The use of Acacia fragrance for soaps and perfume
The production of raw material for fragrances is not done by the perfume houses but from raw material suppliers like Robertet, Charabot or Remy (IFF).
Acacia flowers are first extracted with hexane to give a turbid phase called concrete. The hexane is then removed. The treatment of the concrete with alcohol leaves the waxy (insoluble) substance behind, giving the absolute.
For this purpose the locally wild growing Acacia dealbata is harvested by cheap labour when the trees are in full bloom – mostly not coming from the local Acacia farmers. As the availability varies, some fresh material may also be imported from Italy.
The old method of “Extraction in animal fats” (maceration) is no longer allowed for hygienic reasons.
One source in Grasse told me, that they extract about 60.000 kg per year, and that other companies process appr. the same amount. The flowers still on the young twigs (“fleur-feuille”) are extracted. The yield is 0.7-0.9%, that is 840 to 1.080 kg of concrete and appr. half of this amount, that means 420 to 540 kg of absolute per year.
www.perfume2000.com states that in the Grasse region 150 to 200 tons of wild Mimosa are extracted per year providing 1.200 kg to 1.600 kg concrete and afterwards 300 to 400 kg of absolute.
The price of the absolute is 900 to 1.000 Euros per kg. That results in a max. turnover of 540.000 Euro per year for the “absolute” produced in France.
The waxy residue is quite insoluble and it is not enough to serve as a reliable raw material for cosmetics – only may be on a small level for tourist products.
The absolute is a minor fraction in perfumes. “It softens and ties the different notes of the perfume together”. One of the perfume houses told me, that they use about 10 kg per year.
When I visited Molinard they did not offer a special perfume made with Mimosa.
I bought Eau de Perfume SOLEIL from Fragonard, which is said to contain Acacia fragrance. But in the advertising for this perfume fragrance from Acacia was not mentioned among the 8-10 important ingredients.
The Grasse museum states on its website that the following perfumes contain Mimosa:
Mimosa pour Moi (L`Artisan Parfumeur)
Moment Supreme (Jean Patou)
Casaque (Jean D`Albert)
Kalispera ( Jean Desses)
Masumi (Francois Coty)
Le Mimosa (Molinard Jeune)
Paris (Yves St. Laurent)
Today much more concrete - up to 10 times the amount in France - is produced in India.
(see also: http://members.aol.com/somanath/kerala2.html). Some of this concrete is imported to Grasse and processed to give the “absolute”. The production of absolute is very tedious – there must not be any insoluble left!
In total the French perfume industry consumes well over 1 Mio Euro worth of absolute Mimosa per year.
status of this page: 27.2.05