Ramblings on about natural perfumery . . . and other moderately related perfumery stuff, written
by Justine Crane, natural botanical perfumer, olfactogustatorian, writer, alchemist, and owner of The Scented Djinn Apothecary & Thurifercorum
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Cedar, White Sage, and Juniper Distillate
I am running around here like a chicken with it's head cut off. There are so many projects I'm working on, packages I'm sending off, busy work -- I'm happy to be working, but, man, my list of things to do never seems to end. Thank the Universe it's all good work, soul-feeding work. I went back home last week and spent some time with my good friend, Shannon Wing, a Native American medicine woman, and one of the finest gardeners I've had the pleasure of knowing. You should see the little food garden that is literally on her back porch. She's got spaghetti squash climbing her front porch trellis, tomatoes, peppers, Mexican squash, and culinary herbs, like, three steps out the back door. It's incredible. The rest of her yard is comprised of medicinal herbs and sacred herbs, like the white sage you see distilling away up there. The hollyhocks growing in her back 40 are as tall as the peak of the roof! And the bees! Bumbles and honeys, just zipping around everywhere. While 'home', we distilled a straight batch of white sage, which I left with Shannon to help her with her work, then we made a sacred blend of cedar, white sage, and juniper. We split that distillate, and Shannon sent me home with bags of fresh cedar, white sage, and more juniper to finish off here. And that's just what I've done. I have a nice, fresh bottle of a sacred blend co-distillate. As you can see from the picture above, there's a wee bit of copper in the retort. Copper is like waving a magic wand over the distillation. I took my copper al embic with me when I went home, but didn't use it. I think the next batches will be done in the copper, especially those tough leafy bits. Flowers and delicate herbs I'll reserve for the glass. The induction heater doesn't work on glass or copper, thus the steel pan. It works beautifully. Heats up in a flash and distills at a consistent temperature for as long as the time programmed into the machine. Very nice when puttering. Before I left, I made a small batch of cocktail grapefruit distillate, but because of the heating element issues, it burned in the still. The resultant oil was orange smoke, and the hydro was gross. But, that's what you do, right? Experiment, play around with stuff, see what works, what doesn't. But, yeah, next time it's copper.