Have you read many turpentine reviews lately? How about ever?
I use turpentine every day in my oil painting. Winsor Newton is a pretty reliable manufacturer. Their oil paint, while not the best, is very good and it’s reasonably priced. Their English Distilled turpentine is my usual choice. It handles well in my medium and performs reliably.
Recently I tried Richeson’s Rectified Turpentine. W&N’s turpentine is getting a little pricey and I use a lot of it, so I thought I might save a buck. Mistake.
The first thing I noticed upon opening the container was its brownish color. W&N’s is very clear. In this photo, W&N turpentine is in the left-hand jar; Richeson’s is in the other jar. (I always decant turpentine because it’s easier to measure portions.)
The difference in color is striking. I should have relegated the Richeson’s to brush cleaner status straightaway, but I went ahead and mixed my medium with the Richeson turp. The poor-quality turpentine had a dramatic effect my medium, rendering it sluggish and unresponsive. I threw out the Richeson-spoiled batch and made a fresh mixture with W&N’s turp.
I will only use Richeson’s Rectified Turpentine to clean brushes, which means it’s a total waste of money. I use the much cheaper mineral spirits to clean brushes, and if I wanted to use turpentine for brush cleaning, I’d buy the cheap stuff from the hardware store. That stuff isn’t much browner that this expensive and mediocre product.