Lavender essential oil—the essence of aroma.
Lavender is a great, drought-resistant plant, with seemingly endless varieties, and it swims happily in both the olfactory and gustatory realms. We consider it as the aromatic face to aromatherapy, while still maintaining a strong and steady role in perfumery. Lavender is considered to have many indications, or uses, and has interesting and pleasurable side effects. It’s synonymous with relaxation, and always appropriate for yoga, shivasana, meditation, sleeping, dreaming, day-dreaming……Lavender is known for anti-insect properties, balancing the skin, soothing spasms, the list goes on and on.
We know you probably have your own favorite lavender uses, and your own preferred lavenders from us here at Enfleurage. So I’ll just mention ours…they are all French, because……French lavenders are the most reliably the best, despite crazy competition from lavenders from all over the world. Lavender grows many places, and we respect the Italian, the English, the Californian, the Bulgarian, the Greek, the Adriatic, the Spanish, the Africans, and Kashmiri. We respect the Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian lavenders, and the Syrian and Iraqi ones too. We respect the three varieties native to Oman, the ones found in China, and Chile, Mexico and Australia. You get my point. Lavender is a great adapter, and is happy in many places, under many circumstances, but the most at home, and happy, reliable lavender, that is distilled regularly and with great expertise, is from Southern France, at varying altitudes, from Provence and the Maritime Alpes.The exception is our Spike, who comes from Spain.
We have three official lavenders—they are all Lavandula angustifolia, but different varieties. All of our lavenders are excellent quality—you can’t go wrong.
Lavender Mailette—this is a clonal lavender; not grown by seeds. Originally from Valensole, France, it’s sometimes known as “English Lavender” as it grows in a broad range of terroir. The flowers are beautiful, tiny, barrel shaped (as opposed spiky) plum to lilac star-shaped flowers, deep purple, and with a distinctive, strong and soft, sweet fragrance. It’s a very comforting and soothing lavender, and if you grow them, they will perfume your entire garden with the encouragement of the sun. Lavender mailette has a strong, sweet and distinct aroma; very high proportion of linalyl acetate; considered to be most important constituent for lavender’s soothing and relaxing, antispasmodic aromatherapy effects. It’s a perfect choice if you are making blends, or soaps, or anytime you want a friendly and delicious lavender
Lavender Mailette was first introduced to the United States in the early 1980’s; and the credit of this goes to Pierre Grosso, who is the same Grosso we associate with another major lavender variety, of course: Lavander Grosso.
Pick this lavender if you’re unsure, or wanting a good stand-by-you, always beautiful, always true to herself lavender. Also for culinary use in gelatos or chocolates, this lavender will be happy with sweet flavors…honeys, teas, desserts.
This essential oil comes from certified organic plants.
Lavender Fine—My personal sweet spot--This is a cultivated lavender, grown from seeds, and it’s certified AOP. (Appellation d'Origine Protégée is a French term which translates to Protected Designation of Origin in English.)
It’s a population lavender, meaning there is some variety genetically; it’s not clonal. So it’s representative of the natural lavender population. The plants are certified organic, grown at altitude in the Haute Provence.
To me, this a delicious lavender, with an evocative sense of some of my favorite lavender fields. Perfect for edibles, skincare, perfumery, aromatherapy of course….anytime you want to visit those blue skies, rugged terrain, and soft, sweet fields of purple and green.
Lavender Wild—this is a specialty of one of our oldest suppliers who has just retired and handed her small distillery over to the next generation. Relying on the sun and a stone distillery high in the Maritime Alpes behind Nice, this is our high altitude lavender, and it’s quite rare and special.
This lavender is not grown—it’s wild crafted and cut by hand, using sickles. It’s distilled under lower heat, as the higher elevation means water boils at a lower temperature, enabling more constituents (mainly esters) to come over in the steam. Instead of boiling at 100C, higher altitude distillations will boil at 90-94C, meaning less constituents (esters, mainly) are lost in the hydrolysis and find themselves present in the essential oil. This is our most complex and interesting lavender. Again, perfect for culinary use, skin care, aromatherapy, diffusers……. This lavender is a bit more complicated, a bit more sophisticated perhaps.
All three of our Lavenders are excellent—I use all three myself and switch from time to time just for a change rather than a solid preference for one or the other. All are excellent. Our Lavandin is also French but our Spike Lavender is Spanish.
Lavandula x intermedia
Grown, harvested and steam distilled in the South of France from organically grown plants.
This is a lovely oil; lavender family, yes, and with spiky notes. Lavandin is a hybrid—a cross between Lavender and Spike Lavender. It grows at lower altitudes than true lavender. Virtually all American "lavender" is actually Lavandin.
Some people think lavandin is stronger. That's subjective, so you can make up your own mind.
Lavandin is less expensive than true lavender; it's easier to grow and more forgiving.
Also known as broadleaf lavender, Portuguese lavender or Aspic
Grown, harvested and steam distilled in Spain from organically grown plants
Spike lavender is a close cousin to lavender, and the scent is stronger, more pungent, and more camphoraceous. He grows at lower altitudes and has a higher oil content than angustifolia. The flowers are more blue-gray. All these lavenders are closely related.
Spike lavender is used a lot in perfumes, soaps, laundry products, cleaners, etc. The scent is strong and assertive, herbaceous and camphoraceous with an undertone of dry woodiness.