Essential oils are distilled from aromatic plants to produce perfume. The distillation process involves passing steam through aromatic plants or flowers into tubing connected to a closed container called a condensation tank. Two distillations are required to separate the oil from the water. Perfume oil is stored in closed containers until it has properly aged. Perfume is then created from a combination of essential oils.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Heat source with thermostat
- Water supply
- Distillation pot
- 20 feet of 1-inch copper tubing
- Copper fittings
- Cool water bath
- Cool water tank
- Distillate receiver
Place the still pot over the heat source. For a large-scale distillery, copper is the still pot of choice. Smaller, or home-scale distilleries, often use glass still pots.
Connect your source of spring or distilled water to the still pot. Use three parts water to one part plant or flower material for distilling.
Connect copper tubing to the top of the still pot, using copper fittings. Make certain the connection is airtight to prevent leakage.
Run the tubing through a cool water bath, such as a vat of water.
Connect the tubing to the distillate receiver. The essential oils, along with a small amount of water, are collected in the distillate receiver.
Place the distillate receiver in a cool water tank. Your still is complete and ready for operation.
Tips and warnings
- Collect perfume flowers or plant materials early in the morning, preferably before 11 a.m. Aromatic flowers and plants are highest in essential oil content during the cool of the day before the sun evaporates a portion of the oils.
- Plastic tubing may be substituted for copper tubing. If using plastic tubing, seal with an antimicrobial tube fitting--available from most home builders supply stores.
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