We have been invited to hold a public demonstration of distillation during an event organized by the city of Rimini. The event, a fair, is about smells and tastes, especially those made by hand, and with a sense of tradition.  Chefs from all around the world will be participating.



This exhibition, focussing as it does on the most antique crafts, is the perfect venue for Bashir, a master distiller of essential oils and builder of modern alembics, who will be promoting his distillation course even as he demonstrates it.

alambico-distillazioneBashir helps me distilling

 Our material for the fair: Himalayan pine that Bashir brought from the hills.




The fair is supplying us only with the electricity; on our own, we have enough water for cooling our super condenser and a water pump.



I have brought my perfumes to show how aromatic plants become transformed into the fragrances that we wear. Together, my stall and Bashir’s complement and complete each other.


It is an opportunity for many people to smell my perfumes.



Among them my most popular in Rimini:  African Night the anti-stress perfume; Bambini, the perfume for the inner child; and Oak Moss, Tarzan’s perfume.



Click on the pictures below to widen them

natural-perfume3natural-perfume1 natural-fragrance5 natural-perfume2



The moment when the essence comes forth is always a moment of joy, even after so many distillations.



On the second day we will bottle the essence of the previous day, and our pine perfume will be ready for the public.



The distilled mass is still hot, and very fragrant with the scent of pine wood.  The aromatic molecules that the wood contains are heavier than those of the needles, and the steam takes a longer time to extract them from it.  As the distillation cools, people come, take a handful and smell it.  When they do, they have a sensory experience unlike any they have had before.



This hot material could be applied on joints to cure arthritis and joint pains.

bashirBashir is in charge of the distillation

Bashir is very happy to have been able to show his skills of distiller and constructor of alembics, and he and I are very glad to be able to show our work in public, and pleased that our distillation has raised such a great interest among both the public and our colleagues in the ancient crafts, confirming what we have long believed: that many people are fascinated by the alchemy of transforming matter.



I have been learning to understand the process of distillation before learning to distil.
“You can learn to love only by loving” says Rumi, and you can learn to distil only by distilling.
The more I distil and teach others to do it, the more I realize the fascination that distilling exerts on all people who come across to it.
The transformation of matter into spirit appears to us like a sort of good magic. I have been pondering for some time on the appeal that distillation has on human beings.
I believe that distillation is showing us in the material world a primordial spiritual process of mankind. The distillation of one’s self.
Distilling yourself means to eliminate all that makes yourself as a person in order to become the pure spirit of your person.
It is no more possible to describe what is to become the pure spirit of your person than it is possible to describe love. But when you experience even a little of it you know it.
Distillation is a process that is painful to the plant and distillation of self is a painful process to our ego. No distillation can occur without a distiller doing it and the distillation of self needs a person to put you in the alembic and to lit the fire to make the water boil.
This is why either we are searching for such a person or we are fleeing from such persons, but in any case if you are destined to be distilled you will be caught by the distiller.



My garden in Italy is a forest of wallnut trees, my neighbours are peasants and they do not like wallnut trees, they always tell me: “cut these trees, nothing grows under the wallnuts”. I tell them “I do not cut trees, I plant them”. And when the heat of the summer comes, the dense walnuts foliage make such a shade that my garden is the best place to stay around, cool and ventilated and I am so glad that I did not listen to them.


The smell of wallnuts leave is beautiful and we shall attempt to extract the essential oil from them.


Bashir has been my first Italian student of distillation, he is now quite expert and he has even learned how to build distillers. We are 2 tecnicians and we have added a few inovations to our distillers that make them really unique.


Our double stage condenser is designed so well that it consumes very little water and the distillation water comes out of it just a little warm.


Our steam boiler of 50 liters can be transformed in minutes into a smaller distiller. For it we use only the first stage of the condenser and a pressure coocker as a smaller steam generator.


We crop the branches, they have also the small fruits. We shall chop the whole branches, included wood and fruits, and fill the 150 liters distiller because we expect very little essence to come out.


Bashir has brought his son Hadi to learn the craft.


After 2 hours of distillation the essence stops coming out. We imagined that there was little essence to obtain, but not that little.
Out of 40 kg of raw material we got 4 grams of essential oil, but what a wonder, is is an iris like wallnut leaves smell, extremely persistent.


We have been waiting a month to let the essence mature and the perfume of Wallnut leaves “eau de parfum” is now ready to be shipped to curious profumistas around the world in small bottles of 4.4 ml.

Order Wallnut leaves Eau de parfum


We are back to North Cyprus and the flowers of the Turunj bitter orange trees that we have distilled a month ago have now become small green fruits. We shall distil them together with the leaves to obtain the precious “Petit Grain” essential oil.


Adam the goat keeper of Maulana and Ibrahim who is a school boy are my new students of distillation.
We get the material to distil from Sheikh Bahauddin’s garden.


Distilling is beautiful, everybody likes it, it is alchemy, a kind of very primordial good magic. Extracting the living spirit from aromatic plants.
What nobody knows is that it is so easy to do it, you just have to stick to the protocols and everything goes smooth.
You just need 3 qualities, scrupulosity, attention and discipline. Ibrahim is the first kid to whom I teach distillation.


Hajji Uthman from Belgium is our sweets dealer, he brings us the apple pie from the Greek side. He is so huge that everything near him becomes small. I think that he could eat the pie all by himself but I give him only a bigger piece than to other guests.

In 2 and half hours, our 50 liters distiller has produced only 35 ml of essential oil, it is little but it was worth it, the fragrance is so good that we don’t have to let the essence mature even for a day, the Italian ladies liked it so much that I had to prepare straight away 3 bottles of our “turunj petit Grain” eau de parfum for them.


The perfume is now on our shop and can be shipped to the lovers of “Maulana’s gardens perfumes” all over the world.