- Distillation. Steam distillation is one of the oldest extraction techniques, used by Arabs in the 9th century. Before distillation the raw materials are being processed – chipped, rasped, grounded or amalgamated with ferments. The intention is to develop evaporation in order to separate the solids from the various volatile elements present in a blend. The steam that carries the ethereal components from the raw materials is then chilled, and in the next phases the water and odoriferous elements separate due to their density differences. The product of the distillation process is a raw essential oil, subsequently refined by rectification. The vacuum processing of the derived oil, achieved by simmering at a low temperature, enables separation of desired molecules only, what is the method for producing so called ‘absolute’ and other precious components of the raw ethereal oil.
- Solvent extraction. The raw materials are placed in a special extractor together with solvent materials such as ethanol, methanol, hexane, toluene and butane. After the raw materials were soaked in the solvent for several times, the solvents-fragrance carriers are eliminated through evaporation. That way the so called 'concrete' is produced. The result of the last concentration is the pure essence or absolut. This process usually gives better result than distillation.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction – SOFTACT. Carbon dioxide when put under a pressure of 73,8 bar at a temperature over 31°C becomes a liquid with excellent solvent characteristics. This method makes extraction possible at a low temperature, what enables production of an absolute with fragrance of high quality and purity and with fragrance identical to the original odor of the plant. Furthermore, the CO2 extraction produces excellent results with dry raw materials that do not do well with the traditional extraction techniques. Besides, this method is environmental friendly, as CO2 does not pollute.
Concentration Concentration is used mainly for processing fruit juices. Vacuum concentration or concentration by freezing enables preservation of the finest aromatic fruit elements.
Fractioning Fractioning, or selective distillation, helps extracting fragrant essence from a particular essential oil, in order to produce an extract whose scent is absolutely different from the scent that this particular oil possessed before this processing method. By subtracting and adding chemical components it is possible to attain the scent of rose out of pelargonium oil, the fragrance of carnation can be produced of cloves, etc. this method is widely used especially to produce fragrant substitutes for components which are difficult to extract from the original plant.
Chromatography There are several chromatography techniques. The most popular is gas chromatography. This method enables to decode the fragrance and identify its main chemical components. The technique is based on isolating raw materials molecules, or their compositions for the purpose of their identification, or quantity determination.
Headspace or Nature Print This progressive technique enables capturing of odor from natural sources, fresh plants, without causing damage to it. For instance, using this method the most fragrant and qualitative molecules whose characteristics are identical to those of the real flower can be isolated from lilac blossom in vacuum conditions. After the molecules are isolated, they are analyzed by using chromatography technique.
Artificial aromas At the end of the 19th century production of new fragrances was enabled by organic synthesis. It was possible to:
- Precisely imitate natural odors by using other sources, what preserved and saved many animals and plants;
- Creation of new fragrances, not existing in nature;
- Reconstruction of complicated fragrances production of which was not successful, such as the scent of lilac and lily.