Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Run of White Sage Hydrosol

The first run of the new community still was a partial failure -- partial in that I may have ruined the 'heads' (if they're called that in hydro/oil distillation) by boiling the pot too hot, and ending up with an initial two-quart jar of yellowish hydrosol with a nice layer of essential oil on top -- or that could just be a result of filling the pot too full. There is quite a learning curve here as I'm distilling higher volume at one time than I ever have before. A 2L copper stove top pot behaves nothing like a 30L steel pot. I caught some crap from a few old-time distillers of hydrosols who said my hydrosol wouldn't be good distilled in steel -- I beg to differ, though, as one of the very best distillers in the USA uses steel and her distillations are top drawer and highly sought after. I compensated not having a solid copper pot by inserting my freshly scrubbed 2L copper retort right into the pot of the steel still. Plus the column on the steel pot is solid copper. There's copper touching the end product at every turn!

Anyway, I am a little bit disappointed with some aspects of this first run, but I'm pleased with others. This is something I'm going to have practice using to work out all of the kinks.

Some of the yellowish oil-drenched heads of this distillation session went into a batch of soap in which only the hydrosol and 4 milliliters of freshly distilled white sage essential oil was used. It is out of this world fragrant, and frankly, making me a bit sick of smelling white sage! Upside? There isn't an evil spirit within a mile of this house ~ ha! Downside? It does nothing to repel the nosy people living in this house from offering their unwarranted and unwanted opinions pertaining to the art of distillation. As if watching Moonshiners twice has made them an expert in the field of hydrosol distillation.

The soap is pretty. I used more of that luscious mica -- blue this time -- to color the soap, and I'm calling it Sky. Something about white sage that really opens things up. It makes one feel relaxed, as if pressure has been lifted, and it has an airiness to it. Some of its chemical constituents include 1,8-cineole, camphor, B-pinene, a-pinene, some weird symbol-carene, camphene, limonene, myrcene, terpinolene, and borneol. It's the cineole that's responsible for alleviating symptoms of asthma and other respiratory things, like coughing and mucus build-up. Bleh. The oil displays some anti-inflammatory action, so I'm thinking maybe using some oil in a chest rub? The soap should do well for folks with breathing problems, especially during the flu season. A nice steamy shower and a bar of stinky white sage soap? Could be the beginning of a nice day.

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