Distilling an Island. Turunj: bitter orange leaves and flowers



The orange tree is really the symbol of North Cyprus. The Orange grooves are all over and the orange trade was the wealth this region.

Turunj, bitter orange tree is called here ”father of oranges” because all other citruses are grafted on its trunk trunk. Turunj has the most fragrant leaves of all citruses and its flowers are used to extract the essential oil of Neroli.

Abdul Halim from France has learned the rudiments of distillation from me a few month ago and he is now becoming an expert.



We went to the garden of Sheikh Baha uddin in search of Barakat trees for our distillation of Lefke “maulana’s gardens perfumes” production.



A lot of Leaves and flowers are necessary to obtain just a little bit of essential oil. It is indeed a most precious liquid.

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We shall use the 50 liters distiller that I have built myself.



Our pupil is Learning the craft with his father and me.


The still is filled with our fragrant crop.

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After Half an hour, the wonderful miracle happens, the pure essence, the very living spirit of the plant comes to light in its material form. The odour made liquid through elimination of everything which is not itself. Immaterial scent transformed into material substance. This is the wonder of the first of all alchemical processes, the distillation.
There is much thought there for the sufi mureeds of Lefke who distill the gardens of Maulana. The separation of essence and water occurs in a “Florentine vase” that I made with local materials.

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The essence is delicious, flowery, soothing and opening of the heart. So similar to Neroli but more grounded. We are dancing of happiness.

After this hard labour and the beautiful reward of obtaining the wonderful fragrant spirit of Maulana’s gardens, the least for us dervishes is to sit down on carpets under the trees, taking time to stay together drinking tea and smelling perfumes.


This is a beautiful life.

Lefke 14 04 2014


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