Recent trip to Grasse Perfume Factor

In the summer 2017 we had our annual family holiday to the South of France. This year we decided to visit the Galimard Perfume based in Grasse. www.galimard.com.

We went on the tour and was fascinated by how perfume is made and in addition the methods used to extract the essential oils used in making perfumes and aftershaves. Steam distillation is one of the most favourable methods used in extracting essential oils. There are actually three different steam processes:-

Water Distillation :-This method is where the plant material is placed in boiling water. The steam and oils are captured and then separated out to produce the essential oil.

Water/Steam Distillation:- This method is where the steam and water are pushed around and through the plant material. The steam and oils are captured and then separated out to produce the essential oil

Straight Steam.:- By using the straight steam method the steam is pushed through the plant material and picks up the essential oil for example Lavender Oil 


In all the above methods the steam is used to rupture the oil membrane in the plant and release the essential oil. The steam carries the oil to a condenser and then as it re liquefies the lighter essential oil floats to the top. The water and oil are then separated out ,  the water is referred to as the hydrosol ,  hydrolat or floral water and the oil is the essential oil.