The dry kernel (seed), nutmeg, typically contains between 8% and 15% of essential oil obtained by steam distillation. The chief constituents of the aromatic oil are terpenes, mainly sabinene and ß-pinene but the important fragrance and flavor constituents or aromatic ethers, which are found in the small oxygenated portion, are myristicin which can be produced synthetically, safrole, elemicin and iso-elemicin. Nutmeg oil is a colorless, pale yellow or pale green liquid with an odor and taste of the spice. Nutmeg oil is mainly used in flavorings, especially for soft drinks (colas in general, such as Coca-Cola) and meat products. It is used in cosmetics and toiletries because of its aromatic properties, especially in men's fragrances, as well as in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals (such as Vicks Vaporub) and in flavoring tobacco. Mace oil (Mace is aril of nutmeg seed) possesses almost identical physiochemical and organoleptic properties as nutmeg oil. Mace oil is also used in perfumes and flavorings.
Nutmeg oleoresins, obtained by solvent extraction from the dried spice of nutmeg, are used in colorings and flavorings in the food industry. The extracted spice oleoresin is a direct competitor of the dry spice.