Tag Archives: essential oil

Distillation Manipulations

Ylang ylang blossoms

In my blog post about naturals (Part 1), I talked briefly about distillation. Distillation is the process whereby we get nearly all of our essential oils, cold-process being the other method that is used for citrus oils. In many cases, distillation begins at the beginning and continues to the end with temperatures and timing strictly controlled for highest quality and to yield a blend of desirable constituents. Various combinations of distillation techniques may be used to adjust oils, remove undesirable components, and otherwise produce a desirable and commercial product.

Fractional Distillation

In the case of the ylang ylang flower, the distillation process is interrupted at very particular times to yield different products. The distillation of ylang ylang is an example of fractional distillation. By timing the distillation carefully, four different fractions can be separately created. Generally referred to as ylang ylang extra, ylang ylang I, II and III they are quite different in fragrance with the extra being quite sweet and ethereal for perfumery while the 3rd is more suited to making soaps, the other fractions are less commonly used. Over the course of about 24 hours, distillers interrupt the process and pull off each fraction separate from the others. During the first 1 to 2 hours the essential oil is collected and separated as the ‘Extra’. Using experience, fragrance, and specific gravity measurements distillers remove the other fractions in their time. Or, distillers may simply continue the distillation uninterrupted to create the ‘complete’ which is sometimes referred to as ylang ylang VOP or Very Old Process.

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Customer Service and Customer Loyalty: Two Sides of the Same Coin

fancy hibiscus

The call came yesterday morning – the readout on my phone said “Johnny Patchouli.” I get a call about once a year in the spring from Johnny.  It started about five years ago at a small green market in south Miami in a part of town that was a mix of the new and the old, the good and the bad. We were selling soap and essential oils and that’s where Johnny Patchouli got his first bottle.  He came back the next year and got three or four and even brought a friend. We chatted a bit about his work in the community. We had several faithful patchouli customers those few years we did the market. One homeless gentleman would come occasionally, shake a few drops out of our test bottle into his hand, take a quick patchouli bath and be on his way.

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