Last week, during a filming session at the perfumery for an upcoming feature, I distilled the beautiful golden flowers of Chamisa with my small glass still. The result is an enchanting, mellow yellow hydrosol that smells of liquid sunshine.
The main notes are from monoterpenes like d-limonene, which contributes to the warm, sunny scent. There is a darker yellow rim of the hydrosol which indicates a tiny amount of essential oil. I’m going to do a run in Spiritus, my cooper still, to see if we can capture more of the essential oil.
Chamisa, a perennial shrub native here in New Mexico is a member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) and goes by many names including: Rabbitbrush, Rubber Rabbitbrush and the latin Ericameria nauseosa.
The scent of the hydrosol has very little in common with flowering plant, which is quite fascinating. Although many are allergic to the pollens found on the flowers, the hydrosol does not carry that encoded message and may actually work as a type of homeopathic remedy.