The absolute or tincture is used in natural perfumery. It is a dark red gold colour. Saffron is obtained from the flowers of the crocus sativa. The crocus sativa is light purple itself but the thread like stamens are deep red. It is these stamens that are the saffron. Saffron is harvested in the Autumn, then the labourious work of separating the stamens from the flowers begins. Imagine that it takes 70,000 pounds of flowers to yield just one pound of the spice. The odor of saffron is reminiscent of the sea air.
The spice is used to flavour and add a yellow colour to rice. It is also used as a a natural dye for fabrics.