SMALL-SCALE CRAFTSMANSHIP - Chapter 1
Small-scale craftsmanship, ensures essential oil quality
Bigger isn't always better. Verified by 3rd party testing, our artisanal organic farm produces high-quality sustainable aromatherapy products.
Aromatics International’s organic farm is located high in the pristine mountains of Montana, surrounded by towering conifers and crisp, clean air. There is no water, ground, or air pollution, and the land has never been touched by a harmful spray (such as a pesticide or herbicide).
Living on the land where we farm and wildcraft gives us an up close, personal experience of nature. It’s a privilege to cultivate high-altitude lavender fields, go on hikes to wildcraft local arnica and St. John’s wort, and spend long afternoons patiently distilling essential oils and hydrosols.
We value quality over quantity. Keeping our fields and harvests small allows us to closely monitor the health of our plants and the quality of our products. Working on a small scale also allows us to maintain our high standards for organic practices.
In contrast, large-scale operations sometimes have to resort to using harmful fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. And they may use distillation practices that result in lower quality oils.
Our hands-on experience gives us common ground with other producers. We know exactly what a commitment to sustainability looks like, and can easily recognize practices that respect the earth, the plants, and the final products.
Traveling to meet new small-scale farmers and distillers is one of our favorite parts of the aromatherapy business. Finding people who share our values is like meeting kindred spirits! It grows the international aromatherapy community… and it’s fun! Our best relationships with these folks have lasted for decades. We consider them friends. (You’ll meet some of them later in this guide.)
Cultivating those relationships is another way we guarantee the purity of our products.
The most important part of the process: testing for purity
Whether we’re producing our own oils or importing them from friends, we batch test every essential oil we sell with GC/MS technology.
This is a critical part of our process, and we’ll never skip it (even though it can be expensive for some oils).
What is a GC/MS test, and why is it so crucial?
GC/MS stands for gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.
This lab test identifies every constituent that’s present in an essential oil.
You can think of a GC/MS lab report as an “ingredient list” for an essential oil. It lists an oil’s therapeutic components, and makes it clear if the oil has been adulterated. (Adulteration is an unfortunately common practice, whereby cheap or synthetic substances are added to an essential oil to reduce its price. Sadly, this also reduces the oil’s effectiveness and quality.) Without a GC/MS test, it can be almost impossible to know if an essential oil is adulterated.
After the GC/MS lab test is performed, third-party chemists review the results.
They ensure that each oil contains the appropriate chemical profile, and they identify any substances that should not be present—including adulterants, and harmful sprays that may have been used to grow the plant (which can remain in the essential oils even after the distillation is complete).
After third-party chemists give their “stamp of approval,” our own in-house chemist reviews the information and formats it for our website. We post each essential oil's GC/MS report for your review, because we know how important it is to know that the products you use are pure and natural.