Thursday, September 09, 2010

Star Rio Red California Grapefruit Essential Oil

This is from the first flush. The initial 3 or 4 hours of steam distillation of Star Rio Red California grapefruit. Less than 8 mls, with nearly 2 mls of oil.

Process ~

Thoroughly clean copper al embic (again), run 95% grain alcohol through receiver tubing, set aside to dry.

Cut 5 to 6 large Star Rio Red California grapefruit into quarters, toss into food processor and macerate until it is a mash. Add 2 cups of purified water to the mash to loosen it up. Pour the mash into clean, dry copper al embic retort. Add 2 quarts purified water and stir.

Connect top of al embic to retort and seal with rye flour paste. Connect goose neck to coil tubing and seal connection with rye flour paste. Connect coil tubing and receiver tubing and place receiver tubing over the opening or into the opening of a clean colored glass bottle. Fill coil container with cool water and set up cool running water system. Set al embic over a flame separated by an open ended aluminum can of sufficient strength and size (large refried bean can is perfect).


Wait some more.

After four hours of waiting, 8 mls of fluid is discovered in the colored glass bottle receiver, with 2 mls of luscious red grapefruit steam distilled essential oil floating on top.

Felt as if I was at loggerheads with some of my current projects ~ the Academy's upcoming new course session, rewriting the text book for the course, being involved in two formulation challenges, rethinking the aesthetic of TSD, keeping the Etsy site stocked, and still managing to do the things I really love, like experimenting with distillation, creating custom perfumes and guiding new NBP's through consultations. Nothing, it seemed, was getting done. I even let a whole bag of freshly whacked rose geranium leaves dry up and die because I couldn't find the energy to distill them. What a waste. School started and so did the illnesses. Bugs, bugs, bugs abound! The kids bring them home, I catch them, and we play toss with them until they've exhausted our immune systems. And then the kids bring home a new one. This will go on until June 2011 . . . yay. But, I was finally able to clear a few things away and the jam --um-- unjammed and things are running smoothly (or as smoothly as they get 'round here) again.

The formulation challenges were really getting me down. One was a recreation of what might have been worn 4000 years ago based on the items found at the ancient perfumery in Cyprus. It's not easy to create a perfume, or at least a something that we would call a perfume, with just 13 or 14 seemingly ordinary raw materials. This was just as challenging as a project requiring 35 or 40 essences, at least with that many to choose from, surely something wonderful would come of it? It took some time and some tweaking, but I think I've finally struck upon something that I feel comfortable allowing to leave the house and into the hands of the other participants of the challenge. I think of it as an agrestic amber, something denoting the flora and fauna of a Mediterranean island. Olive oil included. The other challenge was just as challenging, but in a different way. We were supplied the brief and based on the brief I came up with-- nothing-- at first, then I got stuck on the tea route again, reworking and reformulating until I came up with something I'd like to be showered in. There may come a time, perhaps after a bit more reformulation, that the results of this perfume challenge will debut as a permanent fixture on TSD as it incorporates some of my very favorite notes, and, of course, I feel compelled to share. Compelled. Yeah.

In celebration of the fact that I finally managed to drag my shaggy bum off the recliner and distill a batch of red grapefruit, I will give away 1 ml for a bit of your "Where's Waldo?" expertise ~ no, I don't know nor care about where Waldo is hiding, but I do want you to tell me what is different about the two pictures in this post. Leave your comments and the winner of the sample vial of fresh Star Rio Red California grapefruit will be chosen next Thursday, 16 September.

Good luck.


  1. HaHa I got this, the second picture has a cork screw bottle with green liquid.

  2. Anonymous10:13 AM

    That corked bottle isn't in the first pic ~ B

  3. I dare say, there's a bottle with brown/dark green liquid in the second photo! Also the photo is taken from a slightly different angle, as the position of the WLA bottle in the background is not the same.

  4. This sounds lovely! You have to snap pics of the distillation process next time. :^)

    Differences on the photos:
    1. pic shot at different angle
    2. corked bottle in second pic

  5. I arrived late ...



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