Of course, I'd love to boast that Snowdrift Farm sells an oil apart from others that are available on the market today, but the truth is that our best-selling lavender essential oil, our French lavender 40/42, is a standardized material. This means that the lavender 40/42 you purchase from Snowdrift Farm should be of the same quality as any lavender 40/42 in the world. The numbers 40/42 refer to the linalyl acetate/linalool count -- that odor which makes lavender oil smell like, well -- lavender. Essential oils of citronella and eucalyptus are similarly categorized.
What makes Snowdrift Farm's 40/42 different from others out there is our consistency. We have been purchasing from the same source for over 10 years. From distillery to distillery, oils differ, even if ever so slightly. There's a lot to be said for consistency. The same with our Bulgarian lavender essential oil. It's a beautiful oil, with a rounder, sweeter note than the 40/42. Our Bulgarian lavender has a camphor count of about 2%. That's pretty low and its relative absence adds to the sweetness. By contrast, the 40/42 is in the 6-8% range. I use the 40/42 for soapmaking and reserve the Bulgarian for perfumes, lotions and other such goodies.
Lavender grows all over the world in the temperate zone. They say the 'best' lavender is cultivated in the Mediterranean, where the soils are rocky or sandy and drainage is optimal. Hot weather encourages the plants to flower and bloom. Harvest and distillation take place quickly during the summer months, June through September. Here in the USA, plenty of good lavender is cultivated and celebrated. There seem to be an awful lot of lavender farmers located in Washington and Oregon, though. Our friends at Pelindaba Lavender and Sequim Lavender celebrate lavender yearly with festivals and fairs. Now, that would be a fun road trip.