Summer is lavender harvest time and from July to September, crops will be harvested and a variety of aroma ingredients produced, from lavender essential oils through to hybrid lavandin aromas – more on those below.
Lavender is one of the most instantly recognised aroma ingredients in all kinds of household products, cleaning solutions, scented candles and other toiletries and cosmetics.
It’s up there with scents like vanilla in terms of popularity – so much so that you can even take a package tour to Provence to witness the harvest first-hand!
At Zanos we supply a range of different lavender aroma ingredients, including natural lavender essential oil.
Lavandula angustifolia – also known as English lavender although it is not native to England- is the source of some of the main lavender scents, including pure Lavender angustifolia, sweet Lavender maillette and ‘true’ Lavender officinale.
You may have heard of ornamental lavender – which is planted in gardens for its attractive appearance – and culinary lavender, which is used in cooking.
In fact there is no officially recognised distinction between the two, and generally speaking most varieties of lavender around the world can be used for culinary purposes, although some are more commonly preferred than others.
In general when we say ‘lavender’ we mean English lavender, botanical name Lavandula angustifolia. However, there is also ‘spike lavender’, botanical name Lavandula latifolia, which grows at lower altitudes.
Combining these two produces the hybrid plant lavandin, which goes by the botanical name of Lavandula x intermedia.
Lavandin tends to grow bigger than English lavender, with larger, spiked flowers that bloom later into the season, and typically yields around 50% more essential oil.
The essential oil derived from lavandin has a higher camphor oil content, which makes it popular in more stimulating scents, for example in nasal decongestants or when an uplifting effect is desired.
In contrast to lavandin, pure lavender aroma ingredients are more delicate, with the soft, floral scent that most people associate with the plant itself.
Lavender is also associated with medicinal benefits, including in the treatment of burns – something lavandin’s higher camphor oil content makes it less suitable for.
Each of these aroma ingredients – including the different varieties of lavender and of lavandin – has its own unique properties and benefits, giving end-users plenty of choice when incorporating the new harvest into aromatic products in the months to come.