Absolutes of Chassis

(e) Absolutes of Chassis.

When describing the process of enfleurage we mentioned that the flowers are removed from the fat corps on the chassis every 24 hr. These flowers arc not thrown away because they still contain that part of the natural perfume which was not absorbed by the fat. It must be borne in mind that the perfume or essential oil of the flowers consists not only of volatile constituents, but also of compounds of higher boiling range which are not so readily released by the flowers. The actual conditions are probably much more complicated and many physiological processes take place, which so far have not yet been fully elucidated.
The part of the natural flower oil which is retained by the flowers after removal from the chassis (défleurage) can be extracted from these partly exhausted flowers with a volatile solvent petroleum ether, for instance. Concentration of the solution results in a solid mass. (This product must not be confused with the concretes and absolutes obtained by extracting fresh flowers directly with volatile solvents.) The solid mass thus obtained contains a certain percentage of fat originating from the corps with which the flowers were in contact during the process of enfleurage; it is purified and made alcohol soluble by eliminating most of the fats at low temperature.
The final so-called absolute of chassis, a viscous, alcohol-soluble oil, possesses an odor differing somewhat from that of the absolute of enfleurage.
Absolute of enfleurage and absolute of chassis logically supplement one another because each represents only part of the total natural flower oil present in the living flowers. Yet, they are usually marketed separately, perhaps because the absolute of chassis is lower priced than the absolute of enfleurage.
Absolutes of chassis give excellent results in perfume blends, especially in conjunction with synthetic aromatics, the harsh notes of which are thereby softened and blended.

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