Certain high-quality odor-producing flowers such as jasmine, tuberose and gardenia yield small quantities of oil and cannot be distilled by hydrodistillation. Furthermore, the oil components are thermolabile and such flowers, even after plucking, continue to emit small quantities of perfume. The oil from these types of flowers is extracted by cold fat extraction, i.e. enfleurage.
Fat possesses a high power of absorption of volatile oil and, if brought in contact with fragrant fl owers, it absorbs the perfume. This principle methodically applied on large scale constitutes enfl eurage. The quality of the fat base is important for the quality of the fl ower oil. It must be odorless and of proper consistency. If the crops (fat) is too hard, the blossoms will not have suffi cient contact with it, the absorption will be insufficient, and the quality and yield will be poor. If the crops is loose, it may engulf the flowers so that exhausted ones are difficult to remove and retain adhering fat when removed. The crops must have a consistency suitable to produce a semihard surface from which exhausted fl owers can be removed easily.
Saturated fragrant fat extract is known as pomade. Enfl eurage process of cold extraction is carried out in Bulgaria, Egypt, Algeria, Sicily (Italy), and Grasse (France). France remains the main centre of production of highly prized so-called natural fl ower oil. Natural fl ower oil does not include the distilled essential oil but applies only to fl ower oils obtained by enfleurage, maceration or solvent extraction. The whole process is carried out in cold atmosphere cellars (cold rooms). The mixture of one part highly purified tallow and two parts lard is best suited for enfleurage.