First, bang grass (or Khus Khus, or Vetiver) seems to grow only in the toughest ground imaginable. In the hot sun, digging these roots out of clay is just too much work. Then, we have to cut the grass from the root bundles and soak the bundles to loosen the tough soil. We massage, massage, massage until the fine roots are clear of soil, and then we spread them to dry.
Next, we wait until we have some unsuspecting and willing helpers, and we sit them down with clippers to finely clip the fine grass roots. When they get arthritic, we encourage them to pace themselves and take a break or two.
Finally, we’re ready to start the distillation! Vetiver can be a 36 hour distillation, but we have never managed to get past the 9 hour mark for a number of reasons. We so long to see the heavy oil that comes out in the later hours of the distillation! We would love to smell our own oil from a complete distillation! I don’t mind going sleepless if it means I can hold a bottle of our own vetiver in my little eager hands.
This desire, this longing for something as simple as inhaling the aroma of a bottle of grass root oil is what motivates a distiller to suffer in the hot sun, get arthritis and drink too much coffee. Does it make sense? Maybe not to some people. But yes, obviously, too me, it does. Because I find myself scoping out some grass roots near a construction site down the road, thinking: “Man, the tractor is just going to dig them up and they’ll go to waste…”.
And I know what this whole project means in terms of suffering and hard work, but to be honest, I don’t really care. Wouldn’t it be nice to just smell our own complete vetiver oil? I feel happy just thinking about it!