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First distillations

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Perhaps I ought to really say “First flasks”. Steam-filtered distillation is an ancestral technique. There is nothing technologically sophisticated about it: you heat water until it boils; the steam passes through the plant, drawing out its properties; it is then condensed and ends up as a hydrosol, which in the best of cases has a few drops of essential oil. Explained like that, or even observed up close, it does not seem too complicated, but that is when the subtleties come in, and you move on to another level. It is like when someone explains how to make a typical Spanish potato omelette. You say, “Okay, I know how to do that”. But you don’t. Sometimes the easiest things are the most complex. The final quality depends on small details, and no one is going to tell you what they are. Specifically, when it comes to distillation, no practical manual or publication is going to help you resolve the many doubts you will have. There are quite a few factors to take into account: quantities; the state of the plant and the parts of it you use; the temperature; distillation time; and all these varying with each species.

 

 

My first attempts at distillation were really disappointing. If I go back to my laboratory notes I see that everything was a failure, with a lot of block letters and exclamation marks. What I can say for sure is that you can only learn by doing things, and making a lot of mistakes. This is why you need a lot of time and have to be very methodical.There is no other solution for this, when you decide to set out learning on your own, though this is surely what most motivates me.

The first step was to find a good still. I spent a lot of time consulting on the internet and asking known herbalist remedy makers in the area. Once again, there did not seem to be much of a mystery about it, but you can totally err if you buy the wrong equipment. In the end I opted for the still that seemed to be the most serious: an Italian brand of stills and stainless-steel tanks. I chose a compact still with capacity for 30 l, ideal for doing smaller-scale distillations and experimenting with plants gathered on my own.

My first distillation is dated from 13 December, 2015. It was done with rosemary. In my haste (and because I was overexcited) I did not make note of the plant weight, and I forgot to write down the times. It was a total disaster and I only got 0.6 ml of essential oil, with a suspiciously orange tinge.
 

Primeras destilaciones

 

My last annotation in my laboratory notebook is from 11 June 2016. I also used rosemary that time, this time gathered near Casa Nova, in Romanyà. I used 2,010 g of young, fresh plants, which were distilled for exactly an hour. The result was clearly satisfactory: 1,180 ml of hydrosol and 14.5 ml of transparent essential oil, with a delicate white wine hue.

Between these two dates I did 56 distillations in the courtyard of my home. Many did not go well at all, although my house has never smelt so well, and so naturally too. Error is part of any learning process, and in spite of the frustration you get from it, it adds an epic touch to any sort of success that may come your way.

There are other traditional procedures plant scents can be extracted by, such as tincture or enfleurage (of which I will speak later), but for now distillation is enough of a challenge, allowing me to accumulate small quantities of top quality, primary materials I can formulate with in my laboratory.

 

Bee Brave

BEE BRAVE is a Bravanariz project aimed at promoting the biodiversity of our natural environments.
Conceived and financed by BRAVANARIZ, it is carried out in collaboration with various actors, both private (farm owners, beekeepers, scientists) as well as landscape protection associations.

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Mel olfactory disgresion

MEL is our first solid perfume and the result of a long collaboration with bees, our winged harvest companions. Made from organic beeswax (from the hives installed in our Bee Brave pilot project in Can Bech de Baix) and sweet almond oil from organic farming. Formulated only with essential oils from honey plants, which serve as food for our environmental heroes. Soft and balsamic, delicately aromatic. Its warm and welcoming background will make you feel good, with yourself and with your surroundings.

MEL is our sincere tribute to these fascinating social beings who have silently taught us for years the art of combining plants and aromas. Not only are they the natural perfumers of our landscape, but thanks to their tireless collecting work, they ensure the biodiversity of our landscapes.

Our first solid perfume

Testimonials

«This olfactory journey was a reconnection with something instinctive, an opening for all the senses to nature» Bojana (U.S.A.) «One of the most inspiring olfactory experiences I have had in my life” Lourenço Lucena (Portugal) «We started the day as strangers and ended as friends” S.Baber (U.S.A.)

Reserve an Experience

Every year, we create a series of olfactory experiences open to the public to share our personal creative process: the OLFACTORY CAPTURE.

It can be in the form of an Intensive Workshop (more technical) or as a more playful experience of immersion in the landscape through smell, which we call Walks.

In all of them, you will have the opportunity to practice the artisan processes of harvesting and distillation of aromatic plants, elaboration of essential oils, tinctures and hydrolates, as well as some of the best kept secrets of traditional perfumery.

You will learn about the plants that give the landscape its aromatic personality and you will discover a new way of relating to the environment.

The dates and modalities are published at two times of the year.

In January, the February-March Intensive Workshops and the spring-summer Walks. In September, the October-November Walks. If there is any scheduled activity, you will have the date and modality below.

October, 23 (Sunday)- Capture the essence of Molí Roquer

November, 12 (Saturday) – Capture the essence of Molí Roquer

Tailor-made Perfumes

We capture the essence of any natural environment that you choose. The aroma of your region, the perfume of your farm or that of the landscape that you contemplated years ago from the window of your room, in that summer house. But not only that, we can also capture the fragrance of a lived experience, a party, a house full of memories, of a workshop or work space. As long as it is based on natural essential oils, we can design your personalized perfume and capture the fragrance of what matters to you.

Case studies:

Perfume SON BRULL. Creation of an exclusive perfume for a Relais & Châteaux in Pollensa (https://www.relaischateaux.com/es/espana/sonbrull-mallorca-pollenca), on the island of Mallorca. Made with the most abundant plants on the estate and capturing the aroma of its deeply Mediterranean landscapes.

INCAVI project. Five olfactory captures for five wineries in five Destinations of Origin (D.O’s) in Catalonia. In this commission from INCAVI, we traveled to five wine regions to capture the aromas of the plants that influence the territory and the wines of five very unique wineries.

Casa Cuervo. After the success of our ESSAI/Olfactori Digression, inspired by the farm of our creator’s father, we were commissioned to create a perfume, this time, with the plants collected on the farm, to capture the essence of this corner of the Extremaduran landscape.

Tailor-made Experiences

We design tailor-made olfactory experiences adapting to your needs. From capturing the aromatic essence of a private garden, to an aromatic walk in a city. Talks, multi-sensory installations, natural perfumery courses for business groups or team building events. Whether you are a private group or a company, we will put together all our knowledge about plants and their aromas, in addition to enormous creativity, to create an unforgettable and transformative olfactory experience for you.

Tell us what your idea is, and we will make it come true.

Intro

BRAVANARIZ creates tailor-made olfactory experiences and bespoke perfumes that capture the essence of a place or a specific experience. From an exclusive perfume for a Relais Chateau to an olfactory walk in a private garden. Each new project, for us, is an exciting creative journey that stimulates us to seek and discover exclusive and original olfactory proposals that capture the aromas of nature and landscapes.

Objectives

Objetive # 1 

The main idea is to combine minimum intervention with maximum mutual benefit. We have to let Nature do her thing. We are just there to assist and
escort her.

First phase

-The first important thing is to recover the optimal state of the Prat de Dall. For this reason, we have to remove the poplar trees and clean away brambles and other bushes. We also need to cover the holes from fallen trees in order to level the ground well, so that it can be mowed.

-Along with this cleaning work, we will place the hives. Not on the prat de dall, but some 500m away (limit of the usual minimum radius of action for honey bees) , on a shrubland of aromatics, so we also give a chance to all the other pollinators to also take advantage of the prat de dall’s biodiversity.

Objetive # 2

Second phase

-Monitoring and maintenance of both lines of action: the hives (health of the bees, quantity and quality of the honey) and the prat de dall (variety of flora, mowing quality).

Become a donor meadow

Due to its characteristics, the Prat de Dall from Can Bec could become a perfect
donor meadow. Then, in collaboration with Prats Vius, we would collect its seeds in order to help restore other prats de dall in the area and use this location as a project showcase.

Replicate the project

After collecting enough data (2-3 years), we would love to replicate the project in other properties, making the necessary adjustments based on each propert

How to collaborate with the project

If you want to collaborate financing the project ,you can buy some of the garments that we have designed for it. You have a t-shirt and two different models of cap. The entire profit will be used to cover the expenses derived from the actions, monitoring and management of the Bee Brave project. Furthermore, you will help to gove it more visibility. Many thanks for your
collaboration.

Can Bech, The pilot Project

Near Agullana (Alt Empordà), almost near the French border, in the Les Salines Mountains, we found an abandoned Prat de Dall, now covered with poplar trees. The presence of these trees caught our attention, since they usually need humid soils. The first botanical studies made by Joan Font (a biology professor
at Girona University) confirmed our intuitions, and they exceeded our expectations. The richness of its biodiversity is outstanding. We convinced the owner to join the project and started the cleaning work to accommodate our first organic bee hives and recover the prat de dall.

Boosting biodiversity

Bee Brave starts from a basic idea. If there are flowers, then there are bees. And if there are more bees, there will be more flowers, and thus more plants. This, for thousands of years, has been one of nature’s most beautiful feedback cycles. However, excessive human ambition is changing this equilibrium and breaking the
cycle. BEE BRAVE wants to restore this cycle, even if only locally, focusing on two parts of the equation: the bees and their habitat here.

Bee Brave recovers semi-natural habitats of great biodiversity and in regression in the Empordà, called Prats de Dall (Mowing Meadows). The action focuses on the adaptation of the Prats de Dall and subsequent follow-up. This is how we ensure the health and good nutrition of the ecological hives that we have installed there. And on the other hand, these bees help with their pollination task, the recovery and maintenance of this semi-natural habitat.

“The idea is simple: give a bit back to the landscape that gives us so much. It is
a gesture of gratitude. While the landscape does not need us to be what it is,
the landscape builds us and shapes us much more than we recognize. We owe a lot to our natural environment. Being aware of that is already a first step. BEE BRAVE is Bravanariz’s humble way of going one step further.”

 Ernesto Collado, CEO & Found