Piñon from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado




Floracopeia is pleased to offer a small collection of extraordinary essential oils produced in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado. The aromatic treasures from the Sangre de Cristo range are unique in several ways.

First, this distillation project was directly inspired by David Crow’s aromatherapy and meditation programs in the community of Crestone, which led to several residents organizing to purchase a still and learn how to use it.

Second, this project is an excellent example of how essential oil production can directly benefit ecological protection and restoration efforts. The two primary oils that are produced, pinon pine oil (Pinus edulis) and Rocky Mountain juniper oil (Juniperus scopulorum), are distilled from trees and branches harvested during fire mitigation, which would normally be left as slash piles and burned as waste.

The long-term goal of this project is to generate income from secondary forest products as a way of supporting sustainable forest management, rather than depending on continual expenditure by the state and federal governments, such as the US Forest Service, which are affected by economic cutbacks.

Third, the production of these oils represents the potential for “community immunity,” through the benefits of local production of botanical medicinal products that are shared and distributed at highly reduced costs. “Community immunity” also refers to the biological role of the essential oils, which is to protect the trees from pathogens; by using locally produced oils as household medicines, these oils in turn help protect people from the intense weather changes and the immunological challenges associated with this bioregion.

Fourth, these oils have unique characteristics as a result of being distilled at higher altitudes, where less heat is required to boil water in the still. The result is essential oils that are extraordinarily rich in aroma compounds, and correspondingly rich in olfactory and therapeutic characteristics.

Fifth, these oils are not commonly produced by other distillers, and are therefore part of the Floracopeia Specialty Oils collection.

The pinon pine oil is a blend of oil distilled both in the spring and the fall seasons, thereby producing the full range of essential oil compounds exuded by the trees in both phases of their growing cycle. The aroma is distinctly different than other conifer oils. The fragrance has soft floral-fruity topnotes, a range of turpenic-balsam heart notes, and a deep resin base. The impression is that of resinous trees exuding their perfume in the hot summer sun, yet there is also an almost buttery scent that reminds one of the taste of pinon nuts. Therapeutically, one can look to the historical use of pinon sap by Native Americans to understand the applications of this oil for respiratory and infectious purposes, as well as wound healing and tissue regeneration. This oil is one of the ingredients in Forest Essential Oil Blend.

The pinon-juniper co-distillation is produced by simultaneously distilling equal amounts of Pinus edulis and Juniperus scopulorum. The result, from the olfactory standpoint, is an oil which has all the floral, buttery, resinous notes of the pinon combined with the more typical fresh sweet gin-like notes of the juniper.

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