In the perfumery sense, absinthe does not refer to the famous alcoholic beverage that has incited controversy throughout the ages for its supposed hallucinogenic properties. Rather, absinthe refers to the fragrances and aromas that are characteristic of not only the alcohol, but of the source for which the alcohol receives its key ingredient — wormwood. The accords, notes, nuances, and hints found in perfumery, which are labelled as absinthe or wormwood, are largely extracts of the wormwood plant. The most notable of these extracts, as well as the most commonly used, is the essential oil of wormwood. This oil is prized for its starkly aromatic qualities, that carry heavy and inviting notes of bitter green facets. The aroma carries elements that are associated with the scent of angelica, and with the various aromatically inclined vermouth liquors.

Other materials that may be used either in conjunction with wormwood extracts, or on their own, to convey the theme of absinthe in compositions, include elements derived from two materials: green anise, and sweet fennel. Almost always they are used in combination with woodworm oil to create a complete absinthe aroma, although sometimes they are used alone to add subtle hints to a mixture.