Cultivation Definitions

Please find below detailed information on how our botanicals have been cultivated. As we curate our essential oil & botanical offerings from a variety of trusted sources, there can be variations in terms of how the cultivation is defined from those sources.

We have done thorough research into our sourcing & created a set of definitions consistent with all of Earth’s Aromatique products so that we can be as transparent as possible about how the source plant materials for our essential oils, herbs, & raw botanical products have been grown.

Certified Organic: Grown according to organic principles (including no herbicides &/or pesticides, sewage sludge, irradiation, GMOs), etc. Certified Organic is certified by a third party Certifier (such as USDA Certified Organic or Oregon Tith).

Organic: Cultivated without Chemicals. No pesticides or herbicides are used on plants cultivated for distillation or other products. Either conventionally farmed without pesticides/herbicides OR grown according to organic principles but not 3rd party certified.

Plant material may not be 3rd party certified because:

  • If wild-harvested, it has been collected outside the governance of a certifying body
  • The country of origin lacks a certifying body
  • Cost of certification may be prohibitive for small-scale farmers in less developed countries

Wild-harvested: Not commercially cultivated; grown without any assistance from humans. Can often be considered organic (in that no agricultural interventions have been applied) but material is collected from an area outside the governance of a certifying body.

Conventional: Conventionally grown. We cannot guarantee that no natural fertilizers were used, or that no petrochemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides were not used in the cultivation of the plants grown for distillation.

Mixed Cultivation: Our carrier oil blends are formulated with efficacy and eco-sustainability in mind. Pure organic and conventionally-grown oils are mixed with precise measurements to ensure the highest-quality carrier oil possible. Use neat, or enhance with your favourite herbal infusions or essential oils.

Ethically Handled: “Ethically Handled” indicates that guidelines are in place to ensure that Kolya does not support practices which may endanger or cause harm to plants, animals, or humans.

This may include (but is not limited to) threats to plants & environments from external sources such as humans (overharvesting, poaching, poor handling) or environmental changes, as well as threats to traditional ways of life or exploitation of cultural groups for raw materials.

Kolya’s term ethically handled indicates that we support practices such as:

  • Fair Trade
  • Humanely handled creatures (ie. bees)
  • Sustainable harvesting of endangered plants (sandalwood, rosewood)

Kolya’s purchaser's practice due diligence to ensure we are in relationship with the raw material in question in a sustainable & ethical manner.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils: What are essential oils?

Essential oils are typically defined as concentrated oils produced by steam distillation for either therapeutic purposes or natural perfuming.

That being said, Cold–Pressed or Expressed oils (such as oils pressed from citrus skin), Absolutes, & CO2 extracts are often grouped together under the Essential Oil “umbrella” as they are all concentrated aromatic & volatile substances. They all have therapeutic actions in the body as well as aromatic applications for fragrance & perfuming.

Please note that essential oils are highly concentrated, and although natural, are not inherently harmless. It is important to always dilute before topical application, avoid internal use, & research any contraindications such as for use with children, pregnancy & breastfeeding, certain health conditions &/or medications.

Steam Distilled: Steam distillation is the traditional method for creating essential oils from plant material & Steam Distilled EO’s comprise most essential oils on the market.

To create a steam distilled essential oil, plant material & water are combined in a still & heated, separating lighter molecules (volatile components) from the remaining water, resulting in the finished oil.

This method relies on the fact that many substances whose boiling points are far higher than that of water are volatized if their vapours are mixed with steam. The volatile substance must also be insoluble in water, so that upon cooling, it separates from the watery distillate.

(The remaining water from the distillation process once the volatile or essential oils have been separated from the water results in the hydrosol. Hydrosols contain water-soluble components of the plant material with micro-particles of volatile oils suspended in water. They can be safely used therapeutically & in skin care, & are considered a safer & gentler choice for babies & animals).

Cold Pressed: Cold Pressed, also known as Expressed oils are either essential oils that have not been produced by steam distillation or solvent extraction, or cold pressed fixed or “carrier” oils.

The cold pressed process for essential oils is typically used for fruit with skins, where there is a high amount of aromatic & volatile oils available in the plant material & steam distillation may not be necessary. (Think citrus-- orange, lime, grapefruit, bergamot, etc.)

Cold Pressed or Expressed essential oils are produced by squeezing the rinds through giant rollers. The oil is then separated from any juices, waxes or other substances by whirling the resulting mix at a high speed through a centrifuge. No heat is used during the Expression process, which is why the oils are labelled “Cold Pressed” instead of/as well as “Expressed” as the method of extraction--they are the same process.

**Note**: it is important to know if you are working with, say, an orange essential oil that it has been Steam Distilled or Cold Pressed/Expressed because they can be produced either way. The constituents of the final product will be different & the application & safe usage of that oil may also change depending on which product you are using.

Cold Pressed is also a method of extraction for Fixed or Carrier oils (such as almond oil, avocado, apricot, grapeseed, jojoba, etc.) & butters, which extracts nutrient & fatty acid rich oils from the raw plant material (nuts, seeds & kernels). The Cold Pressed process is critical as heat can deteriorate the product & contribute to oxidation & shorter shelf life. No solvents, harsh or damaging chemicals are used. Cold Pressed products are always extracted from plant sources.

Solvent Extracted: The desired scent of many fragrant & aromatic flowers often cannot be successfully extracted & preserved using distillation (rose being an exception), which is why many floral oils such as Jasmine, Frangipani, Tuberose, Ylang Ylang, are Solvent Extracted, resulting in Concretes, Resinoids, Absolutes or CO2 Extracts.

Solvent extractions are made using an oil-soluble solvent such as Hexane, toluene, or acetone, resulting in a waxy paste known as a Concrete. Concretes are thick, semi-solid to solid wax-like substances, and exclusively used in perfuming. (If the material being solvent extracted is especially rich in resins, such as Frankincense or Myrrh, it can be called a Resinoid instead of a Concrete although they’ve been produced by the same process).

If Concretes are processed one step further & treated with Ethanol (pure alcohol), the alcohol dissolves the remaining waxes & leaves behind the highly aromatic liquid known as the Absolute (although it is normal for some absolutes to be quick thick & viscous). Therefore, an Absolute is made using a solvent extraction.

CO2 extracts are also technically solvent extracted, only CO2 is used as the solvent. CO2 extracts are always labeled as such & are distinct from Absolutes as the process of extraction is different.

CO2 extracts can often be used preferentially for therapeutic purposes, as well as in perfuming in place of oils that are typically steam distilled, as some feel that the scent of CO2 extracts are more “true” to source material (see below for more information on C02 extracts). Concretes, Resinoids & Absolutes are almost exclusively used in perfuming.


Absolutes are made from a 2 step process using solvent extraction. In the first step, a liquid solvent such as Hexane is circulated over flowers resulting in a waxy paste known as a Concrete. Concretes are almost exclusively used in perfuming.

If Concretes are processed one step further & treated with Ethanol (pure alcohol), the alcohol dissolves the remaining waxes, essential oil, fixed oils & fats & leaves behind the highly aromatic liquid known as the Absolute.

Absolutes are the most concentrated forms of fragrance & almost exclusively used in perfuming.

CO2 Extracted:

CO2 Extracts are a newer method of creating solvent extracted “essential oils”.

Essentially Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is used as a solvent in place of a chemical solvent (like an Absolute) or water (Steam Distillation).

CO2 is able to extract a wider range of constituents than from steam distillation. As Carbon Dioxide is used as a solvent (& is known as a “clean” solvent), there is no residue of chemical solvents remaining in the finished product as there may be with an Absolute.

CO2 extraction is a longer process done at a lower temperature & results in more heavier molecules (such as Sesquiterpenes) in the final process compared to a steam distilled oil. Steam distillation (the traditional method for creating essential oils from plant material) is created when plant material & water are combined & heated, separating lighter molecules (volatile components) resulting in the finished oil.

CO2 extracts (also called Supercritical Extracts) contain many of the same constituents as their essential oil counterparts, although they generally also contain some elements (non-volatile) not found in steam distilled essential oils.

Whether or not a steam distilled oil or CO2 distilled oil is preferable is often dependant on the source plant & the desired therapeutic or aromatic application.

In the case of resins such as Myrrh & Frankincense (much higher in the heavier molecules), if one is looking for the most therapeutically active product (or the product that has the most bioavailable constituents contained within the original resin), the CO2 extract may be your oil of choice. (Please note that most studies using essential oils, unless indicated otherwise, have typically been done with steam distilled essential oils & the chemical constituents will vary between the 2 products despite starting with the same source material).

Often the scent will differ slightly between Steam Distilled & CO2 extracts due to the difference in chemistry of the final product-some feel that the scent of certain CO2 extracts are truer to the original plant it is derived from.


Hydrosols, also known as Hydrolats (or in Europe, sometimes called “lotions”), are aqueous solutions created when steam distilling plant material.

Hydrosols contain mostly water-soluble components of plants, with very low concentration of microparticles of essential (also known as volatile) oils.

Due to the gentle nature of hydrosols & the low concentration of volatile components, they are generally well tolerated on sensitive skin and often recommend for pregnant women, infants/children, the elderly, and with animals. Hydrosols are most often used as refreshing skin toners, rinses or washes, or as the water component in skincare.

It is important to note that because hydrosols have a very low concentration of aromatic chemical compounds, they smell distinctly different than their intensely aromatic essential oil counterparts, often smelling more of the herbaceous notes than the lovely floral notes.

Hydrosols are most often produced as a by-product of essential oil production/distillation where the intent of the distillation is to create a good essential oil vs. a good hydrosol. (To obtain a good oil, such distillations can go on longer than what would benefit producing a higher quality hydrosol). Most often, said hydrosols become blended with essential oils and oil dispersants.

Kolya’s line of Hydrosols are created with organic herbs & flowers & spring water. They are proudly harvested & distilled the same day exclusively for the highest quality of Hydrosols available.

Raw Ingredients

Harvested: Naturally occurring raw ingredients sourced & harvested from all across the globe. Includes sea salts, clays, baking soda, & ethically handled animal products such as beeswax, lanolin, etc. Minimal processing of the raw ingredient may be required to extract the desired material.

Raw: Raw Material. Harvested with no additional processing required.

Handcrafted: Product mixed & made by humans.

Manufactured: Product creation is automated on a larger scale than handcrafted--the manufacturing process is more mechanized than hands-on.

Extracted from Plant Sources: Raw plant materials are processed to extract &/or isolate desired plant material or constituents

Manufactured from Plant Sources: Raw materials are processed to extract &/or isolate certain desired plant components or constituents, then are further manufactured into a single ingredient or a blended final product

Cold Pressed: Typically the mechanical process by which carrier oils & butters are extracted from raw plant material such as seeds, nuts & kernels. No solvents, harsh or damaging chemicals are used. Certain essential oils (such as from citrus peels) are also produced via cold pressing.

Cold Pressed products are always extracted from plant sources.


Our raw herbs are all Certified Organic, Kosher Certified and tested for heavy metals, sulfites, & trace residues of any herbicides or pesticides. Microbiological testing is also done to test for presence of Salmonella, E. coli, Mold, Yeast, Total Aerobic Bacteria, and Coliforms. They are also all regularly tested for identity-i.e.-to ensure that the herbs are the genus & species as labeled & are unadulterated with any other plant material.
Kosher Certified: Our herbs are certified Kosher by Earth Kosher. The definition of Kosher means “fit, proper, or correct”. Kosher certification ensures that the herbs (& how they are handled, harvested, processed & stored) conform to the body of law that details the types of foods that may be eaten by a Jewish person, as well as the ways in which it must be processed and prepared.

Kolya’s purchaser's practice due diligence to ensure we are in relationship with the raw material in question in a sustainable & ethical manner.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at