If you've ever bought a hydrosolfrom the same plant from one company and then bought another from the same plant from a different company, you might have experienced this. So why do hydrosols from the same plant but from different companies smell different?
It depends on a few different factors. There are major differences between hydrosols that are distilled for that purpose and those that are obtained as a byproduct of distillation. Especially if the hydrosol is cohobated (recycled continuously in distillation to provide more chemical constituents to the essential oil which takes away from the hydrosol).
Another reason could be due to the experience of the distiller - are they new to distilling hydrosols or have they been doing it for years and understand the different nuances of the hydrosol they are distilling for. A full bodied and well-crafted hydrosol is not something that can easily be recreated by just anyone. Hydrosol distillers spend years honing their craft to produce the best there is.
One potential reason is that the hydrosol is being sold past its shelf life. As a hydrosol ages, it oxidizes like essential oils and loses the few volatiles it contains.
This potential reason may be cause for concern - there is not a solid procedure for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in place. Often leading to hydrosols being contaminated and causing bacterial and fungal growth that might be unseen to the naked eye. GMP along with proper storage is a NECESSITY for anyone distilling or selling hydrosols. Without it, a hydrosol can go bad quite fast and cause users significant issues.
Another concerning reason might be that it is adulterated. And yes, hydrosols CAN and ARE frequently adulterated. A few years ago, there was a huge mess over an adulterated Neroli hydrosol. Thankfully, the business owner got the testing needed to verify adulteration and was able to manage the consequences from their supplier. They can be adulterated with preservatives and chemical constituents to bolster a hydrosols aroma among other things. I've even heard someone mention them being diluted with distilled water and sold which is a whole other issue.
One final reason it might seem different could have to do with the actual plant or environment - was the plant properly identified by the distiller? Was the plant material harvested and distilled right away or left to dry before distillation? Was the plant material harvested at the same time as previous season? Was the growing season significantly different than the previous season?
All these things and even more can contribute to subtle to extreme differences between the same botanical in hydrosols. Therefore, it's important to know that the business you are supporting knows as much as possible about the plant, how it's distilled, where it comes from, and the distiller. Hydrosols are truly unique and authentic when they are produced via distillation for that purpose and even more so from artisan distillers.
If you need high quality hydrosols you can count on, check out our collection of hydrosols here.