Chapter VI. On Distilling Vessels.
If you distill inside the glass, you need to have your vessel well set so as not to fall or float when in the water balneum. Always replace the evaporated water with no cold water to prevent vessel breaking. My ovens are made with holes peculiar to the purpose.
The best oven is the model on the left: a special fire-proof earthenware to be placed directly over the fire, shaped to provide holes for the water to be consistently warm.
If you prefer to cook directly inside earthenware, you can take inspiration from the drawing below: A cap; B vessel inside the balneum; C joint; DDD double vessel with the balneum water inside; E hole;
If you want to cook on cinders, take an earthenware or an iron cauldron well supplied with cinders. Keep two fingers of cinders between the cauldron’s bottom and the alembic’s bottom. Then put on a suitable fire.
On the distilling side, there is a warning almost all artists forget to apply: always keep the alembic’s neck well entering the cap; more, the alembic’s neck should be higher than the cap’s for the vapor to hit the cap directly. But take care the vapor doesn’t escape through the joints.
Chapter VII. On Vessel’s Lute.
Artists must pay close attention to well lute all joints since the substance involved is very volatile. To avoid losses, wrap the distilling apparatus neck with glued lining. Earthenware is easier to keep well closed. If you wish to watch your distillation take care; when joining the flask to the cap, the latter doesn’t touch the inside of the flask’s interior because, in this way, we couldn’t observe the drops falling; the operation is helpful to judge the distillation speed.
The gluing flour is very useful because, when opening the cap, it will be enough to dampen the lute with water.
Chapter VIII. Warnings on glassware.
All glassware must have a round bottom so as not to break easily. Take care to never touch the vessels inside the balneum or cinders before being chilled enough.
Chapter IX. How to Extract the Water of Life (Brandy).
Now we are ready to get down to work. It is not important to choose a good wine, even if it is not important to pick up wine, since we can operate on cinders, beer, and other brawn drinks. The only important thing is to operate well and separate all phlegms. I don’t mean to describe the common method here since all know about it.
A common mistake is to use too many high distillation temperatures to force the phlegmatic water to rise along with the spirit. One must keep in mind that to work correctly means to obtain a less final product.
Another mistake they make is keeping the cooler properly cold and not well luting the joints. The image I provide here displays the right way to chill down the cooler. A better way is the second example I give.
Chapter X. On Water of Life Extraction Theories.
The distillation system needs a cooler to avoid the passage of phlegm directly into the distilled product. If we eliminate the external cooling water, the presence of phlegm increases dramatically. The phlegm, being pure water, gets back once in contact with the cooler. While the well-rectified spirit of life never chills out.
The distillation pipe has to be outstandingly narrow, in comparison with the size of the whole apparatus, because of a reason related to the above theory: the spirit of life is so subtle that it easily runs without clogging and, additionally, the thin pipe causes its to become even more volatile, letting the phlegm behind.
Chapter XI. Why the Philosophers call their Water of Life SKY.
Once perfectly rectified, the water of life has acquired an ethereal virtue; it has become celestial. Because of the great simplicity of this product philosophers have compared it to the Sky, so high and perfect. In the same way, the Sky receives the influx from the Universe; the spirit of life contains all the virtues and qualities of what is encountered.
This spirit of life is a wonder of nature, which can extract all the spirits from the things it passes through.
Chapter XII. On the Spirit of LIfe incorruptibility.
Our water of Life can never deteriorate. It is perpetual in its perfection. It is never hot nor dry as fire is. Nor humid and cold as water is. Nor hot and humid as Air. Nor cold and dry as earth. It is like the Sky. It looks like ordinary water, but it is very different from it. It is not humid, rather, it is inflammable instead. Also, it never freezes. It is different from the air since it never gets corrupted. Its action looks like that of fire instead. It lasts forever if you put it in a well-clean and closed vessel. It is perfect.”
Previous parts: Brouaut and the Alliance of Water and Fire part 1 and Brouaut and the Alliance of Water and Fire part 2. To be continued at Brouaut, how to Extract the Dye and Soul.
- A very similar method is explained in Lemery and the Fixed Salt of Tartar Called Oil by Failure ;