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Aroma Science

Sources & Types of Jasmine Oil

Among the hundreds of different types of jasmine plants, there are two species that are primarily sourced to provide jasmine oil:Jasminum officinale var. grandiflorum, and Jasminum sambac. Other species occasionally used to create jasmine oil include Jasminum auriculatum and Jasminum flexile, although these are very rare. All of these species are made into concretes and absolutes, but typically only Jasminum officinale var. grandiflorum and Jasminum sambac  are extracted by other methods like supercritical CO2, organic extracts, and enfleurage.

The region of Grasse, France was commonly believed to be the world’s largest producer of jasmine absolute and enfleurage at one point, along with the region’s popularity for rose absolute. In more modern times, jasmine oil production can most often be found in Egypt, India and Morocco. One source documents that 3500/4000 kg/year of jasmine concrete and absolute are created in Egypt alone with an annual production of 15 tonnes of flowers. Egypt is followed by India, Morocco, France, and China.

It is not uncommon for one company/region to produce the concrete and ship it to a country in another area of the world to further process the wax into the jasmine absolute. While the concrete must be harvested from the flowers as quickly as possible, thus necessitating the close proximity to the harvesting area, the absolute can be stored dn later processed according to a commercial producer’s specifications wherever their factory is located. (Arctander, S. (1960) Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Artander). For example, jasmine absolute created from Jasminum officinale var. grandiflorum flower petals is commonly first brought to life as a concrete in the Indian region of Tamil Nadu, where the flowers are harvested, and then further processed into an absolute in France. (source).

While jasmine oil does have a characteristic aroma and amber tint, there are slight differences between the oils the different species of jasmine plant will produce:

Jasminum officinale has a warm, intensely rich fragrance and orange color. The oil from this species is often used to create the middle notes in perfume blends.

Jasminum grandiflorum absolute has a rich, yellow-orange to orange-red hue. It has a lighter scent profile and has been called the sweeter, more demure jasmine.  This oil is typically produced in Egypt and India.  (source). Similar to wines and cheeses, Jasminum grandiflorum oil can be aged to produce a heavier, more rounded scent.

Jasminum sambac, produced mainly in India, is a less sweet version than both Jasminum officinale and Jasminum grandiflorum with a more vigorous, lively scent profile that comes from citrusy, honey, and herbaceous undertones. It has been described as having an energetic quality that can boost and revitalize one’s mood. The oil has a much reddish tint and thick consistency. Interestingly, the term ‘sambac’ (zanbaq in Arabic) used to be used for all jasmine oil, regardless of the species.