Distilling Notes

Yarrow 9/10/20

About the late Summer Distillation  |

Site: The Hill  | Date: 6/8/2020 | Distillation size: 32 ounces hydrolat | Filter size: 300 micron | PH 3.8

Sometimes, even in the incredibly methodical practice of distillation, you have to gun it and run it. Especially when you don’t know what you are doing. 

When the Yarrow bloomed this past June, I harvested an armful to distill, which I did when the flowers were fresh and mostly whole. 

Wild yarrow was sluggish to bloom up and down our hill this summer. The seasons have been mild this year and the sweltering heat we were expecting all summer arrived in late September. 

It seemed impossible that the last of the summer yarrow was usable after seeing so much weather. The blossoms were dry, some still weighted with cypsela – the little fruits that are produced on Yarrow’s little round flowers. Some felt unusably hollow – done with the business of fruiting. 

The dried flowers were bug free and easy to crush and the insects had long abandoned the shelter of the flowers. I filled the still to the brim and set the element to high. The oil, clear at first, was more abundant than June’s harvest. 

Initially, the late summer distillation had a weak aroma. Now, decanted after months of curing, the two waters smell identical save for a couple of herbaceous notes.