The distiller’s role is vital in producing good quality essential oils. The art of distillation requires precise judgement in the amount of heat, pressure of steam and length of distillation necessary to achieve the desired end-product. Barn & Potter Distillery uses water distillation method and the steam distillation process accordingly to isolate the essential oil molecules from the plant material.
The distillation process to obtain essential oil produces various by-products. Sometimes, the essential oil becomes a secondary product because of the sheer amount of by-product produced. For instance, the distillation of rose yields 80% of rose water but only 20% of concentrated essential oil.
In one of the mountain districts in the town of Kazanlik, Bulgaria, the roses are hand-picked by farmers in the morning before sunrise (between 5am to 7am), as this is the period that the flowers bloom and the oil content is at its highest.
It is always best to harvest the rose petals while the dew is still on them, before the heat of the day causes the precipitation to evaporate into the atmosphere. Roses are placed into sacks and careful treatment is given to these harvests, so as not to bruise the delicate rose petals. Once arrived at the distillery, the sacks of rose petals are unloaded from the trailer and left on the cool concrete floor for slight fermentation before the distillation process, to produce floral waters (also known as ‘hydrolats’ or hydrosol).