The blackcurrant bush is grown extensively in central and northern Europe for its berries, which are generally used in jellies and as flavours for ice creams, yoghurts and alcoholic beverages. In some regions, especially in Burgundy, the bushes are pruned during the winter months. The cuttings already contain the hibernating buds. These buds, in the form of alcoholic tinctures, were used for a long time to enhance the flavour of the juice of the berries, especially after the juice had been stored for a few months.
In the last decade, an important portion of the buds also has been converted into an absolute. The solvent extraction yields 2-4% of a concrete, which gives about 80% of the absolute. This absolute serves largely the same purpose as the alcoholic infusion, namely as flavour enhancer, and in recent years is also used as a major ingredient in some luxury fragrances.
The absolute, in the form of a dark green paste, has a very characteristic, penetrating and powerful odour.