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Lavender Essential Oil

Column Alembic Still

Ingredients: Lavender or Lavandin flowers

Method:Steam Distillation

Suitable Stills:

Distilling lavender flowers in a flipping-top Column alembic still is fun and easy


Step 1


Flowers should be cut with short stalks to enable you to fit more in the column and thus distil more flowers. Remember you will need quite a substantial amount of flowers to obtain the essential oil.

Filling the pot

Step 2

Filling the column

Fill the alembic pot (boiler) with water at least half way. Then place the flip-top column on the pot with the aid of the supplied metal axle. Once the flip-top column is secured to the pot, tightly pack the column with flowers. Flowers can also be placed into the pot with the water if you desire to increase your capacity.

Filling the column

Step 3

Filling the lid

Flowers can also be packed tightly into the alembic lid. Simply turn over the lid, place the provided bowl-shaped sieve (not seen in the photo) at the bottom (the entrance to the piping section). Then pack the lid with flowers. The sieve will not let the flowers pass to the piping and thus clog the passage. Once the flowers have been packed in, assemble the lid on the column and connect the swan neck to the condensing recipient.

Filling the column

Step 4

Rye flour

In order to seal the still from steam leaks, a traditional effective sealing technique is used. Rye flour is mixed into soft wet dough with water - See Sealing Technique - and this is pushed into the joints with your fingers. Should a leak occur once distilling has begun, simply add more dough to the leaking spot. You are now ready to make essential oil from Lavender flowers. Turn on the heat source. In the picture, propane gas was used to heat the water in this flip-top column alembic still.

Distillation process

Step 5

Collecting results

After some time the water in the pot (boiler) will begin to boil. It will take some time for the steam to transfer heat to the flowers and to produce essential oils, so patience is needed. Once this happens distillate will begin to flow from the condenser.
A milk can type essencier was used to collect the distillate. Hydrolats and essential oils are separated in the essencier. Collect the essential oil in a bottle and the hydrolats in a separate container.

Collecting results

Step 6

Filling the column

Should you wish to distil a second batch, simply remove the lid and empty the used flowers out of the flip-top column by tilting it to the side, with the aid of the metal axle. You can immediately re-fill your still for another batch. First verify the water level of the copper pot, and add some more if necessary. Re-assemble the still. Raise the heat source and in no time you will be collecting a second batch of distillate. (As water is already hot, this is a time saver.)

Emptying the column

Once the distillation process is finished, you should empty the still and clean it (be careful – it is hot). To loosen the separate parts of the still, simply give a direct blow with the heel of your palm upwards to the rim of the separate pieces. The rye dough will come off easily.

Remove the swan neck lid and empty out the plant material. Proceed with cleaning the still, please refer to our cleaning & maintenance document.

Note that:

- Even though we have suggested other pot still models this is the only model which will save you time if you are doing more than one distillation.

- Alembics used for essential oil or floral water extraction should not be used for distilling alcoholic beverages as they will become impregnated with substances which will render it unsuitable for consumption.

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