Vanilla Essential Oil?

I’ve been such an idiot. I love the vanilla flavor and over the years, I have always wondered why my vanilla extract smells like vanilla but my Vanilla Essential Oil bottle from Aura Cacia doesn’t!

Then, last week, I read an article that said that there is no such thing as a Vanilla Essential Oil. Imagine my surprise!

I have spent this week digging deeper and while I do not have all the answers yet, what I have realised that the Aura Cacia Vanilla Oil that I bought from Whole Foods is not pure – It is Vanilla in Jojoba Oil. Yes – it clearly states it on the label which I obviously didn’t read while buying.

OK – So, now that makes sense! It makes sense that it is not strong at all. It is so light that it doesn’t even work well when you diffuse it. In my opinion, for what I am paying for – I don’t find it worth buying. Never again.

Here is what I found when I dug deeper. The process of creating essential oil is pretty unique. The article, written by Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve suggests:

“…The International Organization for Standardization, Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, defines an essential oil as “a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials.”  Basically this means that true essential oils must be extracted by physical means only—no solvents of any kind.

Vanilla beans cannot tolerate the heat required for steam distillation, and mechanical pressing will not produce any oil. Vanilla beans need a solvent in order to release their aromatic compounds!  Therefore, they cannot be called essential oils. “

So now I know – There is no such thing as a Vanilla Essential Oil!

There are other ways to get vanilla but they are not always conventional. Here is what you may see in the store:

  • The vanilla scent you buy – like the Aura Cacia vanilla that I bought, is infused in oil – This is perhaps the most common!
  • The Vanilla extract that I use for my waffles is basically created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol. Some extracts may be infused with CO2
  • There are vanilla absolutes which may have petroleum solvent (that doesn’t sound natural!).

Although I have read that vanilla extract may not work well on personal products, I am thinking I could use it to scent my candle. Hoping to make my first candle this weekend. Tell you how it goes….!


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