(A side note- at school last week, our chemistry teacher brought in her distiller and from the 50g of fresh lavandin flowers I picked outside in the garden, we extracted 2ml of oil. More than we expected, and substantially higher than if it had been the true Lavandula Angustofolia.)
Then, refueled, we headed out once more ascending gently in search of the fields of lavender. I’ve seen many postcards since arriving in this part of the world showing the classic shots of Provencal lavender, but nothing could have prepared me for the absolute beauty of the first field we saw. So much gorgeous purple! The rich hue of the lavenders in such large swaths of colour surrounded by a landscape that is quite arid and rocky with rolling hills covered in knarled pines is spectacular and something to behold.
The honey bees were everywhere, their little back legs heavy with bright orange balls of pollen, (lavender honey is produced also) and the air was clear and clean, whipped by the wind that seems quite constant in the mountains here. Seeing the lavender in its native realm like this completed my understanding of the oil in such a profound way. It’s clear fresh aromatic astringent and oily sweetness, with that green vanilla powdery warmth has been formed where it grows; basking in the intensity of the Mediterranean sun under the bluest skies I have ever seen. The winds come from the highest Alps bringing such charged alive air and the soil is ancient! Full of just the right nutrients to give the plants what they need so they can explode into full round masses of purple.
–Clary sage concrete contains a natural constituent called Sclareol that is used as a starting point for the creation of ambergris chemicals such as Ambroxan and other synthesized amber notes.
-The concrete is also a great raw material in itself, for a dry musky ambergris note. Also as a fixative.
-Lavender absolute is a wonderful substance and can be combined in an accord with the essential oil to yield a more true to life scent of the flower itself.
–Sclareol in clary, like coumarine in lavender, is contained in the concrete or absolute and not the essential oil as it is too large a molecule to be extracted by distillation.