essence (

     n 1: the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some
          idea or experience: "the gist of the prosecutor's
          argument"; "the heart and soul of the Republican Party";
          "the nub of the story" [syn: kernel, substance, core,
           center, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness,
           marrow, meat, nub, pith, sum, nitty-gritty]
     2: any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant
        properties of a plant or drug or other natural product
        from which it is extracted
     3: the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
        [syn: effect, burden, core, gist]
     4: a toiletry that emits and diffuses a fragrant odor [syn: perfume]