It all starts with growing our lavender plants on the farm in Wānaka. Harvesting the lavender at just-past their peak flowering, we put the fresh flowers into our custom-made still to create pure lavender essential oils.
What are Lavender Essential Oils?
Lavender essential oils capture the "essence" of the lavender plant through steam distillation. These oils are concentrated extracts that retain, or magnify the fragrance and effect of their floral source. Oils from different cultivars of lavender can vary with different chemical compositions, this changes the fragrance and effects on the body and mind.
So, how does the distillation process work?
We put our lavender flowers in a large stainless-steel pot above a body of water that is heated up. The steam that rises from the boiling water is then pulled through the lavender flowers by a vacuum (negative atmosphere), allowing essential oils in the flowers to vaporise. The subsequent vaporised oil and water then travels through the condensing chamber, allowing the vapour to cool and turn back into liquid.
The liquid enters the separator as a mix of essential oil and floral water (also known as hydrosol). As it settles, the oil rises to the top and can be tapped off as pure essential oil. While the heavier floral water sinks and can also be tapped off. Any leftover floral water can be recycled back through the reflux as water to join the process all over again.
Our essential oil is bottled in its purest form. At the farm, we use the oil in many of our hand-made lavender products, as well as in some of the treats in the tearoom. The Grosso and Super varieties are amazing for a number of uses, such as for a bath, or a diffuser. The Pacific Blue and Violet Intrigue oils are great culinary oils that can be added to food as flavouring.
The fragrant floral water also has a home as an ingredient in a number of goods that we make. And it is a wonderfully versatile product that we sell in a bottle, to be used by our guests in any way - as a mister, toner, fragrance, room spray, soft furnishing refresher.
If you want to see for yourself our distilling process in action at the farm, you will often see Tim or Stef running it from January until March and they always love a chat if you want to learn more.