Saturday, August 07, 2010

Western Juniper

Our most recent distillation was quite successful. Our wild crafters brought a ton of Western Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) leaf for us to distill. We managed to obtain a final yield of 0.62%, that's not bad for Western Juniper. Previous distillations yielded less than 0.5%. Previous to distilling Western Juniper, we distilled Bay Laurel Leaf (Laurus nobilis). The oil is exquisite. The best Bay Laurel oil I've experienced (if I do say so myself!). The branches were brought to the distillery by someone here in Portland, who was pruning her fast growing tree. This is not something we will distill on a regular basis unfortunately. However, it is something I love to distill. The last time I distilled Bay Laurel was on the Island of Syros, in Greece. We did manage to produce 2 ounces of gorgeous essential oil and ten gallons of fragrant hydrosol.


Josee said...

Great site. I stumbled on your site as i was writing posts after i harvested and distilled wild lavender in the mountains in Daluis, north of Nice in the south of France. Since you seem to be so passionate about distillation, check it out and make sure to click on the video and photos links as i took tons of pictures.

Distiller said...

Hi Josee,
Thanks for the great link. I'll share it on my Facebook page as well!

It looks like a fabulous experience.
Is this something you do every year?

Fr. Martin said...

I'm just getting into distillation. I've done lots of lavender and mugwort (artemesia vulgaris), some incense cedar. I got some California Bay and want to distill it. Do you recommend drying and/or chopping it first or firing it up fresh and whole?

I appreciate this blog.

Fr. Martin

Distiller said...

Hi Fr. Martin.
Please, do not distill California Bay. I made that error when I was just beginning. It caused an outrageous headache.
You can test this for yourself, by crushing a leaf and placing it in one of your nostrils. Have the peppermint and lavender oils handy...
For Mugwort, Lavender and incense cedar; they can be distilled dry or fresh. Gently dry them if you must and do not crush the leaves to avoid oil loss.
Happy distilling!!