The Still

Distilling Lavender Oil is one of my favourite things in the world! It is a very complex process but the result is like bottle of healing and fragrant, liquid gold! 

The Crop

It starts with our organic lavender. When its time for the harvest the first thing you notice is the fragrance, the second thing is the intense colour and the third is the buzzing of hundreds of bees and butterflies. The plants are ready when one third of the buds is closed, one third is in bloom and one third slightly dry and overripe. If you have a lavender bush in your garden, check your blossoms for those signs to cut them at the right time. And if you are thinking "I don't have any plans of making lavender essential oil, but I'll remember when I get there", then stay tuned!! There is so much you can do with lavender, so it is always worth harvesting and drying it in small amounts. 

The Harvest

We harvest the lavender by hand. I do a lot of it myself but I sometimes am lucky enough to have one of the gardeners Geoff and Matt help and during high season, when the still runs 18h a day I have an angel called Esther help me with the picking and distilling. One bush at a time has to be cut and about for to six bushes of flower heads will fit into the beautiful copper still. Once the still is packed with flowers it has to filled with water. We are lucky enough to have a well on the estate and we can use the most mineral rich and pure well water to distill our oil. 

The Distillation

The still has to be heated up slowly and carefully. The heat inside the body breaks open the pores of the plant, the steam transports the plant essence to the top and is collected in a funnel and cooled in a condenser. In the condenser the steam turns liquid and the flow of aromatic liquid that runs out is called distillate. The distillate consists of hydrosol and essential oil. After four hours of distilling the distillate needs to cool down before the oil can be collected with a pipette. Only forty millilitres of oil are produced this way. By using a different variety and a stainless steel still at high temperatures the yield could be tripled, once you have smelled the incredible and unique aroma of this oil you will fall in love with the fragrance and never return to any other kind of lavender oil. Interestingly the plant smells different at every stage of the process. On the field, cut, distilling, as essential oil and even in the finished products. 

The oil is stored in blue glass bottles in the basement for one year before we use it in the products. It is like a good wine, it needs to age and settle. 

If you want to learn what happens with the oil next please read our moisturiser.

If you want to learn about the benefits of lavender in skincare read lavender essential oil.

If you want to experience the aroma of these plants you can try our products here.

If you have any questions about our products, natural skincare or an organic lifestyle I would love to hear from you. My name is Sophia and you can e-mail me at sophia@newhalllavender.co.uk.