Distilling, the art of extracting 100% pure essential oil de lavender
Distilling a plant means you drive steam through the flower to carry off its essential oil.
You pile lavender flowers in a vessel, through which steam rises, and this steam carries off the essence of the flower. The steam-essence mixture rises through the goose-neck condensation tube, called in French the “col-de-cygne” (which means “swan neck) where it cools off and becomes liquid. The liquid mixture goes into a separator (in French – a “vase florentin”, or Florentine flask) where it settles. The essential oil rises to the top, for it is lighter than water. The essence-infused water remains at the bottom for it is heavier than the oil. The separator has two taps – the one at the top to draw off the essential oil, and the lower tap to draw off the distilled water, also known as hydrosol, a therapeutic by-product of distillation. This floral water can be used in cosmetics and for certain therapeutic treatments.
Distillation of our true lavender is always the highlight of the year. Distillation is truly the reward for a year’s efforts in growing lavender. True lavender flowers only once a year.
It is important to distill when the flowers are at their optimum maturity. To choose just the right date, Jack counts the number of flowers and rubs the flower between his fingers to determine if the time has come. The fresh-cut flowers are left in windrows in the field for two or three days. There, they dry in the sun prior to going to the distillery.
We use rain water to create the steam to distill our true lavender – the quality of the water is essential! Steam distillation is a gentler way to distill. And it does not soak the plants, which can then later serve as fuel for the fire, or as mulch to protect the soil from the summer heat and winter cold. To obtain fine, light essence, the steam must not be hotter than 100 degrees Centigrade. Generally speaking, it takes 130 kilos of flowers to make one litre of essential oil.
We are very proud of the fact that we distill only true lavender. We do not distill any other variety of lavender or any other plants. Our commitment is uncompromising, our quality irreproachable.