At our Ecuador distillery, we distill many South American oils in these three chambers, each with a 14,000-liter capacity.
This is our distillery in Ecuador. I built three chambers, 14,000 liters each.
The separators are where you get to watch the lovely oil separate from the gas stage into liquid. What a beautiful sight!
The next problem I tackled was building heat exchangers. I had to build these because in Ecuador you can’t get cold water. You have to have cold water for good separation in the condenser because it has to go through a phase change. You can’t have 80 degree water in a condenser where you’re trying to create the phase change between gas and liquid.
So I had to build these heat exchangers to get my water from 82 degrees down to 50 degrees. I built them out of deep freezers, put copper coils in them, filled them with antifreeze so that they wouldn’t freeze, and now maintain their temperature on discharge at 45 degrees for our condensing process.
Next are the separators I built. These condensers are 13 feet long, and one heat exchanger is needed for each condenser.
Last week I explained that a master distiller needs to know the temperature necessary to get
Can you imagine how proud I was to see this distillery being built? And that sweetheart with a red shirt on, who flew to Idaho to see this distillery being built and to plant Clary Sage? She became the best partner I ever had!
maximum extraction from plant material without damaging the oil. Today I will share some of those temperatures. Lavender, 240 degrees. Balsam, 280 degrees. Frankincense, 260 degrees. Melissa, 220 degrees. All of these are critical factors that are not taught in a school. How did I learn them? By doing them.
I also had to learn what temperature to keep the condenser at while distilling. Examples: Lavender, 80 degrees. Melissa, 110 degrees. You have to know what temperature to maintain in the separator for different oils to ensure the best separation recovery.
I built my first distillery in 1989. Second one, 1993. That is my third distillery in 1993. The fourth one, 1994.
You see that little lady right there in the red shirt? Guess who she is? She was a distributor and she heard a rumor that there was no such thing as a stainless steel distillery in America. She wanted to check out this dude who was talking about essential oils; so she got on a plane, flew all the way to Spokane, and came out to the farm to see if it was for real. And you know what, I caught her out in the field planting clary sage. That lady is Mary. But when I saw her planting, I thought, golly, is there any chance, is there any chance, is there any chance? But I was too afraid to ask. (I will always be grateful that I finally DID ask!)
In 1989 I built my first distiller by welding two pressure cookers together. I built a swan neck out of copper pipe that ran to the copper-pipe coil condenser. The distiller was placed on the kitchen counter, and its water supply for cooling came from the faucet.
In this blog series, I have been explaining what I have learned in order to produce a quality, therapeutic-grade essential oil. After growing and harvesting, distillation is the next crucial step. Here is the procedure:
1. Load the extraction chamber tight.
2. Distribute the plant material in the chamber.
3. Maintain steam saturation at the right volume to keep the chamber hot to prevent homogenization of oils.
4. Keep ramping the steam temperature in volume to prevent reflux.
5. Know when to ramp volume and when not to in order to not flood the chamber and fracture the molecules.
6. Listen to the sounds of the steam to know when it’s time to ramp the temperature and not cause a chimney effect in the chamber.
7. Know when the steam will break into the swan neck of the condenser.
8. Know how to ramp without overheating the material and flooding the condenser.
9. Know what temperatures are necessary to get maximum extraction from the plant material without damaging the oil.
I invite you to come to one of the farms when we are distilling to see the distillation process firsthand.
This photo taken last June shows the healthy, thriving ylang ylang trees planted on the YL farm in Ecuador by our distributors. We planted 240,000 trees. Just imagine the clouds of fragrance!
Land in Ecuador was cleared and prepared, and many of you came and planted ylang ylang trees in 2011. We planted 240,000 ylang ylang trees! Here is a photo taken on June 9, 2013, of the trees that distributors planted that are producing now. Aren’t they beautiful! Today we have a whole picking crew that does nothing but pick ylang ylang flowers all day long, six days a week. Six days a week!
Now here are ylang ylang trees in Madagascar. Look at how scrawny the trees are versus the trees on our farm. Isn’t that amazing? Which trees would you rather have your oil come from? Look at the limbs with no leaves and no flowers on them. Because the ground is so choked with weeds and grasses, the trees can’t get good nutrition. In Madagascar they don’t have the resources to put composting on the fields. They don’t have resources for worm castings. They don’t have resources for putting microbes and enzymes into the soil.
If you’re going to expect the soil to produce an oil, you’ve got to feed it. Just ask yourself what would happen to you if you quit eating. It’s no different for a plant. If you want it, you feed it. You take care of it. So we look at the comparison between the Ecuador ylang ylang and the Madagascar ylang ylang, and it speaks for itself.
Ylang ylang is an incredible oil for many reasons. There are studies that say it harmonizes your emotions. Some people think it’s just a great perfume oil. Well, it is a great fragrance oil. It is wonderful! If you were to walk on the farm in Ecuador right now, your heart would go zing! Where’s the man in my life? Where’s the woman of my dreams? So the farm is called a love farm now. Can you imagine 240,000 trees emitting that incredible aroma 24‑7? It’s magical!
Gary shows that Madagascar’s ylang ylang trees are sickly—producing fewer flowers. Weeds, grass, and lack of proper fertilizer are stunting the growth and production of the trees.
Come to Idaho for distillery tours, the ribbon-cutting ceremony, dinner, and an introductory meeting with YL Founder D. Gary Young.
We are thrilled to announce that the agenda for the free ribbon-cutting event at the new Highland Flats distillery will now include an Introductory Meeting given by D. Gary Young!
See the new agenda below:
2-4 p.m. Distillery Tours
4:30 p.m. Ribbon-cutting Ceremony
5 p.m. Dinner
7-9 p.m. Introductory Meeting by D. Gary Young
We look forward to seeing you there!