Want a natural vanilla fragrance? Unfortunately, there isn’t a cheap solution. Extracts contain too much water and ground vanilla powder acts more like an exfoliant than a fragrance. The two options are vanilla oleoresin and vanilla absolute.
Vanilla oleoresin is a semi-solid concentrate made by removing the solvent from vanilla extract. A solution of isopropanol is frequently used instead of ethanol for the preparation. Some flavor and aroma is lost during removal of the solvent, but the essential oils remain. Vanilla oleoresin is used in non-food products. Unfortunately, it isn’t always stable in candle and soap making, which is too bad, as it’s considerably less expensive than vanilla Absolute.
Vanilla absolute is the most concentrated form of vanilla. It is often used in perfumes and other aroma-based products. Because it’s so expensive, most candles, soaps, and other scented specialty merchandise, are made from synthetic vanillin. Vanilla Absolute is used in very high-end products in small quantities, often mixed with other fragrances in perfumes. However, a little goes a long way. If you are making perfumes, soaps or candles and you don’t want the cloying aroma of imitation vanilla, it’s worth investing in vanilla absolute.