A visit to the Distillerie de Bassins
Since 1975, the Distillerie de Bassins has grown its plants in the favourable climate of the Vaud Jura above Nyon. At an altitude of 750 metres, the distillery cultivates medicinal plants there by ecological methods. Valuable natural essential oils are extracted from sage, parsley, camomile, lavender, lovage, thyme, dill, tarragon, oregano, silver fir and bee balm.
The high quality of the essential oils and hydrolats from the Distillerie de Bassins is highly sought-after in Switzerland and abroad for the production of perfumes and fragrances.
In the autumn of 2020, we had the opportunity to take a tour of the little Distillerie de Bassins. Jean-Marc Genevay showed us his factory and the nature reserve where the fine silver firs which give our "Forest Magic" Oil Bath its relaxing fragrance grow.
Waste from forestry operations in the Vaud Jura is used to produce our silver fir oil. For this, the local forester regularly selects firs which are due to be felled. The distillery only uses the branches with needles to produce the essential oil.
The branches are always chopped small either on site in the forest or directly at the distillery. A conveyor belt then feeds them into tanks.
Hot, boiling spring water then flows from a boiler down into the locked tank. Rising water vapour, at 100–120°C, permeates the silver fir needles and twigs and releases the volatile materials, which are drawn off through a pipe which ends in a cooler. The cooled, liquefied steam separates of its own accord into water (hydrolat) and essential oil, which is lighter and therefore floats on the surface of the water. This separation into hydrolat and essential oil is known as decanting.
A whole tonne of chopped silver fir is turned into just one kilo of pure, natural sliver fir oil in around four hours by this process. No wonder essential oils are so valuable!
The plant residue in the tank is recycled and reused as fertiliser.
Storage & «Maturing»
After decanting, the essential oil is stored in smaller stainless steel tanks and analysed batch by batch. After one to two months, the silver fir oil can then be sold. It takes at least that long for the perfect silver fir fragrance to develop and be ready for use in our balancing "Forest Magic" Oil Bath.
Find out more about the Distillerie de Bassins and all the high-quality products made by the Genevay and Guinen families at: http://distilleriedebassins.ch/