Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2016

"Lemonade" Distillation

Here in NZ winter citrus grow in abundance in my garden. One citrus I planted 4 years ago in my converted paddock is 'Lemonade", which is a hybrid citrus. I t is a cross between a lemon and a sweet mandarin (Citrus limon x. reticualta).  Some authors refer to it as C. limon x sinensis (here) It is a popular citrus in NZ and in Queensland. This is the first year I have had an abundance of fruit. We use the juice to make either home-made lemonade or a version of lemoncello which we enjoy over ice. T his is the first time I have been able to distil the fruit for hydrosols. In aromatherapy most citrus fruits are expellar pressed after squeezing for juice. the essential oil is present in little oil sacs just under the rind- clearly visible here on the photo of the orange. Some citrus are steam distilled for essential oils which helps minimise phototoxicity. Essential oils are also produced from blossom (orange blossom or neroli) and the leaves and twigs (petitgrain). Howe

Goodbye sweet osmanthus- come again soon!

So after 4 weeks of consecutive flowering of my osmanthus bushes, starting at one of the line and working their way down (each bush flowering after the other one), I have harvested the last of the usable blossoms for a final distillation. With the previous experimental distillations I added a base aromatic to try and bind the fragrance together. this one I wanted to keep very light and fresh, in memory of the beautiful autumn we are experiencing in Palmerston North. So the hydrosol base was a commercial lemon verbena (which did not have the essential oil removed). In to the still went the osmanthus flowers and the last of the heavily fragrant lemon blossoms. I now have around 500 ml of lovely (slightly cloudy) light, citrus and floral hydrosol just for me to enjoy! I hope you have enjoyed my osmanthus experimentations- hydro-distilling is such a lovely pastime and takes very little effort and even with only small amounts of aromatics you can create something quite bespoke.

Heavenly Scents from the garden-various versions!

I often co distil where I use a commercially produced hydrosol as a base (usually lemon geranium or lavender) and redistil with fragrant plant materials. I often to this when I don't have enough of the raw material to make a decent single distillation. For this experiment I decided to mix it up totally to try and create something completely different. As with all of my distillations I do not attempt to remove any of the essential oil which may be present. I only use a small copper alembic still (3 litre). For this complete fragrance experience I first prepared the base hydrosol, using lemon geranium hydrosol from a commercial distillation and re distilled this by itself (2 litres hydrosol to obtain 1 litre more concentrated hydrosol). If you are not familiar with lemon geranium it has a sweet, honey like quality to the aroma. In to this I added the following my garden: osmanthus blossoms lemon blossom rose geranium leaves (young tips only) dried Rosa damascena blossom fr

Abundant Osmanthus Second Distillation

Autumn has brought with it some welcome rain, however the air temperatures have still been quite pleasant with daily averages in the low 20's (Celsius). The Osmanthus hedge is now covered in tiny white fragrant flowers and I am entering the second stage of my experimentation with this flower. I am wanting to make a intense an aroma as possible using the still. I don't have the time or expertise to make and haven't yet sourced perfumers alcohol to try a tincture. For this distillation I decided to do a total immersion (hydro) distillation with double the amount of flowers as my first attempt. I picked the flowers in the evening (it had been raining) so left them on a paper towel spread out over night to dry out totally. As I was trying to condense the aroma as much as possible I decided to distil using previous versions of osmanthus hydrosol. The Stats 60 gm of fresh flowers picked 14 hours earlier 125gm of osmanthus hydrosol distilled 1 week ago (th

A moment of Absolute Joy- Osmanthus fragrans flowering!

perfect osmanthus harvesting footwear! Some of the hedge Upclose with the tiny white flowers For those who have followed my blog and aromatic musings you will know full well the heartfelt disappointment when the (expensive) Osmanthus fragrans trees I planted in the summer of 2012 failed to produce anything  (detailed here from 2015). I t appeared that I had been sold the wrong variety of plants as they seemed misnamed. Today (Easter Monday) there had been a light shower and I was showing some visiting out of town friends the growth and plantings in my garden since they last visited more than a year ago. Low and behold I was met with the most precious site of hundreds of tiny pinhead sized white flowers and the most divine aroma wafting up in the soft breeze. My osmanthus has flowered!!! Closer inspection showed that the bush was covered in the flowers-only one bush in the hedge of 5, but it was a great sight. Added to organza bags ti steam distill 31 gm (2/3 c

Rose-the quintessential giver of fragrance

Shakespeare has this to say about the rose...In Act II, Scene II [ 1 ] of the play, the line is said by Juliet in reference to Romeo's house, Montague which would imply that his name means nothing and they should be together. Juliet: O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet. Romeo: [Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? Juliet: 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet ; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee Take all mysel

Experimenting with Myrtle-Myrtus communis.

Myrtle hydro distillation and absolute production attempt January 2016. Happy new year!   A couple of days ago I noticed a very fragrant bush in my parents garden covered in small white flowers. turns out it is a Myrtle, Myrtus communis Varigata . I decided to see what I could create from it. Their tree was a bit odd though as it started out as a variagated bush and in recent years new leaves were not fully green. lower branches still had variagted leaves. it hasn’t been grafted. the scent was most prominent in the early evening. Coconut infused Myrtle blossom   I decided to use the flowers for my first attempt at an absolute production. I harvested by hand approximately 100 gm of flower heads and pressed them into organic coconut oil. Straight away I realised of course that my lovely high quality coconut oil had it’s own delicious fragrance. However I persevered and impregnated the coconut oil with 2 batches of petals/flower heads. Due to the heat here in summer in N