What is a concrete?

Concretes are prepared almost exclusively from raw materials of vegetable origin, such as the bark, flower, leaf, herb or root. The aromatic plant material is subjected to extraction by hydrocarbon-type solvents, rather than distillation or expression. This is necessary when the essential oil is adversely affected by hot water and steam, as is the case with jasmine; it also produces a more true-to-nature fragrance. Some plants, such as lavender and clary sage, are either steam distilled to produce an essential oil or used to produce a concrete by solvent extraction. The remaining residue is usually solid and of a waxy non-crystalline consistency.

Most concretes contain about 50 per cent wax, 50 per cent volatile oil, such as jasmine; in rare cases, as with ylang ylang, the concrete is liquid and contains about 80 per cent essential oil, 20 per cent wax. The advantage of concretes is that they are more stable and concentrated than pure essential oils.

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