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Laphroaig

Essential Oil Extraction, Moonshine Still

I fancy having a go at some essential oil extraction. In particularly I'd like to try my hand at making catnip oil (Moggie has developed a serious habit that's costing me a fortune in the crappy dried stuff from Wilkinsons, figured she deserves better so have just had a few hundred seeds of Nepeta cataria arrive), there's also plenty of herbs in the garden like coriander and basil I can try too. I'm a bit hesitant about making moonshine, it isn't the illegality, I just don't want to go blind or poison myself, anyhow I don't drink often these days so there's no great attraction in bathtub vodka.

I was looking at laboratory glassware, it's bloody expensive and only really suited to processing very small quantities of plant material. Then I discovered Alembic copper stills, the rotating column type in particular. All the ones I've looked at seem to be made in Portugal and come with a hefty mark up, purchasing direct seems to be the best option despite the exorbitant shipping cost it still works out far cheaper than buying anywhere in the UK. I'm thinking of starting off with a 5 litre model which will cost around £150 shipped. Before I put my hand in my pocket I thought I'd inquire if anyone has any experience or recommendations they'd care to share about my choice of equipment, essential oil extraction or distillation in general as it is all completely new to me.

Peace

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Hiya,

I fancied the idea of this too at one time and was dissuaded by a very experienced natural cosmetics-making person who indicated that it'd take one whole lot of effort for a very small result. I did however get a book by Daniel Coaten called 'Make your own essential oils & skincare products'. It's provided me with a mine of useful information for skincare products and also furthered the notion of EO distillation being tricky.

One important point the author tells you to bear in mind is this: If you're producing extracts of plants that are not already used therapeutically or have litte toxicological research done on them - be very careful. You might just send Moggie to the rainbow bridge a little earlier than anticipated if you don't know for sure that catnip EO is safe at any dose for cats...

Why go to all the bother? Just grow your catnip and if there's any left at the end of the summer then dry it. I grew it for a while and it produced loads of seeds for the next year anyway.

Good luck and also bear in mind that you need a lot of plants for a smidgeon of oil sometimes. Fill a 2 litre flask with plant material and get;

2ml chamomile oil

12ml bay leaf

8ml lavender

trace lemon balm

10ml peppermint

It all seems pretty random and you'd never know how much essential oil you'd get from any plant till you tried which may be a long, expensive way down the line. Get your oil extracted and then you have to think about contamination, concentration and preservation too. That's probably just scratching the surface!

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Beer keg 3 inch copper tube dairy conectors ta da home made fifty litre moonshine still reflux condenser can be made out of cheap copper pipe fittings plenty of guides on net mine exact copy of mile high one works awesome

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Just get an airstill for about £180 some large 35l buckets 6 kilo of sugar vodka star yeast,make your own carbon filter and in 10-14 days you will be running 85% alcohol.

Very little chance of blowing the house up worst could happen is the still burbs (blows the lid off ) make sure you throw away the first 50ml out of the still and zero chance of going blind.And you will have very nice vodka at 40% for £3.50 a litre.

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EBay reflux still lab glassware bout sixty five quid all borosilicate glass my beer keg one makes one eighty proof all day long depends on what u want the end product to be mine was a experiment to see if it was as easy as it sounds nope but practice makes perfect and mine is now feckin perfect i don't use it much as its a lot of wort to produce and twenty two litres end product fun though

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mine average about twenty litres 105/110 proof diluted down to safe gives about sixty litres at fifty to fifty five proof as its a reflux it base spirit can be flavoured any way you choose

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How do you heat your beer keg?

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