Orris Absolute (Iris florentina)
Orris absolute is extracted from the roots of the iris plant by solvent extraction. The roots take a long time to grow and must be stored and dried for at least three years. If stored improperly, they may suffer fungal rot.
After storage, the remaining good roots are so dry that they yield little oil. The oil is produced by steam distilling the peeled and ground dried roots. This complicated process makes orris one of the most expensive aromatic materials.
Although it is native to the Far East, orris is now produced in France, Italy and Morocco.
Its aroma is sweet, floral and slightly woody. It is sometimes used to build violet notes in perfumes. When fragrances smell slightly like powder, they may contain orris.
It is considered to give a fine polish for perfumes and adds a sophisticated finish in floral fragrances.