Alcohols in Hydrolats


Our existence is AMAZING!

A simple chemistry lesson just from a response to the question:

"Which kinds of the Hydrosols are alcohol free? thanks"

Thanks for the interesting and quite complex question.

In what context is your need for the question? Do you or don't you want alcohol in the Hydrolat? I'm assuming you don't, but that is an assumption.

All of our Hydrolats (hydrosols) are simply the product of steam or hydro steamed distillation of plants. This is a true hydrolat. However some people do make them by adding a few drops of essential oilsinto water, water and alcohol, glycerine or combination of and stir or shake it. We don't add anything to Kobashi hydrolats.The unscrupulous factor is when individual's in companies try to pass this off as a genuine hydrolat. What quality of 'water' or 'essentialoil' is your guess is good as mine and is a deeper subject.

Read on to journey the rabbit hole that can be quite magical or frustrating, according to ones nature.

Don't be afraid of hydrogen. You won't blow up in you! Well not if you don't compress and split the atom. Almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.

Isn't it wild Water is one Hydrogen molecule with two Oxygen molecules.

"The alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol. Ethanol is a two carbon alcohol with a terminal hydroxyl group (-OH).

Ethanol is an interesting molecule. It is polar or hydrophilic (water-loving) due to the presence of the terminal hydroxyl group, so it dissolves in water. Yet because of the 2 carbon chain, it has a bit of non-polar character. There is no separation of electrical charges between the carbon atoms, thereby minimizing intermolecular interactions in aqueous solutions. Generally, carbon chains (saturated with hydrogens) give a moleculehydrophobic(water-fearing) character, making it less soluble in water. However, in the case of ethanol, the carbon chain is short enough so that the more polar -OH group dominates, giving the ethanol its polar character. In alcohols with relatively long carbon chains (4 or more), the polar effects of the -OH group are not sufficient to overcome the hydrophobic nature of the carbon chain, resulting in alcohols that are progressively less water-soluble."

In nature most foods if left to oxidize, even for a short time, will create alcohol from sugars, enzymatic and bacterial interactions.

In 1926 professor Nicholas Knight and Miss Violet Simpson, chemists showed bread contains residual alcohol, 0.04 to 1.9%.

Rose Hydrolat has Phenethyl alcohol: Molecular Weight: 122.16 g/mol, C8H10O or C6H5CH2CH2OH
which is more soluble in water, then say,
Linalool in Lavender: Molecular Weight: 154.25 g/mol, (C10H18O or (CH3)2C=CH(CH2)2C(CH3)(OH)CH=CH2)

Isopropyl alcohol is even more soluble in water:
Molecular Weight: 60.1 g/mol
Molecular Formula: C3H8O or CH3CHOHCH3 or (CH3)2CHOH

Almost everyone is using Isopropyl alcoholin hand sanitizers.



  • burger rolls: up to 1.28g per 100g (1.28% ABV)
  • rye bread: up to 0.18g per 100g (0.18% ABV)
  • banana (ripe): up to 0.2g per 100g (0.2% ABV)
  • banana (very ripe with dark bits): up to 0.4g per 100g (0.4% ABV)
  • pear (ripe): up to 0.04g per 100g (0.04% ABV)
  • cherry yoghurt: up to 0.02g per 100g (0.02% ABV)
  • white wine vinegar: up to 2.64g per litre
  • apple juice: up to 0.66g per litre (but most brands they tested were around 0.2g per litre)
  • orange juice: up to 0.73g per litre
  • grape juice: up to 0.86g per litre

Most essential oils have some form of alcohol at various levels. Alcohol is hydrophilic in different degrees depending on how many carbon molecules.

How much alcohol is in Neroli hydrolat? A very small amount. As shown in the below in relationship to the above, there is more in many of the foods we eat.

How do you actually work out the percentage of chemical components in relation to the water content?

If you look at Linalool in an analysis, of say, Neroli Hydrolat, there surely isn't 52.63% in relation to the total hydrolat water weight.

"The analyst is saying there is 0.562 gram per liter which means 0.0562% of essential oil in the hydrolat If Linalool is 52.63 % of the essential then to see what percentage does it represent in relation to the hydrolat weight then you have to multiple 0.0562% by 52.63% and it would be 0.0002958 or 0.02958%.

However to be more correct the analyst said there was 0.562 grams of essential oil per liter and you have to consider that 0.868 ml of the essential oil weights 1 gram meaning the 0.562 grams per liter is equivalent to 0.647 ml of essential oil per liter then calculate the % weight of Linalool based on 0.647 instead of 0.562.

The percentage weight of Linalool in relation total weight of hydrolat would be: 0.0647% 52.63% = 0.0003405 or 0.034%." Sadok supplier of fine Neroli essential oil and Neroli hydrolat.

Typical naturally occurring chemical components in a good Neroli Hydrolat:

Any constituent name ending in ol is an alcohol.

neroli Hydrolat p1

neroil Hydrosol p2

neroli Hydrolat p3

Take for instance Lavender which has Linalool (C10H18O or (CH3)2C=CH(CH2)2C(CH3)(OH)CH=CH2) Molecular Weight: 154.25 g/mol It is a tertiary alcohol and a monoterpenoid.

"A tertiary alcohol is a compound in which a hydroxy group, -OH, is attached to a saturated carbon atom which has three other carbon atoms attached to it."

The list of natural chemicals as tertiary alcohol is extensive. tertiary alcohol

The list of natural chemicals  as monoterpenoid is extensive. monoterpenoid

"Any terpenoid derived from a monoterpene. The term includes compounds in which the C10 skeleton of the parent monoterpene has been rearranged or modified by the removal of one or more skeletal atoms (generally methyl groups).
Soluble in all proportions in ether; slightly soluble in water; Sadtler Reference Number: 1005 (IR, prism); 8114 (IR, grating); Max absorption (alcohol): 243 nm shoulder (log e = 1.58), 272 nm shoulder (log e= 0.44) /d-Linalool/
Linalool is a monoterpenoid that is octa-1,6-diene substituted by methyl groups at positions 3 and 7 and a hydroxy group at position 3. It has been isolated from plants like Ocimum canum. It has a role as a plant metabolite, a volatile oil component, an antimicrobial agent and a fragrance. It is a tertiary alcohol and a monoterpenoid.)

Take for instance Rose Hydrolat which has Content of Ethyl Alcohol, % 0, 81 Molecular Weight: Phenethyl alcohol 122.16 g/mol C8H10O or C6H5CH2CH2OH

Organic Compound
Phenethyl alcohol, or 2-phenylethanol, is the organic compound that consists of a phenethyl group group attached to OH. It is a colourless liquid that is slightly soluble in water, but miscible with most organic solvents. It occurs widely in nature, being found in a variety of essential oils. It has a pleasant floral odor.

Ethyl Alcohol is a group with an extended family.

Water and alcohols have similar properties because water molecules contain hydroxyl groups that can form hydrogen bonds with other water molecules and with alcohol molecules, and likewise alcohol molecules can form hydrogen bonds with other alcohol molecules as well as with water. Because alcohols form hydrogen bonds with water, they tend to be relatively soluble in water. The hydroxyl group is referred to as a hydrophilic (“water-loving”) group, because it forms hydrogen bonds with water and enhances the solubility of an alcohol in water. Methanol, ethanol, n-propyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and t-butyl alcohol are all miscible with water. Alcohols with higher molecular weights tend to be less water-soluble, because the hydrocarbon part of the molecule, which is hydrophobic (“water-hating”), is larger with increased molecular weight. Because they are strongly polar, alcohols are better solvents than hydrocarbons for ionic compounds and other polar substances.

More info at
  • Table Of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Structure and classification of alcohols
  • Physical properties of alcohols
  • Commercially important alcohols
  • Sources of alcohols
  • Reactions of alcohols

Physical properties of alcohols

Most of the common alcohols are colourless liquids at room temperature. Methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol are free-flowing liquids with fruity odours. The higher alcohols, those containing 4 to 10 carbon atoms are somewhat viscous, or oily, and they have heavier fruity odours. Some of the highly branched alcohols and many alcohols containing more than 12 carbon atoms are solids at room temperature.

Physical properties of selected alcohols
IUPAC namecommon nameformulamp (°C)
*Ph represents the phenyl group, C6H5".
methanolmethyl alcoholCH3OH-97
ethanolethyl alcoholCH3CH2OH-114
1-propanoln-propyl alcoholCH3CH2CH2OH-126
2-propanolisopropyl alcohol(CH3)2CHOH-89
1-butanoln-butyl alcoholCH3(CH2)3OH-90
2-butanolsec-butyl alcohol(CH3)CH(OH)CH2CH3-114
2-methyl-1-propanolisobutyl alcohol(CH3)2CHCH2OH-108
2-methyl-2-propanolt-butyl alcohol(CH3)3COH25
1-pentanoln-pentyl alcoholCH3(CH2)4OH-79
3-methyl-1-butanolisopentyl alcohol(CH3)2CHCH2CH2OH-117
2,2-dimethyl-1-propanolneopentyl alcohol(CH3)3CCH2OH52
cyclopentanolcyclopentyl alcoholcyclo-C5H9OH-19
cyclohexanolcyclohexyl alcoholcyclo-C6H11OH25
1-heptanoln-heptyl alcoholCH3(CH2)6OH-34
1-octanoln-octyl alcoholCH3(CH2)7OH-16
1-nonanoln-nonyl alcoholCH3(CH2)8OH-6
1-decanoln-decyl alcoholCH3(CH2)9OH6
2-propen-1-olallyl alcoholH2C=CH-CH2OH-129
phenylmethanolbenzyl alcoholPh-CH2OH*-15
IUPAC namebp (°C)density (grams per millilitre)solubility in water

The boiling points of alcohols are much higher than those of alkanes with similar molecular weights. For example, ethanol, with a molecular weight (MW) of 46, has a boiling point of 78 °C (173 °F), whereas propane (MW 44) has a boiling point of 42 °C (44 °F). Such a large difference in boiling points indicates that molecules of ethanol are attracted to one another much more strongly than are propane molecules. Most of this difference results from the ability of ethanol and other alcohols to form intermolecular hydrogen bonds. (See chemical bonding: Intermolecular forces for a discussion of hydrogen bonding.)

The oxygen atom of the strongly polarized OH bond of an alcohol pulls electron density away from the hydrogen atom. This polarized hydrogen, which bears a partial positive charge, can form a hydrogen bond with a pair of nonbonding electrons on another oxygen atom. Hydrogen bonds, with a strength of about 5 kilocalories (21 kilojoules) per mole, are much weaker than normal covalent bonds, with bond energies of about 70 to 110 kilocalories per mole. (The amount of energy per mole that is required to break a given bond is called its bond energy.)



I personally want to see alcohol in a Hydrolat, as this shows me it is real. It also has a degree of preservative effect.

Alcohol is only a problem to the system when the system can't deal with it. Anything can be a problem if it isn't right for the optimum functioning of the system. The state of the functioning or not so functioning system will determine dose overload or underload.

Read on to journey the rabbit hole that can be quite magical or frustrating, according to ones nature:

 - Back  Next> 

Recently Viewed