Friday, 15 February 2013

Photo Inspiration - Perfume Alembic

I have just written the description of my heroine's new perfume workshop, so I thought I'd share this photo with you. We saw this copper alembic or still for making perfume in a shop window in Bristol. It is similar to one that would have been used by my heroine Judith in all three books of The Healer's Shadow trilogy.

Alembics such as this have been used by alchemists, perfume-makers and healers for approximately two thousand years. It was said to have been invented by a Jewish alchemist called Mary. Its function in alchemical terms is to separate the spirit of the plant (the essential oils and scenter parts) from the body.

The raw plant materials are placed either in the body of the alembic with water and on oocasion packed into  the "onion" above it. The pot is placed on a source of heat and the steam rises into the tube called the "bird's beak" or "swan's neck" which links the pot to the condensor. Inside it flows through a copper coil known as surrounded with cold water, there the steam condenses to form flower water on top of which you will find small amounts of essential oils. Both can be used in perfume-making and traditional medicine.
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At 25 February 2013 at 07:13 , Blogger Tanisha Christie said...

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