Making Lavender Oil - Modi - 2008
3 of 5 sacks
Lavender Gill with product
Pansy does her job
Preparing to load
Don;t fall in Babbis
Packing the biomass
Loading the still
Another sackload goes in
Checking the heat
The master distiller lectures the grower
Waiting and contemplating
Ladder to heaven
The business end
The final alchemy

Forget Usain Bolt, forget Roger Federer's not unsurprising return to magisterial form, instead think Joe Calzhage dumping Bernard Hopkins, think Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins rule of the Olympic Velodrome. The Brits are back on top.

After a long and gruelling day and a tough evening at 0120 local time this morning The Lavender Way's 2008 spica harvest broke, no smashed, no demolished the long standing Modi single still yield world record.36 kilos of The Lavender Way's finest spica produced more than 1500 ml of essential lavender oil of the highest grade.


To put this into perspective consider that no single still distillation in the 17 year history of this exceptional distillery has ever broken the 1 litre or 1000 ml mark. Modi features two 600 litre stills and few double still sessions produce more than the magical litre of essential oil so for a single still session to go through that barrier (think 9.6 seconds for the hundred metres, think 3 minutes for the 1500 metres) and just keep going had every witness to this amazing performance holding their breath as the seemingly impossible mark approached and shouting and cheering wildly as it slipped further and further into the past. At 1500 ml the cheers turned to gasps and even the master distiller, a man of immense experience who has seen more distillations than most, sat slumped in his chair, mouth agape and eyes wide - speechless like the rest of us. We knew that we had seen history made but until the official calibrations have been made and entered intothe record book we will not know the exact magnitude of this performance. All we know is that the world is a different place today. The Lavender Way spica harvest of 2008 has rewritten the record book. The bar has been raised.


And what of the woman who masterminded this amazing performance? Lavender Mistress extraordinary Gill S wiped a joyful tear from her eye and announced that she would be back next year and that "... it won't be easy, but I think we can surpass this". When I asked how much of a surprise this had been she lowered her eyes and calmly stated "I knew in July that the crop was in good shape ... the summer conditions were just about perfect and the plants did what they had been selected for ... at the end of August my drier said this record was up for us and from then on we just went for it." She and her drier slipped away from the victory celebrations at about 0200 -no doubt they had 2009 on their minds - and some lavender to look after.

Related items: The 2007 distilling - here The 2008 distiling - here