In Tuscany on a botanical trip with Bombay Sapphire, we learned how the orris root is grown and processed to use in the gin.
Orris root is the rhizome of the Iris flower. Here in Tuscany they are grown on sloping hills between rows of olive trees. Nice space.
These iris flowers are not grown for their beauty, unlike other iris varieties, but for the quality of their rhizomes.
The rhizomes are bulbs on the base of the plants. Skinny roots shoot off the rhizomes. These are cut off.
The plant tops, with a tiny portion of the rhizome attached, are replanted.
The orris is then hand peeled.
Then it is left out to dry in the sun.
Later it is aged. The floral aspect comes out only after this, when it is extracted into gin or perfume.