Distilling the resort “Il Germano Reale”.

Today is distillation day, D Day, and also the conclusive day of this adventure for my friends.

It has been very emotional for many of them, not so much because of the door opening learning, but very much more because of the ties that have built between them during these days. The intensity of the experience has been decoupled by the immersion in a bath of natural perfumes.

From the plant to perfume!



We cut some branches of the big Bay Laurel tree that were too near the wall of our classroom at the Germano Reale.


All of us helped in preparing the leaves for distillation. Specially Andrej.


Filling the still with Laurel leaves.



We set up the 150 litres distiller just outside our classroom.

In the meantime, Marie asked how the essences I distilled in Cyprus and Italy compared with the ones I get from my suppliers.
We compared them all together. Pink pepper, petitgrain etc…
We all recognized that artisanally distilled essences not only can compare with the best quality of the best suppliers, but they also compete with them and surpass them.

It was very gratifying to see the students smell and understand the differences, comment on them very surefooted and reach the right conclusion regarding the quality of the essences. When they had started the course they were smelling without understanding, they had no clue as to the meaning of what they were smelling, they could not describe or evaluate smells in any way. They are now on tracks to work with perfumes.


The distillation starts very quickly.


We obtained 80 ml of a delicious Bay Laurel essential oil. It is already good, but it will be even more so after a few weeks of maturation.
Happy feast at the Germano Reale with Mint tea, Mascarpone and a draw of perfumes where everyone was the winner.


Il mascarpone


Our happy hosts at the Germano Reale, Marco and Manuela.

2 replies
  1. Gatto Nero says:

    (From JR:) Sorry for my tardiness, but I’ve just sorted out my site registration. My classmates have written so eloquently about this experience that there is little I can add, except to say that this course not only brought me to a deeper understanding of natural perfume blending and of the role of scent in the human psyche but also opened up for me a new world of possibility, in realms beyond fragrance, that I could not have imagined. The effect on my life will be profound and lasting. I am so fortunate to have been a part of it, and I am forever grateful to Salaam and all who participated. Such generosity of spirit is rare and precious. I hope we meet again; but even if we don’t, you are always in my heart.

  2. andrej says:

    The course has ended, these were beautiful six days under Dominique’s guidance, with great companions. There are several important points to the story of natural perfume-making, the first certainly that composing perfumes is more than just creating something that smell nice, there is a deeper meaning to it, stories to tell, mysterious alchemical transformation of raw materials into a new whole, something wonderful, perhaps something no one has created before. First-class ingredients are necessary for venturing into natural perfumery, also a good knowledge of relative potency of each ingredient, but most importantly having a clear idea of what it is one wishes to create and a humble frame of mind.
    The animalics exert an unforeseen influence on the quality of scent, making it fall into place and smell just right.
    Using essential oils in cooking is a great idea as well, scenting the beverages or dishes during preparation actually makes perfect sense.
    The distilation of essential oils is quite fascinating and much easier than imagined, can almost picture myself doing it, and taken together with tincturing, the possibilites are endless.
    It was unexpected that each one of us students created distinctly different fragrances, like there’s a personal stamp that each person imprints on the soul of the scent, although using same materials.
    Germano Reale was a great setting, where we enjoyed home made food with Marco and Manuela as perfect hosts creating a warm and authentic atmosphere.


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