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Back in the late 1950s and early 60s I was an essential oil distiller for several summers on our family-owned peppermint farm north of Madras, Oregon. I operated an industrial-sized still for several weeks where truckloads of freshly cut peppermint were brought. I hooked up some specialized piping for getting steam into the bottom of the large tubs on the back of the trucks and then hooked up a water-sealed gasket to force the steam and peppermint vapors out the top and over to the huge cooling apparatus to condense the steaming hot vapors into peppermint oil. The work wasn’t difficult, but the hours were dawn to dusk and beyond, and I put in some seventy-hour weeks. I don’t remember how much oil we got, but there were about twenty sixty-gallon barrels per summer. We were the sole suppliers to Wrigley’s for their peppermint gum when I was working there, so if you chewed any peppermint gum back in the sixties you were probably getting your flavor from what included my efforts. Part of the good flavor comes from totally hand-clearing weeds out of the fields, and I did a lot of that too.

Recently I have been attending lectures on essential oils and retrieved my Spiritual Sky Essential Oils sampler kit that I’ve owned for over three decades, it was in my bathroom drawer. I had sniffed through the twenty bottles in that kit many times over those decades. That included on the top row: African Violet, Cherry, Strawberry , Frangipani, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Shalimar, Lemon-Lime;  on the bottom row: Blueberry, Musk, Passion Flower, Patchouly, Raspberry, Sandalwood, Strawberry, Yellow Rose. A strange thing about smelling these odors over a hundred times is that I cannot link names to some of them from their odors. That inability to name them is exceedingly strange because I can smell every one of them perfectly well and uniquely when side by side. Supposedly there is a terrific ability to link an odor to long past events, but it seems to require a memorable event, and not just sniffing twenty bottles with labels on them one after the other. One time I visited my uncle overnight, who had moved into my grandparents’ home, after they had died, and slept in my grandmother’s bed, and bam!! the instant my head hit the pillow there was a terrific pleasant smell of my grandmother. The sensation soon went away, but it was very strong and unmistakable for several seconds. It seems we need some unique linkage to remember odors.

Recently, after attending a lecture on essential oils sponsored by doTerra, I became re-enthused about essential oils. Their oils are quite expensive for someone just entering the world of odoriferous oils, so I went online and purchased a cheaper twenty-bottle essential oil collection set from EMORI. That also included a six-bottle set of blended oils. These are very good oils, but they are not near as perfect as the doTerra ones. I can fall in love with the EMORI odors, but I can go into ecstasies with some of the doTerra oils.

I went to another lecture for the doTerra oils last night, and once again can’t believe what I have been missing out on all my life, especially since I several times thought about getting into the odor business. I didn’t because when I spent a lot of time going around smelling things, especially flowers, that quickly made my sinuses swell up, so I quit doing it. I have no reaction problem with these essential oils so I’m back to living in my nose.

My EMORI collection consists of Basil, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Citronella, Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Patchouli, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tea Tree, Vetiver, Wintergreen, Ylang ylang; and the blends Anti-Anxiety, De-stress and good sleep, Calm down, Kama Sutra, Muscle relief, Silhouette slimming.

Back when I was flying jets for the USAF one of the benefits of landing at some new airport was that every place had a unique smell, but I could only perceive it for the first few sniffs after taking off my oxygen mask. I never get that blast of new odor when getting off of commercial aviation flights, apparently because the air gets slowly mixed before getting outdoors, or perhaps they use sensation killing deodorants inside the airplanes because so many people are contained together for so long it becomes unpleasantly stinky, and those chemicals prevent my nose from perceiving any odor for a while.

Most people are into essential oils for their health benefits; I’m into them for pleasure.