You might have noticed a new category popping up recently: the "absolute" fragrance. So what are they? An absolute is similar to an essential oil, but the difference lies in the extraction process. To get technical, essential oils and absolutes are both highly concentrated extracts from flowers or plants. But where essential oils are produced through steam distillation, an absolute is extracted using a solvent such as hexane or ethanol. Absolutes therefore contain even more of the aromatic detail of the original ingredient (compared with steam-distilled extracts) making the smell closer to its "natural" form and, therefore, superior in quality. This method is also more effective at capturing very delicate substances, such as rose and jasmine.
Used in its true sense, absolutes are usually the top-billed super notes in fragrance compositions, but some fragrance makers use the term as a concept - in a similar fashion to "intense" or "extreme". It's a trend that is catching on with some of the mainstream brands from the niche perfumers - thus, this new (and not-so new) wave of absolutes on the shelves.
An absolute perfume definitely carries the promise of a concentrated fragrance experience, so if you like stronger scents with extra staying power, and you are confident in your choice, absolutes are, um, absolutely for you.