buy this stuff before but it is not the sort of thing one can just go down the street and pick up easily... even where I live, Burma, where you can actually pick up almost anything (including, happily, 96% ethanol for $1/liter)... I have been trying to do some of my own distillations and absolutes (folly I know, but it keeps me occupied on weekends) and wanted to use hexane to make a concrete. Could not buy it here, which is probably good as I might have blown up the house. But thus I have a question about your suggestion of dissolving the waxes and heavier fats -- would the hexane not dissolve everything (i.e. the ethanol soluble AND the non-soluble components)? So how would you go about discarding the "bad" stuff and not also the "good"?

    On the sonicator, it was hinted one could, for small time home use, just pick up a jewelry cleaner, rather than a $1,500 professional machine... do you think a jewelry cleaner would work (at a small scale, a few mls at a time)?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Perhaps you could dissolve a bit in IPM , strain out the waxy particles, and then mix the IPM based solution nto alcohol. Unlike vegetable oil, IPM is miscable with alcohol and is sometimes a component of "perfumer's alcohol" blends.

  19. #19
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Quote Originally Posted by puppynose View Post
    Perhaps you could dissolve a bit in IPM , strain out the waxy particles, and then mix the IPM based solution nto alcohol. Unlike vegetable oil, IPM is miscable with alcohol and is sometimes a component of "perfumer's alcohol" blends.

    Thanks for the tip puppynose the IPM works perfectly for pre-dilution of hard to work with stuff, including the CO2 extracts as well as other thick stuff like mimosa abs, immortelle abs, etc. Very useful.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Help please! With CO2 Extracts

    Hi Gecko

    I actually get most of my Co2's from Eden botanicals

    Orris 10% irones, Is soluble in low percentages I actually have this and have been toying around with it, I think the proper break down for this one is 30:1 and then after you do that you'll have to actually heat it a bit in order to get the extract to get it into full solution, the best measure for me is I know that I'm getting close to a good blend when the violet leaf note becomes pronounced.

    the vanilla bourbon will leave particulate matter so that will need to be filtered and if you ever get the hay absolute then that mixes down quite readily like wise I think their agar wood Co2 stays kind of cloudy.

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