Q: Does your company use steam distillation?
RVL: No. Steam distillation is typically used more in the fragrance industry to extract scent molecules. For example, with rosemary or lavender oil, they’re typically using steam to distill off the terpenes. The problem with steam and cannabis is a lot of the flavor is lost when you steam distill the terpenes off. This is due to many factors. Some terpenes and flavor compounds are soluble in water, so they’re lost in the aqueous layer when the terpenes are separated from the water. Also, steam distillation is carried out at high temperatures, and many of the lower boiling point compounds are hard to recondense and are lost. This combined with denaturing due to the high temps all lead to a flavor profile that is wildly blown out of proportion to what the plant originally had to offer, and most connoisseurs would turn their nose up at it.