Q&A with the Jakemans Mentholologist, Steve Pearce
When was menthol first used?
The properties of peppermint oil and consequently menthol are believed to have been recognised for some time with reports of use in Japan about 2,000 years ago, although first recorded use in Europe only occurs around 1771.
How is menthol made?
Menthol can be produced naturally from mint but can also be synthetically produced, most commonly from citronella oil. When produced naturally fresh mint is air-dried to create mint oil which is filtered to remove any solid particles and impurities.
The mint oil then cooled to -40°c to cause the menthol in the oil to form flakes and separate from it. The solid flakes are then collected and heated to 50°c which creates a liquid solution of menthol which is then cooled to room temperature resulting in crystallisation.
Once crystallation is complete it is poured into decanting trays where the large clumps of crystals ...