Perfumery: The Different Ways Delicate Aromas Are Captured

Delicate Aromas In Nature - Entour Botanical Specialists

If you enjoy the incredible natural and delicate aromas that come with your favorite cannabis product, you likely have a little gift from Mother Nature called terpenes to thank. 

Terpenes are naturally occurring components in plants that give them their unique fragrance, flavor, and even color. Love the smell of roses, the taste of mint, or the color of your favorite berries? That’s right – those are terpenes at work, helping each plant define and play its role in the natural order of things.

Fortunately, we have the technology to extract these perfumes and mix them to create your favorite cannabis formulation so you can enjoy fresh, authentic flavors as often as you like. 

How is it done? We’re glad you asked! Here are some of the most common techniques used to extract delicate aromas from plants. 

Steam Distillation

Distilling through steam is a straightforward and cost-effective way of extracting natural compounds from flowers, leaves, and stems. This method involves passing steam from boiling water through the materials for between 60 and 105 seconds. The water and aromatics from the plant are released as condensation, converted back into liquid form through a condenser, and then captured in a flask. 

The old saying about oil not mixing with water becomes evident as the fragrant oils rise to the top of the liquid in the flask. This essential oil is easily separated from the water and then processed for use in products.

Solvent Extraction To Capture Delicate Aromas

Some plant materials are too volatile for steam distillation, during which their aromatic compounds can be destroyed. In these cases, a low-temperature process called solvent extraction is applied to render an essence faithful to the original material.

Solvent extraction involves soaking and agitating the raw material in a solvent such as ethanol, or dimethyl ether. This method dissolves the aromatic compounds, after which the solvent is removed through vacuum processing.

The concentrated substance left behind, known as concrete, is composed of essential oils and non-fragrant waxes and resins. The concrete is mixed with alcohol to separate the essential oils from the other compounds, after which the oils are further distilled to remove the alcohol. What’s left is pure essential oils ready to be processed for use in a wide variety of applications.

Read More: Flower Vs Concentrate – What’s The Difference?

CO2 Extraction

CO2 extraction, also known as supercritical fluid extraction, is a relatively new aroma extraction method. It works by putting carbon dioxide under high pressure at slightly above room temperature to transform it into a supercritical fluid form. This fluid can then be used to extract aromatic compounds from raw materials in the same manner as solvent extraction.

One crucial advantage of working with CO2 is that once it’s returned to normal atmospheric pressure levels, it returns to a gaseous state, leaving no trace of itself in the final material. This means no solvent residue and no concrete substance that requires additional processing. 

Enfleurage For Delicate Aromas

Enfleurage is a gentle, low-temperature process often used to preserve the integrity of very delicate floral aromas. It involves placing the botanical material on a layer of fat or wax, which absorbs the material’s essential oils. The process is repeated until the fat becomes saturated with aromatic compounds, which are then extracted with alcohol.

This method is a painstaking and involved process because it  can take up to several weeks for the fat to absorb enough essential oils before the alcohol can be applied.  


You’ve likely heard of citrus-based products that are “cold-pressed”? That’s the basis of the expression method of extracting essences from citrus peels. This technique sees the citrus peels pressed, squeezed, or compressed to express the large quantities of fragrant oils they contain.

Popular terpenes such as limonene are extracted using the expression process for thousands of different kinds of products, including cannabis formulations. 


Another method used to extract essences from plants is rectification, a dry process that doesn’t use steam or liquid solvents. Instead, the plant is exposed to elevated heat that transforms the essential oils into a gaseous form, collected, and then condensed into a liquid.

At Entour, we utilize all methods available to create the  natural flavors and aromas that your customers will love. Call us anytime to learn more about why you should partner with Entour for your cannabis blends!

Your Premier Choice for High-Quality Cannabis Formulations

Since 2010, Entour botanical specialists have been a leading supplier of fresh and exciting cannabis product ideas that will help evolve your business. Our proprietary True To Plant® technology captures your favorite cultivars’ flavors, aromas, and effects with unprecedented accuracy and precision, resulting in experiences your customers will love.

You won’t find our unique formulation process at any other supplier – no matter how hard they try! Get in touch with the Entour team with your flavor requirements today!

Keep Reading

Flower Vs. Concentrate: What’s The Difference?

Understanding Regulatory Frameworks And Documentation For Cannabis Products

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