Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 93 ~ Gardenia Hydrosol

A few days ago I steam distilled about a half pound of gardenia flowers picked fresh from the bushes out back. Today I'm going to talk about how that turned out.

The project began as a steam distillation of star jasmine flowers, but because I was raiding the neighbor's jasmine, even with permission, I still felt guilty, like I as up to no good, so I stopped and focused on what was in my own garden, and that's when I noticed the gardenia in the backyard just popping with snow white flowers. I've been kind of detached from what's going on in my own garden this spring because of housemate issues (not the ones in my apartment, but those living upstairs in their own apartments) that got a little weirdly territorial for a while. Everything is okay now but I've been reluctant to go out and tend to the plants out there. Some people, no matter their age, never grow up, never learn basic social protocol, and never learn boundaries.

I am the only tenant in the building who tends the gardens, front and back. I sow, I reap, they enjoy the view.

Moving along ~ I plucked enough gardenia to fill the steam chamber of the al embic, I didn't want these gardenia floating in water (the picture shows them filling the water chamber but that's because  I was gathering them and placing them into the water chamber -- like a basket) because I felt it was the best method if I was to get anything out of them at all.

A few hours later, and I have a lovely miron bottle about two-thirds full of gardenia water.

From the bottle, the gardenia hydrosol smells green, a bit murky, like leaves and soil, then it quickly dissipates to reveal a very light, very sheer, pale gardenia scent -- heady, sweet, creamy, floral, like the scent of gardenia on a cool spring breeze. Light tuberose notes flit about, something warm and honied, sweet, like the tip of the tongue on a ripe muscato grape.

I don't know if this hydrosol is strong enough for scenting purposes as it is very light and delicate, but I think I might use it as a pre-moisturizing skin toner.

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