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Distillation of botanicals

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  • Mike
    Well, it’s been rather quiet on the postings front in the last week or two, so I thought I might throw a couple of ideas into the pot to see what comes out.
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 26, 1999
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      Well, it�s been rather quiet on the postings front
      in the last week or two, so I thought I might throw
      a couple of ideas into the pot to see what comes out.

      I had the pleasure of actually meeting Des (TopKiwi)
      last week. We live in the same city � Auckland � so
      it was perhaps not so strange. Two hours after first
      meeting we realised that we both had homes to go
      to � we could have gone on chatting for hours.

      Anyway, one of the things that came up in conversation
      was the problem that most in this group are severely
      restricted on the practical front. It just ain�t legal to
      distill booze in most countries. Never mind the niceties
      of whether it should be legal or not, we discussed what
      could be done to make life more interesting for this
      majority of group members? Now laws about distilling
      may vary from country to country, and I wouldn�t have
      a clue how they vary in detail, However, most seem to
      have the common theme that it is distillation of ethanol
      for consumption that is the naughty bit.

      All the members of this group have a common interest in
      distilling, but heaven forbid that any of us want to do this
      outside the law. What Des and I wondered is whether any
      members of the group would be interested in distillation of
      botanicals for their flavour, scent, or whatever? If you
      choose to mix the results with home distilled vodka in
      those places where such production is legal, or with
      vodka you buy over the counter in other places, then
      either way your halo should remain firmly attached.

      Personally, my interest in this extends beyond liqueurs
      and schnapps as I love cooking. It would be nice to be
      able to experiment with different herbs etc to produce
      unique essences for flavouring. Others might be interested
      in the perfume side. This is something I have never tried
      myself, so I would be keen to hear from anyone who has
      some experience in procedures, ingredients, etc. Does
      anyone else out there share my interest in this facet of
      distillation? If so, I would be great to hear from you.

      Mike
    • Ray Toms
      Mike Yes I have been interested in this topic as well however as yet havn t had the time to experiment very far. One thing I did do that I would be happy to
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 27, 1999
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        Mike
        Yes I have been interested in this topic as well however as yet havn't
        had the time to experiment very far. One thing I did do that I would be
        happy to share was to make a Eucalyptus oil, what I did was collect
        heaps and heaps of Eucalyptus leaves you need an enormous amount of dry
        matter to get a very small amount of oil and I believe this is fairly
        typical, I added water to the leaves and boiled them up and collected
        the resulting oil/water mixture. I had two problems firstly in trying to
        extract maximum oil I managed to burn the leaves on the bottom of the
        pot and the ellement, it took hours of cleaning to remove the resulting
        black mess. The second problem is seperating the oil from the water in
        the end I simply scooped the oil off the top which results in a lot of
        wasteage. It's not rocket science but if you wanted to do it seriously I
        think I would be suspending a basket inside the pot to avoid the burning
        problem and I believe that old hand cream seperators are ideal for
        removing water. Also I had no idea what variety of Eucalyptus I was
        using, there are varieties which are specified as producing the best
        oil. One other thing you need a pot still, a reflux still will return
        the oils to the pot instead of taking them through the condenser. I want
        to do some experimenting to make a Bombay Saphire Gin, we have tracked
        down the ingredients with the help of one of my customers and I intend
        to soak the botanicals in 80% alcohol from my reflux still and then
        redistill through a pot still which is a more practical refinement of
        the way it is done commercially which is to suspend the botanicals over
        high strength alcohol and steam the alcohol through them.
        Ray

        Mike wrote:

        > Well, it�s been rather quiet on the postings front
        > in the last week or two, so I thought I might throw
        > a couple of ideas into the pot to see what comes out.
        >
        > I had the pleasure of actually meeting Des (TopKiwi)
        > last week. We live in the same city � Auckland � so
        > it was perhaps not so strange. Two hours after first
        > meeting we realised that we both had homes to go
        > to � we could have gone on chatting for hours.
        >
        > Anyway, one of the things that came up in conversation
        > was the problem that most in this group are severely
        > restricted on the practical front. It just ain�t legal to
        > distill booze in most countries. Never mind the niceties
        > of whether it should be legal or not, we discussed what
        > could be done to make life more interesting for this
        > majority of group members? Now laws about distilling
        > may vary from country to country, and I wouldn�t have
        > a clue how they vary in detail, However, most seem to
        > have the common theme that it is distillation of ethanol
        > for consumption that is the naughty bit.
        >
        > All the members of this group have a common interest in
        > distilling, but heaven forbid that any of us want to do this
        > outside the law. What Des and I wondered is whether any
        > members of the group would be interested in distillation of
        > botanicals for their flavour, scent, or whatever? If you
        > choose to mix the results with home distilled vodka in
        > those places where such production is legal, or with
        > vodka you buy over the counter in other places, then
        > either way your halo should remain firmly attached.
        >
        > Personally, my interest in this extends beyond liqueurs
        > and schnapps as I love cooking. It would be nice to be
        > able to experiment with different herbs etc to produce
        > unique essences for flavouring. Others might be interested
        > in the perfume side. This is something I have never tried
        > myself, so I would be keen to hear from anyone who has
        > some experience in procedures, ingredients, etc. Does
        > anyone else out there share my interest in this facet of
        > distillation? If so, I would be great to hear from you.
        >
        > Mike

        --
        Ray Toms Moonshine Supplies, Taupo. New Zealand.
        http://moonshine.co.nz
        Home Brewing Equipment and Suppliers.
        Specialists in all aspects of Home Distillation and Wine/Beer Making.
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