Sunday, July 13, 2008

Greetings from Naxos

I spent the last month (June) distilling on the island of Syros in the Cyclades. I distilled rosemary, helichrysum, geranium and Bay Laurel. The Rose Geranium reacted with the copper of my Alembic distiller. The oil was initially clear but shortly turned into a "day-glow" green. This was easily remedied by adding citric acid to the oil, which precipitated the copper creating copper citrate. After decanting, the oil was the expected green color. I was pleased with the yield of oil from the Bay Laurel. The oil was on the low end of the expected yield (probably due to the wrong harvest time for the leaves), but it is extremely nice aromatically. The hydrosols are quite pleasant. I have sent the oils and waters off for analysis. Pictures will be added once I return to the USA in September. I'm currently on the island of Naxos Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades. Unlike the other islands, there is plenty of water here. there are many lush (relatively speaking) green valleys here. Among the plants I've found here for potential distillation are: Vitex, rosemary, cypress, Jerusalem sage and lots of helichrysum. From here I'm headed to Chios to view the Mastic harvest and hopefully distillation of the essential oil. Then off to Crete for the Rock Rose (Cistus) resin harvest. I'll post photos as soon as possible. Kalo kalokairi!!


papalazarou said...

Hi guy, if you're coming to Crete you just have to come to The Lavender Way - the only organic lavender farm in Crete and share your knowledge - we have our lavender distilled by a great guy called Babbis - maybe you'd like an introduction?

Distiller said...

Dear papalazarou,
I would love to visit Lavender Way.
I plan to be in Crete in about 2 weeks, sailing from Marmaris.

Looking forward to meeting you and Babbis.
The Guerilla Distiller

papalazarou said...

Look forward to seeing you here. Email me and I'll give you our phone number. What's your itinerary?

See the farm here:

and the distillation here:

Distiller said...

Hi papa,
I plan to be on Crete about August 9th. I'm sailing. Where do you suggest we take the boat?

When I get in Greek waters, my cellphone will work again.
Until then, please contact me at:

Hoping to see you soon,

Isobel Brown said...

This is fascinating! We've just come back from Crete (Sfakia), we go there every year but hadn't realised they were distilling oils/festivals, would love to know more! Lavender Way? Roses? Great! We have family connections to a farm growing intensely perfumed rose and tuberose (rad ki rani) plants in Northern Pakistan and looking to get into distillation. Trying to find out more about Peter Wilde (we're based in the UK) and Florasol, more about distillation in general. Just contacted your business in the States by phone and they gave me yr email - will email separately.
best wishes, kalo taxidi, Isobel and Zia Chaudhary

info said...

Well, am I pleased to hear that about dayglo green in your rose geranium - I though I had discovered a new type with azulene! Until I put some Eucalyptus through and that had azulene as well! Sure enough had a good look and in the onion dome saw it was reacting. Did you put citric acid inthe distillate or in the water?

Distiller said...

I put the citric acid directly into the essential oil.

One thing you can do, is have the inside of your still tinned. This is normally done for rose oil distillers.