cistus distillation

Specialized on Cistus/Labdanum, we offer a large range of 100% pure and natural raw materials

Harvest 2012

The cistus/labdanum harvest began in July and was completed in August. The 2012 harvest is comparable to that of 2011, despite the severe drought that affected Spain’s Seville region. Harvest conditions were difficult this year due to the heat. The constant threat of fire led to harvesting schedules being reduced for the safety of the collectors. Our production unit operates continuously curing the cistus harvest. The night shift distills the cistus and, in the wee morning hours, on the fragrant hills of the Almaden de la Plata nature reserve, collectors are already back at work. Using a sickle, they cut only the year’s new shoots, so as not to endanger the shrub’s health. The branches are taken to the factory, where they are distilled to obtain the essential oil, or extracted with solvents to produce first the cistus concrete, then the absolute. Cistus shrubs produce a very fragrant resinous exudate, labdanum, to protect themselves from undue moisture evaporation caused by the sun. This gum is what is collected to make labdanum resinoid.

Aromatic raw materials from Cistus

This plant, which has exquisite amber notes, is our source for the great variety of natural aromatic raw materials we have available: traditional cistus essential oil, cistus concrete, cistus absolute, clear labdanum absolute, labdanum gum, and labdanum resinoid.

Our broad knowledge of products obtained from cistus means Albert Vieille produces and sells a number of specialties. LABDASUR, with strong animal-leather notes, is a very attractive alternative to animal-derived materials.


The cistus we harvest in Andalusia is Cistus labdaniferus L. Beta maculata Dun.of the Cistaceae family. This shrub grows throughout the Mediterranean.


Labdanum gum has been used in Carthage and Egypt since ancient times. It was one of the ingredients in the "Royal Persian perfume" of Ahasuerus. Herodotus recounts that labdanum gum was collected by combing the coats of goats that had grazed on cistus-covered hillsides, which coated their long hair with the gum. Later, labdanum gum was collected using rakes made with leather “teeth” that were then scraped with a knife. As the goat technique had certain industrial limitations, a modern method was developed for extracting the gum...