Distilling Know-How: Learn by Doing
Last week I explained that a master distiller needs to know the temperature necessary to get
maximum extraction from plant material without damaging the oil. Today I will share some of those temperatures. Lavender, 240 degrees. Balsam, 280 degrees. Frankincense, 260 degrees. Melissa, 220 degrees. All of these are critical factors that are not taught in a school. How did I learn them? By doing them.
I also had to learn what temperature to keep the condenser at while distilling. Examples: Lavender, 80 degrees. Melissa, 110 degrees. You have to know what temperature to maintain in the separator for different oils to ensure the best separation recovery.
I built my first distillery in 1989. Second one, 1993. That is my third distillery in 1993. The fourth one, 1994.
You see that little lady right there in the red shirt? Guess who she is? She was a member and she heard a rumor that there was no such thing as a stainless steel distillery in America. She wanted to check out this dude who was talking about essential oils; so she got on a plane, flew all the way to Spokane, and came out to the farm to see if it was for real. And you know what, I caught her out in the field planting clary sage. That lady is Mary. But when I saw her planting, I thought, golly, is there any chance, is there any chance, is there any chance? But I was too afraid to ask. (I will always be grateful that I finally DID ask!)