Not many people can say that they’ve turned their dream into a reality. Most that have, can’t tell you that they’ve been doing what they love for more than 30 years. Robert Seidel is a man who is passionate about what he does for a living and has the credentials to prove it.
1969: THE JOURNEY BEGINS
It's 1969 and Mr. Seidel has begun his journey, not in distillation, but with a heart for nature and the love of the outdoors. He attended New York State Ranger School at Wanakena where he received hands on training in the field and a Certificate in Forest Technology and an Associate in Applied Science in Forest Technology.
DEGREES IN FORESTRY
His schooling didn’t stop there. Mr. Seidel’s passion for knowledge led him to Paul Smith’s College where he continued his education in forestry and received an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Forestry.
Even then, the calling to further himself was still strong. In 1971 Mr. Seidel attended Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry simultaneously, in the beautiful state of New York. He continued to study the great outdoors and at the end of his two year stay, Mr. Seidel had received a Bachelors of Science in Forestry from Syracuse University and a Bachelors of Science in Forestry and Resources Management from SUNY at Syracuse.
A GREATER CALLING
Even with all his education, Mr. Seidel felt a greater calling. He wondered about the natural fragrances of the forest and how they could be used in his everyday life. Curiosity got the best of him. He wondered if there was a way to capture the natural sent of the forest, to use the organic ingredients to create a product worthwhile. Everyone he turned to for answers told him it couldn’t be done. Even his professors were skeptical. They had never heard of anyone attempting to do what Mr. Seidel was suggesting. Still, that didn’t discourage him. Mr. Seidel found out that there was a whole community around the world that produced the same products he was dreaming about through distillation.
1977: THE ESSENTIAL OIL COMPANY IS FOUNDED
In August of 1977 Mr. Seidel founded The Essential Oil Company in Portland, Oregon and made his dream a reality. The Essential Oil Company imports and distributes essential oils and other natural products that come from all over the world. They also distill essential oils themselves, and supply the industry with distillation equipment. The Essential Oil Company represents artisans in Portugal who manufacture hand hammered copper alembic distillers for making hydrosols and oils. These stills have been traditionally used for distilling spirits. Mr Seidel has designed several stills for distilling essential oils and hydrosols. Additionally, The Essential Oil Company represents manufacturers of small, medium and large scale distillation equipment.
AN UNPARALLELLED STANDARD FOR QUALITY
Although Mr. Seidel imports some of his products from overseas, he has a very high standard for quality. Regular visits to his suppliers in Asia and Europe, not only helps to keep his relationship with the suppliers current, but lets him make sure the quality of product that is supplied to him is the best the industry can offer.
35 YEARS LATER
When asked how the distillation process has changed over the last 35 years, Mr. Seidel said, “Not much really. The process is pretty much the same, but the product has come a long way. It’s a lot better quality nowadays.”
Both his eye for quality and go getter work ethic have helped him to create a successful business that is unique and innovative across the world. The product that his company sells brings the fragrances of the world home and new products arrive every day. Even Mr. Seidel, the "Guerrilla Distiller," has a hard time picking his favorite.