A lot has already been written about hydrosols, I know. However, as consumers, we are interested in buying a good product and this is often not an easy task. Not everyone has a very in-depth knowledge of hydrosols, and there are many different manufacturers on the market that offer sometimes very poor quality.
Before I started distilling, I used to buy hydrosols like any other person on the market. Often I was quite disappointed, some hydrosols had all the certificates and tests but their smell and taste were very moderate, almost powerless. Why is that so?
Well, the first problem might be the age of the hydrosol. Hydrosols are best when kept fresh. For some of them, this means that they retain their power for up to 6 months, mostly for about 1 year. I have also seen intact hydrosols 2 or 3 years old, but this is an earlier exemption.
How can you get a really fresh hydrosol? If I oversee the possibility of making a fortuitous purchase, I only see two realistic options – either distil it yourself or buy it from a trusted local distillery right after the distillation. Lately many people are distilling in small kitchen stills at home and they produce some decent hydrosols for their domestic use. This option is just as good as buying from the local distiller that you know and trust. A local distiller can inform you about the distillation time of his plants, which is in the northern hemisphere for most herbs between May and September.
Second problem might be the method used for distillation. On the bottle of hydrosol you will usually find written just that the method of distillation is steam distillation. However, steam distillation can be done with or without steam generator. In the first case, the distillation is fast and you will generate 3-4 (or even more) times more hydrosol than in the second case. This is handy if you want to sell a lot of hydrosol, but the power of such a hydrosol is much weaker. And again, you can only get this information if you know the distiller or you do it yourself.
There are some other reasons as well that can influence the quality of hydrosol, like quality of plants and water, cleanness of distilling equipment, temperature etc. For an average consumer they are practically impossible to control, unless again…..
So, when are you going to start distilling or connect with a trusted distiller?

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