Factors influencing Olfactory Properties of Blue Lotus Absolute



Blue Lotus Absolute

As I had the opportunity to be involved with lotus extraction projects from the very beginning including scouting out places in South India where white and pink lotus flowers were to be found growing in abundance(which is vital if one wishes to do extraction of their essence as it takes over 100,000 blossoms to prepare 1 kilo/35 ounces of absolute) it naturally led us to see if there was some place in India where blue lotus(actually blue lotus is technically not a lotus which belongs to the Nelumbo genus but a member of Nymphae genus which are considered water lilies). As it turned out, in the state of Maharastra there are many blue lotus ponds North of Mumbai in the coastal area) It was a fortunate location as Ramakant's extraction unit was located not far from where the flowers could be found.
I had the chance to see the harvest of blue lotus blossoms and their be transported to the extraction unit where the first stage of the extraction process took place which is to wash the flowers in hexane to prepare the concrete from which the absolute is made. Later, after returning to the USA I received a small batch of the absolute which turned out very well from my perspective.
It captured the high ethereal, sweet, floral-powdery, delicate spicy, mild aquatic bouquet of the blossoms beneath which sat a a complex of notes that to my nose resembled something of the rich floral-precious woods notes that are sometimes found in certain types of agarwood oil. Very little of the stonger aquatic, earthy, medicinal notes were found in that initial batch that seem to characterize later extractions that were done.
There are many reasons why an absolute of a particular genus and species of flower can display a wide range of olfactory characteristics some of which I am aware of an many others which I am not. Some of the reasons are simply environmental and climatic ones. In the case of blue lotus the fragrance can vary considerably according to the soil of the ponds in which the roots of the flower are anchored. The pond water itself has its own chemistry and that two has its impact on the odor. The very time of day and kind of day(sunny, cloudy, rainy) also impacts the odor of the flowers. Not only the time of day but in the case of lotus the actual day which it was harvested for the blooms reopen for several days in success. Along with this one needs to consider the actual extraction process. In most cases hexane is the solvent used to prepare the concrete. If the hexane has any impurities in it then it will impart that odor to the final product which is generally not to its advantage. There are several other technical steps involved in the process of washing the flowers with hexane to remove the pigments, waxes and volatile oil components such as length of time that the flowers are washed, the number of times, etc. Generally speaking the first washing will capture the most lovely aromatic components but subsequent washings need to be done(generally three all total) as the raw material is expensive so an attempt to extract everything can be extracted is made etc.
Not only does the effect the odor but also the amount of waxes in the final product, the color etc. Some blue lotus absolutes are yellow to yellow blue liquids which may be clear to opaque and others are solid waxy masses with a stronger blue tint.
Lastly the very technique of converting the concrete to absolute is an art in itself and much depends on the skill of the person doing the conversion in getting the best results. In short there is not just one thing that determines how an absolute turns out but many.

Lastly there is the person smelling it. My perception of a fine blue lotus absolute may be very different than someone else's. My favorite blue lotus absolutes where those which captured the high ethereal notes as mentioned above with only little of the earthy, medicinal notes manifesting themselves but I have encountered other people who really liked the more potent smelling product that includes the aforementioned notes.
The only blue lotus absolutes that I really liked have been the phytonic extract from Thailand(which is one , the first extraction that was done in India and the recent extractions that have been done in Sri Lanka and I tend to procure what I like.