Thursday, 10 June 2010
Distillation - The new season nears
Next week my birthday June 16th coincides with the peak of the rose harvest in Bulgaria. From June and the distillation it takes until September as filtration and settlement proceeeds for Sp to receive the next batch of Rose Otto. This we market for sale as an essential oil, as a blend mixed with argentine Jojoba (the ideal perfume base) or inclusion in Sp's Essentia skincare.
Plans are in hand to call into our Rose Otto suppliers near Grasse in August to see how things are going. We'll also be calling into old friends in the Lavender business who are esteemed as the best essential oil agents for aromatherapy and who grow in the far south near the pyranees.
France at one time allowed herbal treatments to be prescribed free by doctors and from this time there is a wealth of research and expertise though much has been forgotten. It is one of my points when challenged about the evidence for therapeutic properties of herbal medicine that much scientific research has been done particularly in Lyons and Paris but so much has been forgotten! What is preserved in Gattefosse and Valnets books is the tip of the iceberg. Fortunately there is much current scientific interest in aromatherapy particularly in the USA. Jane Buckles work in inspiring the training nearly 2000 US nurses in aromatherapy in the last decade is testimony to that. Find out more
The South of France is also ideal triathlon country with plenty of room and opportunity cycling, swimming and running training for the active and also so peaceful for the less active so there is something for all the family to enjoy.
This is not to say that English Lavender doesnt have a lot going for it with more and more dedicated producers now England is getting more sunshine and English producers have great integrity. However there is nothing to equal French Lavender for price and quality simply because of the latitude at which the Lavender is produced. To see what I mean Lavender of equivalent quality is produced in the southern hemisphere in Tasmania at the same latitude.
French Lavender has its problems with drought which England does not!! (At least until this year, 2010 looks to be the dryest for the UK since 1929). On the other hand for the high ester content which aromatherapists esteem Franch producers have obvious advantages simply because they are producing and more importantly distilling at comparitively high altitude. Pictured is a classic 'officinalis' being charged and produced from the stalks and flowers.
You can tell a lot about an essential oil agent by the way he pronounces the word 'officionalis'. Try as he might a sentimental note will creep into his voice because it is an oil which is produced by all the family by dedicated producers with a real love of what they are doing.
Posted by Ian Brealey at 15:27