The lilac quest - part two 2013

    The lilac quest - part two 2013

    post #1 of 30
    Thread Starter 

    First go at the lilac was last year in 2012 here....http://www.basenotes.net/t/300347/an-enfleurage-question-about-lilac-flowers

    The lilac wine matured for a year.... and it was disgusting.... lol

    It is nearly that time again. The weather is a bit sunnier and this year it is going to be an amateur distilling experiment... please bear in mind that I have never done this before... and you ARE allowed to laugh and suggest better.

    We have a graham condenser, a still head, a scrounged vegetable steamer with a cut hole in the top and a funnel glued onto it. None of it fits together so I meant to order heatproof silicone piping but ended up getting some ordinary green pipe from the local tropical fish shop. The tank is cold water, a frozen freezer block and a top of a fish pump that has been recommissioned for a while. (The fish have another one).

    This is all hanging in a wonderful Heath Robinson way from a childs highchair and an artist easel on top of a kitchen table.... we will see.

    It did work after a fashion....

    It made three types of hydrosol.

    Left was the charred drip back into the steamer.

    Centre was the coloured dripback from the still head that had landed in the drip tray within the steamer. It smelled the most lilaccy but not very nicely.

    The right was the pure hydrosol and it smelled quite wonderfully of....

    glue and plastic!!!!

    I shall be back with attempt no 2 after some readjustments.... lol


    Edited by mumsy - 5/19/13 at 4:02pm
    post #2 of 30

    Good try Mate!

    post #3 of 30
    The lilacs here have just finished for the most part. Sigh. I was considering whether or not macerating them in either Everclear or a light oil might extract a nice fragrance, but I didn't attempt an experiment. Best of luck on your attempt, Mumsy.
    post #4 of 30

    I admire your persistence mumsy; good luck.

    post #5 of 30
    Thread Starter 

    @Curly11 - One of the nicest things I did last year with lilac if yours are nearly over was to fill a large plastic water bottle with fresh blooms and filled it up with sparkling spring water. Left it for 24 hours and then strained it. The most delightful summers drink with just a hint of the aroma and flavour.

    OK take two was already early this morning over a coffee. I now have a steep learning curve race with nature. I put the proper two tiers on top so the lid fitted better, lost a pipe joint and just ran the whole thing with plain water to see what smells we already had.... It was pretty yukky. I think I am distilling plastic pipes rather nicely.

    It leaks terribly but I have bought oodles of glassware online and we will see what that does when it arrives here. I just have to see how to fetch it as it is three hours away in blinkin Norfolk.... daft.....

    What I don't quite understand is what the steam still head function is. The steam would get into the condenser more easily without it. Does it take the colour out? Any scientists here?

    post #6 of 30
    Thread Starter 

    Here is a video link to the first attempt

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5rewReiL48

    I don't mind one bit if you laugh.....The attractive gaffa tape was not me....but a helpful member of my family and now there is sticky glue all over my still.

    I'm not deadly serious about this - but I would love to obtain something like a half decent hydrosol at the least. Only because it is there for the doing.

    post #7 of 30

    I'm not sure if it's too late, but from what little I know of collecting delicate aromas through small scale distillation the crucial thing is to have an all-glass / stainless steel arrangement - otherwise what you collect is the scent of the plastic, rubber and so on joining the bits of glass.

    I've also heard that using vacuum distillation makes the whole thing easier: that was in the context of making gin but I think the same principle applies here. No idea what one of those costs, but I'm told it's cheaper than a traditional copper gin-still . . . which probably doesn't make it cheap!

    post #8 of 30
    Thread Starter 

    I've run a couple of clear runs and warm plastic is indeed what I am distilling. This set up has certainly made my scientist friend wince badly... lol

    Fine for steaming veg but not for fine chemistry.... The green pipe was meant to be silicone but I don't know if that is any better. I am picking up some proper glass gear on Thursday afternoon so I hope my blossoms don't wither before then... I should have tried this before they bloomed.... I can see this experiment lasting till 2014 at this rate.

    Anyone fancy a modern plastic accord in their frag?

    I will get the booby prize anyway...laugh.gif

    post #9 of 30
    Lilac water sounds lovely. What a good idea! I'll have to wait until next spring however. Now, do you have an ideas for iris? They're blooming all over town and, due to the rain we've had this spring, are stunning.[/INDENT]
    post #10 of 30
    Thread Starter 
    I think the Iris/Orris aroma is obtained from the roots and that they have to be matured first. That is off the top of my head so you will have to look it up for any accuracy.
    post #11 of 30
    Thread Starter 

    I have been very reliably informed that I have made countless errors that will prevent this set up from ever being successful. Not unkindly, just accurately. I shall not be able to distill these blossoms until I have the correct equipment and temperatures. Further experiments are suspended until I have.

    There of course may come a point where one might realise that life is too short to become an instant chemist.....I may resort to an enfleurage in a jam jar in the meantime to redo last years experiment in a manageable way..... and I might just buy some lilac oil and drink a glass of dandelion wine whilst toasting the man who let me off the hook..... xx

    post #12 of 30
    Thread Starter 
    I found this on the Internet just now whilst trying to learn more about distillling lilac

    • It is not practical to distill Syringia vulgaris does not possess much of an essential oil content. The yield of a concrete depends upon the cultivar grown. It can range from 0.6% -perhaps 1.5%.while the yield of absolute from it is 35-45%.The main volatile constituents are hydrocarbons while its aroma is from the isomeric lilac alcohols and aldehydes and indole (in total less than 12% of the volatiles)
    post #13 of 30

    One thing anyone attempting distillation should remember; the freshly distilled sample will often smell nothing like it is supposed to, and often has an unpleasant "still" note. A freshly distilled oil must be left of weeks, or even months, before its quality may be judged. And, unfortunately, some plants just don't give enough of their oil for it to be worthwhile.

    post #14 of 30
    Thread Starter 
    Never a woman to shirk a good challenge. I smelled the jars of the three liquids I threw away. One of them smelled fairly floral and I wished I hadn't chucked it. I think it was the purple one that had run back into the steamer from the still head. It hadn't got to the bottom so wasn't scalded.

    I cannot resist trying again. So at 10.33 it has just been restarted. New set up. This time I have removed all the plastic pipes. The condenser is the other way up and there are three layers of blossoms instead of one. The joint is wound round with clean cotton rag. There will be more leakage but maybe some steam will go in the right direction. ....

    We will see.
    post #15 of 30
    Thread Starter 


    And you thought the last one was Heath Robinson......

    I am getting some proper equipment tomorrow. Lol
    post #16 of 30
    Thread Starter 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDOlp8JbLVA

    It still smells of old veg but not of plastic any more
    post #17 of 30
    Thread Starter 

    5/20/13 at 12:10am

    David Ruskin said:



    I admire your persistence mumsy; good luck.

    5/20/13 at 12:39am

    mumsy said:



    @Curly11 - One of the nicest things I did last year with lilac if yours are nearly over was to fill a large plastic water bottle with fresh blooms and filled it up with sparkling spring water. Left it for 24 hours and then strained it. The most delightful summers drink with just a hint of the aroma and flavour.

    OK take two was already early this morning over a coffee. I now have a steep learning curve race with nature. I put the proper two tiers on top so the lid fitted better, lost a pipe joint and just ran the whole thing with plain water to see what smells we already had.... It was pretty yukky. I think I am distilling plastic pipes rather nicely.

    It leaks terribly but I have bought oodles of glassware online and we will see what that does when it arrives here. I just have to see how to fetch it as it is three hours away in blinkin Norfolk.... daft.....

    What I don't quite understand is what the steam still head function is. The steam would get into the condenser more easily without it. Does it take the colour out? Any scientists here?

    5/20/13 at 12:49am

    mumsy said:



    Here is a video link to the first attempt

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5rewReiL48

    I don't mind one bit if you laugh.....The attractive gaffa tape was not me....but a helpful member of my family and now there is sticky glue all over my still.

    I'm not deadly serious about this - but I would love to obtain something like a half decent hydrosol at the least. Only because it is there for the doing.

    5/20/13 at 9:59am

    Chris Bartlett said:



    I'm not sure if it's too late, but from what little I know of collecting delicate aromas through small scale distillation the crucial thing is to have an all-glass / stainless steel arrangement - otherwise what you collect is the scent of the plastic, rubber and so on joining the bits of glass.

    I've also heard that using vacuum distillation makes the whole thing easier: that was in the context of making gin but I think the same principle applies here. No idea what one of those costs, but I'm told it's cheaper than a traditional copper gin-still . . . which probably doesn't make it cheap!

    5/20/13 at 10:35am

    mumsy said:



    I've run a couple of clear runs and warm plastic is indeed what I am distilling. This set up has certainly made my scientist friend wince badly... lol

    Fine for steaming veg but not for fine chemistry.... The green pipe was meant to be silicone but I don't know if that is any better. I am picking up some proper glass gear on Thursday afternoon so I hope my blossoms don't wither before then... I should have tried this before they bloomed.... I can see this experiment lasting till 2014 at this rate.

    Anyone fancy a modern plastic accord in their frag?

    I will get the booby prize anyway...laugh.gif

    5/20/13 at 12:01pm

    Curly11 said:



    Lilac water sounds lovely. What a good idea! I'll have to wait until next spring however. Now, do you have an ideas for iris? They're blooming all over town and, due to the rain we've had this spring, are stunning.[/INDENT]

    5/20/13 at 12:54pm

    mumsy said:



    I think the Iris/Orris aroma is obtained from the roots and that they have to be matured first. That is off the top of my head so you will have to look it up for any accuracy.

    5/20/13 at 2:59pm

    mumsy said:



    I have been very reliably informed that I have made countless errors that will prevent this set up from ever being successful. Not unkindly, just accurately. I shall not be able to distill these blossoms until I have the correct equipment and temperatures. Further experiments are suspended until I have.

    There of course may come a point where one might realise that life is too short to become an instant chemist.....I may resort to an enfleurage in a jam jar in the meantime to redo last years experiment in a manageable way..... and I might just buy some lilac oil and drink a glass of dandelion wine whilst toasting the man who let me off the hook..... xx

    5/21/13 at 1:43pm

    mumsy said:



    I found this on the Internet just now whilst trying to learn more about distillling lilac

    • It is not practical to distill Syringia vulgaris does not possess much of an essential oil content. The yield of a concrete depends upon the cultivar grown. It can range from 0.6% -perhaps 1.5%.while the yield of absolute from it is 35-45%.The main volatile constituents are hydrocarbons while its aroma is from the isomeric lilac alcohols and aldehydes and indole (in total less than 12% of the volatiles)

    5/22/13 at 12:54am

    David Ruskin said:



    One thing anyone attempting distillation should remember; the freshly distilled sample will often smell nothing like it is supposed to, and often has an unpleasant "still" note. A freshly distilled oil must be left of weeks, or even months, before its quality may be judged. And, unfortunately, some plants just don't give enough of their oil for it to be worthwhile.

    5/22/13 at 2:44am

    mumsy said:



    Never a woman to shirk a good challenge. I smelled the jars of the three liquids I threw away. One of them smelled fairly floral and I wished I hadn't chucked it. I think it was the purple one that had run back into the steamer from the still head. It hadn't got to the bottom so wasn't scalded.

    I cannot resist trying again. So at 10.33 it has just been restarted. New set up. This time I have removed all the plastic pipes. The condenser is the other way up and there are three layers of blossoms instead of one. The joint is wound round with clean cotton rag. There will be more leakage but maybe some steam will go in the right direction. ....

    We will see.

    5/22/13 at 2:50am

    mumsy said:





    And you thought the last one was Heath Robinson......

    I am getting some proper equipment tomorrow. Lol

    5/22/13 at 3:00am

    mumsy said:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDOlp8JbLVA

    It still smells of old veg but not of plastic any more





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