Most rose absolute is produced in Morocco in the valleys between the High Atlas and Jbel Sarhro mountains east of Marrakech.
Rose absolute is a refined, liquid extraction of fragrant compounds from the fresh blossom. Although absolutes contain essential oil compounds they differ from distilled essential oils. An absolute is a refinement of a concrete, which is a thick, fragrant material extracted from the plant using a hydrocarbon solvent. The concrete contains essential oils, fatty acids and waxes. Absolutes are extracted from concretes with pure alcohol. The alcohol dissolves and absorbs the fragrant material from the concrete. Waxes, fats and other non-aromatic contents precipitate out and are removed by filtering. The alcohol is removed through evaporation. What's left behind is the pure, fragrant absolute -- a concentration of aromatic compounds including essential oil constituents.
Some aromatherapists prefer to use only essential oils because they feel that the chemical solvents used in the extraction of an absolute have a negative affect on the properties of the oil. Others believe that the intensity and radiance of botanicals like rose are able to withstand the extensive processing and still yield positive benefits in the absolute.