Frequently ask questions

 Aromatherapy
1. What is an Essential Oil?

Essential oils are highly concentrated, aromatic, volatile and insoluble substances that may be extracted from leaves,  flowers, stems or roots of plants. For more information please consult essential oils.


2. What are Essential Oils used for?

Essential Oils have numerous therapeutic properties. Depending on the plant they are extracted from they may be anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, laxative, diuretic, relaxing, analgesic or reinvigorating. They also have various industrial purposes such as in the making of perfumes, cosmetic products, soaps, food products, toothpastes and medicinal products amongst others. For more information please consult Types of Essencial Oils.


3. What is a Carrier Oil?

A Carrier Oil, also known as a base oil is a vegetable oil used to dilute the more volatile essential oils for massage or when applied directly to the skin. For more information please consult Carrier Oils.


4. Why do Essential Oils need to be diluted before being applied?

This is a safety issue. In fact most Essential Oils can cause allergies or burn if applied undiluted in their pure state. Besides that, the effects of essential oils such as lavender, are not heightened when applied undiluted. Consequently its dilution permits you to save on the quantity of essential oil used. For more information please consult Precautions.


5. What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of volatile substances with therapeutic properties extracted from plants with the intention of stimulating the body and mind to restore the natural balance between both. For more information please consult Aromatherapy.


6. What are Floral Waters (Hydrolats)?

Floral waters, also known as hydrolats or hydrosols, are a by-product from the distillation of plant materials to obtain the essential oils. As such these floral waters retain some of the therapeutic qualities of the essential oils and may be applied on the skin as a toner or used for cosmetics. They may be applied directly on the skin as they only contain minute quantities of the essential oils. For more information please consult Hydrolats.


7. What is the best method to extract Essential Oils and Floral Waters (Hydrolats)?

Distillation is considered to be the best method to obtain the purest form of essential oils and hydrolats. During distillation the plant material is heated by means of steam vapour to release the essential oil molecules present. Other methods of essential oil extraction include cold pressing, infusion and solvent extraction. For more information please consult Methods of Extraction.


8. Do Essential Oils and Floral Waters (Hydrolats) have a shelf life?

Your essential oils should be carefully preserved so they may remain in the best possible condition and retain their therapeutic properties for longer. In ideal conditions the essential oils may keep up to 6 years but generally last up to 2 years. Carrier oils and floral waters have a shorter shelf life, generally 6 months. For more information please consult Preserving Essential Oils.


9. Why are my Essential oils greyish green in colour?

Some plant materials such as eucalyptus may react with the copper. Eucalyptol (cineol) will react with copper imparting a greenish hue to the resultant distillate. If this is the case, the essential oil should be filtered and citric acid (lemon juice) added to separate any copper pickup and allow the oil to be decanted leaving any copper deposits behind. On the other hand copper may be beneficial when distilling other plants such as lavender as it will react with sulphur compounds present reducing any unpleasant or off-notes called "still" notes


10. Why is my essential oil cloudy?

That may be an indication that the condenser is too cold resulting in cloudy essential oils. In the case of hydrosols it may that there as components such as saponin present in the plant.


11. What type of equipment do you recommend for extraction of essential oils?

We have several models that can be used for extraction of essential oils, but the one we believe to be most effective is our split top column alembics. These allow for quicker distillations where you don't have to keep changing the water after each distillation and the column can be emptied and re-filled simply by tipping the column over.


 Distillation
12. What is an Alembic?

An alembic is a distilling apparatus of Arabic origin which may be used to distill a great variety of alcoholic beverages and essential oils. It is made up of 3 parts, the alembic pot, the swan neck lid and the condensing unit. Other models may include a pre-heater such as the Charentais model or column such as in the rotating column alembics often used for extracting essential oils. The reflux alembic incorporates the traditional alembic pot with the more modern reflux column. For more information please consult Product Info.


13. What is an Alquitar?

As opposed to the alembic which has 3 parts (pot, swan neck lid and condensing unit) the alquitar has 2 parts, the pot and lid which incorporates a vapour chamber and condensing unit. The lid has a concave interior to collect rising vapours and is bowl shaped on top to hold cold water. As the rising vapours come into contact with the cold bowl shaped surface of the condensing unit on top they condense and are drawn off. Due to its characteristic construction less space is needed for distillation than with an ordinary alembic. This unit may also be used for extracting essential oils. For more information please consult Alquitars.


14. Are your Alembics and Alquitars made of 100% copper?

With the exception of our welded joints which may be of copper, brass, tin or silver all our handcrafted units are made of 100% copper of the highest quality. For more information please consult Solderings.


15. Do your Alembics come with a guarantee?

All our products come with a guarantee. Generally the guarantee period is for two years. The guarantee for our professional systems is from 10 to 20 years. Our guarantee does not cover improper use of the alembics or systems that have been modified. For more information please consult Terms and Conditions.


16. Are the distilling suggestions for alcoholic beverages and essential oils presented on your site easy to follow?

Some suggestions are fairly straight forward and presented step by step as in a recipe. Other suggestions are merely introductory guidelines for distilling any number of alcoholic beverages and may require some time and patience to perfect. For some easy to follow suggestions please consult Lavender Oil, Soaps, Hydrolats, Orange Liqueur, Apricot Brandy.


17. Is distilling dangerous?

All our alembics are manufactured in accordance with safety and security measures. The enticing art of distillation however may involve some risks which may be minimised by paying careful attention to the process and following basic distillation laws. The greatest risk is the danger of fire due to the proximity of flammable liquids to the heat source. Also if there is an obstruction in the tubing of the alembic there may be some pressure build-up. Don't overlook all these factors. For more information please consult Basic Distillation Rules and Safety Precautions.


18. Is distilling legal?

In some countries yes others not. Different countries may have different laws and some may allow the home-distiller to distil small quantities or require a commercial licence. It is the client's responsibility to be informed of the laws that apply in their own countries. Our company does not hold itself responsible for the improper use of our alembics. For more information please consult Terms and Conditions.


19. What kind of materials may I distil?

There is an endless list of materials that may be distilled. You may distil excellent beverages from fruits, cereals or other botanicals. Essential oils and floral waters may be obtained from flowers, leaves and the stems from aromatic plants. For more information please consult Distilling Suggestions.


20. How may I know the alcoholic percentage or volume of a distillate?

You may use an alcoholmeter to measure the alcoholic volume of your distillate. The higher your alcoholic volume the less dense your distillate will be and the lower your alcoholmeter will float in the distillate, allowing for a reading at the surface of the liquid. For more information please consult Using an alcoholmeter & method and Accurate Temperature Reading.


21. May I dilute an alcoholic distillate?

Yes. In fact most well known alcoholic drinks are distilled to a high alcoholic volume and diluted with distilled water prior to bottling. Often these drinks must be diluted because they have to be commercialised at a standard alcoholic volume. The opposite may also be true when the alcoholic distillate does not attain the required alcoholic volume necessary for its commercialisation. In this case more alcohol may be added for example vinic alcohol.


22. What may I do with sour wine?

No need to despair if your wine went sour which often happens with the more traditional wines, there is a solution. You have lost your wine but you can distil it to obtain an excellent eau-de-vie. One of the advantages of copper is that it purifies your distillate from some of the impurities present. For more information on the properties of copper and suggestions for distilling your own eau-de-vie please consult Why use copper and Distilling Suggestions.


23. What is the purpose of distillation?

Alcohol is the by-product of the fermentation of natural sugars present in fruit such as fructose and glucose. Distillation is the means of separating the alcohol from the fermented mass which may also contain methanol, amyl alcohol, furfurals and other undesirable components which may only be separated through distillation. For more information please consult Basic Distillation Rules and Accurate Temperature Reading.


24. Which alembic is suited to distil spirits such as whiskey, rum or grappa?

Different types of alembics are suited for different purposes. We have a whiskey still specifically designed for distilling whiskey. We have the Spagyria model, perfect for making rum and for grappa we recommend our soldered union alembics.


25. What is the column capacity on the split top column alembics?

The column capacity is approximately 80% of the alembics total capacity in Litres. We cannot state how many kilos of organic material will fit inside; each material is different in weight and volume.


26. How much water should I fill the pot with when beginning distillation?

The pot should have 40% of its total capacity filled with water for regular distillations. When distilling wine, or other liquids, the pot can be filled up to 80% of the total capacity.


27. When do I know the good distillate is coming out and when I should stop collecting the results?

The distillation process is divided into three parts: Heads, Hearts and Tails. You can learn more about  the Distillation Process through Basic Distillation Rules.


28. Can I use the same alembic for making alcohol and essential oils?

We do not recommend the use of the same equipment for both making alcoholic beverages and extraction of essential oils. If you have used an alembic for essential oils, no matter how well the unit is cleaned afterwards, the oils always leave behind residue that can be harmful and prejudicial to humans. For this reason, we recommend the use of two different equipments, one for alcohol, and one for essential oils.


29. What type / amounts of results will I achieve from a distillation?

The results will vary depending on what you are distilling and what methods you are using but generally you will achieve between 8 – 22 % of the alembics capacity of essential oil and around 38 – 42% of alcohol.


30. Do you sell separate parts of the alembic like the condenser, column or just the pot?

All our alembics are custom made and no two are exactly alike. Each part of the set is built in proportion to the rest of the equipment. For this reason we cannot manufacture or sell separate parts or risk the parts not fitting perfectly together. This is why we only sell full sets.


31. How can I maintain the water in the condenser at an appropriate temperature without overflowing?

Water doesn't have to be cold in the condenser; it just needs to be between 18 and 22 degrees. You can use a regular hose or fish tank hose for this purpose, opening the water flow as you see fit and there doesn't need to be a constant flow in the condenser. If the temperature is getting too cold, stop the water flow and this should regulate the levels and the temperature of the water.


32. What liquid/fuel do I put in the wick lamp?

It's best to use Benzene or any type of burning alcohol.


 Ordering, Shipping and Payment
33. How may I place my order?

On the following sequence of images the hand will direct your steps while ordering on our website.

1. Log into our online shop, first time buyers should register first.

2. The more information you furnish when registering, the better quality of service we will be able to provide you with in future.
Your personal information is safeguarded and is never given out in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Once you have completed the online registration click on the "Submit & Continue" button.

3. You are now logged into our online shop, your name should appear on the welcome box on the top right hand corner.
Select the currency you would like for pricing of items from the left hand column.

4. Products are arranged according to category. Select any category.

5. The "Add to Cart" button will add the item to your shopping basket. Click on the "More" button to view product details.

6. This is the product information page.
You may also view specifications or additional accessories by selecting the appropriate tab.

7. Click the "Add to Cart" link at the right side of the product info page.

8. You will notice that your item has been added to your shopping basket.

9. Let's go shopping for additional accessories, click the "Accessories" tab on the product info page.

10. To view more information about an Accessory, click the image for selected item.

11. Add an Accessory to your shopping basket.

12. To checkout click the "Cart" link on the top of the website.

13. These are the current items in your shopping basket.
Clicking on the bin to the right of the item removes item from shopping basket.
Voucher code may be added on this page.
Click "Next" to checkout.

14. Fill in the correct details for the delivery address.
Other options include "Update address"; "Add a New Address" & "Write a commentary".

15. Once you have completed filling in the delivery address details click "Continue".

16. Shipping costs will be automatically calculated based on gross shipping volume and delivery address.
European Union clients will be liable for tax (VAT), other international clients are exempt.
Accept the Terms of Service and click "Continue".

17. Select the preferred payment method.
Payments by credit card are transferred to PayPal.com, our secure online payment service.
Payments are made through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), the best available encryption for online transactions.

18. Select the Bank Transfer Option.
The bank transfer option is based on the currency you selected initially and will display either Bank Transfer in Dollars or Euros.
Click the "Continue" button for bank transfer details.

19. Our banking account details will appear on this page - not visible for this demo.
A print this page dialog box will also appear so you may print our banking details and keep them at hand.
Do not forget to click "I Confirm My Order" to conclude your order.

20. This confirmation screen concludes the online order for bank transfer payment.
Remember to email us confirming the transfer of funds into our bank account, after confirmation you order will be processed immediately.
Worldwide shipments are usually delivered within a week of payment confirmation.

21. Select the Western Union Option.
Our western union details will apear on the next page - not visible for this demo.
Do not forget to click "I Confirm My Order" to conclude your order.


34. What payment options do you have?

We accept bank transfers, Western Union and PayPal. For more information please consult Terms and Conditions.


35. Which currencies do you accept?

By default our pricing is in Euros but customer may select to see the currency of choice. Bank transfers are only accepted in Euros.


36. Which countries do you ship to?

Generally, our company ships to countries all over the world via FedEx or UPS. However this service does not include all countries. If the destination within your country is not part of the main continent (eg islands, remote areas), pallets will only be possible to ship door-airport or door-cargo freight. If you do not find your country listed or you want to be sure regarding the service available to your address, before concluding your online purchase please e-mail us and we will try to find some other means of transport for your merchandise. Please see our Sales Map for an indication of the countries we have shipped to.


37. Have you experienced any shipping restrictions?

As to date we have not experienced any restrictions whatsoever, be they customs or of any other nature.


38. What is the procedure when there are customs restrictions for importation?

If customs restrictions for importing do not allow importation of items, FedEx would inform us and these items would be returned, client would then be reimbursed for the cost of the item excluding shipping costs. It is the clients' responsibility to find out which customs restrictions apply in their country. For more information please consult Terms and Conditions.


39. What is your company’s responsibility?

On placing your order items are prepared for dispatch immediately. It is our responsibility to ensure that items are in a good condition and packed carefully before shipping. If any customs restrictions prohibit the entry of these items into the country the procedure is as stated above. If the item is lost during shipping we immediately fill out a claim form and once it is approved by our carrier (FedEx) a replacement item is dispatched immediately or alternatively customer is reimbursed for total cost.


40. Shipping Charges?

Please bear in mind that this shipping calculator (product info page) displays shipping costs per item only and not combined shipping. If you are making multiple purchases, discounted combined shipping costs are applied, when you checkout, on the total volumetric weight of your order.

Our rates are for International Priority Service or Economy service. These services may cost slightly more but are well worth the price as items are fully insured against non delivery or damage to goods in transit - damage or non delivery is extremely rare.

Your order may be tracked online at all times from the time of departure to arrival at destination. FedEx will automatically notify you via e-mail when your order ships and provide a tracking number of the package(s) in the message.

We want to offer our customers the best high quality service and any carrier we may use will have to conform to these standards. We have found that using the above mentioned services our shipping issues have been minimal and we will continue to use these services for as long as these standards are maintained.

International orders are usually delivered within a week of payment confirmation.


41. How may I obtain a copy of your catalogue?

In order to get a copy of our catalogue consult our Catalogue section and request one.


42. What is the delivery period for your products?

The delivery period varies between 2 days (Europe), 3 days (United States) to 7 days (New Zealand) depending on the destination. However we would like to remind you that items are only dispatched once payment is effected, in the case of a bank transfer once the deposit of funds is confirmed, for cheques once funds have cleared. For credit cards items are dispatched immediately. Our company mainly uses FedEx International Priority Shipping service which has a tracking system to enable our clients to track their order online. For more information please consult Terms and Conditions. Please note: If you would like to know the delivery period to your country please consult the Official FedEx site.


43. Do you accept Returns?

We want all our clients to be totally satisfied with their purchase to that end we allow a 7 day period after receiving your order to return the item accompanied by its respective invoice. The client will be responsible for the return shipping and an additional 15% charge for restocking. For more information please consult Terms and Conditions.


44. Is there a minimum value for placing an order?

You may be pleased to know we do not have a minimum charge. We respond to all requests regardless of their value.


45. What advantages do I have in registering?

By registering you make yourself eligible for future discounts and promotions which may be communicated to you by means of our future newsletter.


46. Why can I not print the order page for the Bank Transfer Payment Method?

If you are able to see the white printable order page try using your browser printing option, and/or check your printer. This may be a local printing problem. If you are unable to reach the printable order page, and keep going back to the Shopping Basket, this may be an Internet Explorer issue. Try using another browser such as Firefox or Opera, or update your Internet Explorer to Google Chrome. A solution to resolve this issue is being worked on and should become available soon. We apologise for the inconvenience.


47. What about customs duties or import taxes?

If you are not a resident of the European Union you may be liable for customs or import tax in your country for goods exceeding a certain value e.g. Goods with a value greater than $1000 (Australian Dollars) may be liable for import tax in Australia. Rates are very much dependant on the law and its application in your country or state. It is the client's responsibility to be informed of the laws that apply in their own country or state.


48. Will I have to pay Value Added Tax over and above the listed prices?

All residents within the European Union must pay VAT. During the checkout procedure it is determined whether you are liable for VAT based on the delivery address you submit. All orders delivered outside the European Union are VAT free.

The VAT rate in Portugal is 23%. Distilling equipment with a volume equal to or greater than 10 L are considered agricultural machinery and enjoy a reduced 13% VAT rate.

Registered companies or taxable entities in the European Union are exempt from VAT when goods are dispatched if they are able to provide a VAT number validated on the VIES database:

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/vieshome.do

In this case VAT due on the transaction will be payable on acquisition of the goods by the buyer where the goods arrive. This is known as "intra-Community acquisition". In this instance the buyer accounts for any VAT due in their normal VAT return (document declaring liability for taxation submitted to local taxation authority) at the rate in force in their country.

If you have submitted a valid VAT number and choose to pay by credit card - PayPal or 2CO, you have to make full payment of goods first, including VAT. Once we have verified that your VAT number is valid we will then grant you a full refund for the total VAT value paid.

If you choose to pay by wired transfer, please await our confirmation before effecting payment without VAT.


49. Can you ship by regular mail?

Non fragile items that are stated on our website as items posted by mail will be sent in this way but we cannot send fragile copper items in the mail and risk damage or loss. Our shipping companies provide tracking numbers and insurance in case anything goes wrong.

Items sent by mail are dispatched on Fridays.


50. What is the copper thickness in your products?

Initially copper thickness is as stated in the specifications part of the product in order to sustain the copper process, but as the alembic gains its shape, the copper is then stretched and the final thickness and measurements may vary from the initial statement.


51. Do you send instructions or a manual with your equipments?

We send a basic leaflet with safety precautions, tips and cleaning instructions for the stills, but we do not have a manual or instructions for the alembics. There are too many different ways to distill, and each distillation is different. We leave the art of distilling to the professionals and we prefer to manufacture the best quality items for them to do so.


52. Do you manufacture alembic stills in stainless steel?

Our experience proves that copper is the best material for use in distilling. Stainless steel, in our opinion, just doesn't offer the same taste in a distillate, as well as taking a lot longer to heat up and sustain the heat. We believe stainless steel to have better cooling and preservation properties.


53. What is the difference between your Premium line and normal range alembics?

Please visit each category for more information on our Premium range, as well as the differences in these products.


54. Did you have problems upon arrival of the package or were there any damaged items during transport?

If this was the case, please fill out this complaint form here. We will submit a claim to the shipping company with your cooperation, more details will be available when you click on the link and fill in the form.


55. My thermometer developed bubbles on the column, separating the liquid, how do I fix it?

Grab the thermometer slightly below its middle with one hand. Make sure the bulb is pointing down. Gently strike the thermometer against the palm of your other hand. Continue the process until the bubbles have cleared.

Take the thermometer and hold it firmly, with the bulb pointing away from you. Raise the thermometer above your head and quickly swing it downward. Stop once the thermometer is in a vertical position. Repeat as necessary. The centrifugal force should clear the bubbles.

Heat the thermometer bulb under hot, running water. Don't heat it too long -- you don't want the mercury or alcohol to rise to the top of the expansion chamber. Once the bubbles are gone, hang the thermometer with the bulb down for several hours.

Be very careful when you're handling a thermometer. Don't treat it too roughly or it will shatter.


56. My soldered union alembic is leaking, what should I do?

If it’s only a small leak in the pot or condenser, sometimes this can happen unfortunately, and is due to a small air hole in the solder that is invisible to the eye and can only be detected when using the alembic for the first time. Please email us to let us know, and if you have local welder or mechanic who knows how to use a welding machine, we can send you some lead free brass, silver or copper rods that can be melted down and applied directly on the leak, sealing the air hole in the solder and thus avoiding expensive shipping costs and delays in returning the alembic.


57. My Riveted Union alembic is leaking, what should I do?

With the riveted union construction, a linseed oil solution (linseed oil mixed with other natural ingredients) is applied to all the interior seams in order to make impermeable. This solution should never be scraped off, if you do, your pot may leak.  Any excess solution will disappear with continuous distillation and what is left over will not affect or influence whatever you want to distil. If you haven’t scraped any of the solution off and it’s still leaking through one of the rivets, please email us and we will send you more product so it can be applied directly on the area. Instructions will be sent along with the ingredients.


58. Shipping Policy?

Please read carefully our equipment's shipping policy.

While being packaged, all our products are submitted to a rigorous quality inspection in order to make sure everything is in proper conditions.

All our shipped orders are insured; however if something unfortunate happens, there are a few steps you must follow in order to help us make sure that the insurance can be activated.

When your package is being handed over to you by the courier company, there are multiple situations that can happen, so you must be prepared to properly deal with them:

 

Situation A: The package looks somehow damaged or perforated.

What should I do in this situation? You must refuse this order. It will be shipped back to us and once we receive it, a new one will be shipped to you.

Attention: If you accept a damaged package we will not be held accountable and the insurance will no longer be valid. It will be your own responsibility!

Situation B: The package looks good on the outside however, after signing the air waybill and in the presence of the courier, you must open the package and verify if the internal content is ok. If you notice that one or more pieces are damaged due to rough handling during transportation:

What should I do in this situation? Make sure that you or the courier write in the air waybill that there was damaged content inside due to rough handling during transportation. Keep the package until the claim is resolved. Next step, send to this link, good quality pictures of the damaged content, and the package (outside and internal "peanuts" and wrapped pieces) so that we can activate the insurance.

Attention: We will reject complaints without good quality pictures, which clearly highlight the defect of the item.

Situation C: The package appears to have been somehow violated.

What should I do in this situation? If there is a customs stamp on the package, it means that it was opened for inspection, which can sometimes occur. If there is no stamp on the package, it may have been opened during transportation. In both cases, after signing the air waybill, and in the presence of the courier, you must open the package and verify if there are any pieces missing. If that's the case, accept the order but write in the air waybill "missing pieces due to package violation: piece x, piece y…". Send us good quality pictures of the violated package, of the internal peanuts, and of the items you have received inside the box. Insurance will be activated and the missing items shipped to you.

Attention: If you do not verify the internal content in the presence of the courier and write down the problems on the air waybill, we will not be held responsible and the insurance will not be activated.


 Other
59. Can I visit you in Portugal?

Yes, please let us know 24 hours in advance and please be advised that we only have immediate stock of items up to 60 L capacity. Any purchases made directly at our office must be paid in Cash and VAT will be charged.