Enjoy the scents of summer the whole year through with our small-batch, steam distilled hydrosol spritz.
What is a hydrosol? From the Greek word for water (hydro) and the Latin word solver which means to loosen or solve, a hydrosol is water solvent. Sometimes referred to as floral waters or aromatic waters, hydrosols are safe, all natural water distillates.
At Gholson Gardens, we use a small copper still filled with our clean, pH-neutral well water. The botanical material is mindfully harvested at its peak and carefully placed in the still, just above the water. As it is heated to a boil, the water transforms into steam, passing through the botanical material. The steam loosens the material to release and capture its cellular water and volatile oils. With rapid cooling of the steam, it transforms back into water and is collected and bottled.
There are many uses for hydrosols, from aromatherapy, cosmetic and culinary, depending on the particular type of botanical distilled. Our hydrosols are perfect for aromatic refreshment to be used as a spritz for face and body, in the home or car, on fresh laundry and linens, to uplift and refresh.
For our first offering of hydrosols, we distilled and tested many of the flowers that we were already growing for our fresh cut market bouquets. Everything from echinacea, yarrow and calendula, to geranium, marigold and fever few. So many beautiful scent profiles to choose from, we settled on the two we found most enjoying without being overpowering.
The first is Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) and a standout favorite in all aspects. The 2019 season was our first time growing this plant, selected mainly for its multipurpose capacity to serve as both a filler in arrangements as well as the backbone of our dried wreaths for fall. A tall, dark green plant with almost fern-like growth, it germinated effortlessly and then had a field day in our alpaca compost-filled soil, growing to over 5 feet tall. Sweet Annie lives up to her name and has a subtle, inviting and ephemeral scent. We distilled it in three separate lots, experiencing its early growth scent, mid-summer and then again when in full bloom.
The next is Nicotiana (Nicotiana alata) which is an heirloom variety of flowering tobacco. This plant is vigorous and unabashed, not afraid to take up space with its graceful sprays of white blossoms. The blooms are abundant, with new sprigs of flowers sprouting up seemingly overnight, wafting with a strong, old fashioned jasmine scent. We thought this one might be too strong once distilled, but actually found the opposite. It is a nice contrast to Sweet Annie, without being overly perfumy.
Each bottle is 1 fluid ounce consisting entirely of the distilled botanical using our well water, with trace amounts of grain alcohol (used as a sterilizer in the distilling process), and a whole lot of love.