How to make a green citrus eau de cologne

Alembics guides us through the process of making our own green citrus eau de cologne.

As we move towards winter, plant growth is slowing, flowers are finishing, and fruits and seeds are dropping for the next round of growth in spring. Now is the time to cut back plants, and utilise the abundant seasonal supply of green citrus.

Here is a wonderful way to make your own natural cologne or room spray using the overflow of fallen green citrus and aromatic leaves and stems. Take your harvest from your own backyard, a community garden you are involved with or from a friend or family’s forgotten trees or shrubs.

What you need

  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • A clean glass jar with lid
  • A small Traditional Copper Alembic Still
  • Atomiser spray bottle
  • 4 green or fallen citrus fruit (a mix of lemon, lime and grapefruit is good)
  • A good handful of freshly cut aromatic green prunings (both leaves and stems are good – we used lemon verbena, green leafy twigs of a grapefruit tree, fennel flowers and seeds, lemon-scented geranium, Thai basil, and Vietnamese mint).

What to do

  1. Peel the citrus and cut them into quarters and place in a clean glass jar.
  2. Cut the prunings into small pieces and place them on top of the citrus fruit.
  3. Cover with the bottle of wine.
  4. Label with the date and what you intend to use it for, for example 10 April 2019 – Green Citrus Eau De Cologne.
  5. Leave for a full lunar month and remember to shake it up from time to time.
  6. After a full month has passed, pour the contents of the jar into a small Traditional Alembic Still. If you have a citrus essential oil on hand you could add 20 drops.
  7. Follow these instructions: How to make eau de vie
  8. Pour the finished product into a spray bottle and use as a lovely bright citrus cologne, linen spray or aromatic room spray.
  9. If you plan to use it on your body like perfume, always patch test first to ensure suitability. We are all different and will react in different ways to both natural and non-natural ingredients.
  10. If you’d like to understand the distillation process better, head along to an Alembics Distillation workshop
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