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Organic Bulgarian Rose Essential Oil!


I just got back from picking up my latest order from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Organic Bulgarian Rose, Turkish Rose and Chinese Rose essential oils, along with Organic Neroli and Mandarin and Lime.

The Bulgarian Rose is coveted in the world of aromatherapy, and perfumemaking.  I’m talking about the pure stuff here, not concretes and not absolutes.  In fact, I’m so passionate about being a purist that I’m gonna quote a Bulgarian website about this amazing flower and their special relationship with it:

“Bulgaria is known as The Land of Roses.  The Bulgarian rose essential oil is one of the most expensive products, sold all over the world.  It is mainly used for the production of high quality perfumes.  Today, a kilogram of rose essential oil costs USD 5,000 at the international market.

Rose essential oil, or so-called “rose otto,” is produced by a water distillation process in copper stills.  Yields can differ depending on the quality of flowers and the method of distillation: it may take 3,000 to 5,000 kg of flowers (more than one million flowers!) to produce 1 kg of rose oil.  A collector usually gathers 25 kg of blossoms a day. It is thus not difficult to understand why genuine rose oil is so expensive.

Roses are also used to produce important quantities of concrete.  The concrete is obtained by a cold extraction of fresh blossoms with hexane.  Since rose concrete is only partly soluble in alcohol, it is later refined by an alcoholic extraction to get the absolute.   350 kg of flowers are needed to produce 1 kg of concrete, which explains why concrete is less expensive than the rose essential oil, and 1 kg of concrete gives 0.65 kg of absolute.

Rose essential oil is a pale yellow liquid which congeals around 20°C and is alcohol soluble.  More than 140 molecules have been found in rose oil.  Its main components are alcohols: citronellol, geraniol and nerol. Rose essential oil also contains terpenes, aldehydes, esters and oxydes.  Numerous minor components nevertheless contribute significantly to the richness and complexity of its fragrance, such as ß-damascenone.

Most molecules of the rose oil can be isolated from other oils or synthesized, and good analytical reconstitutes may be found on the market, although the fine odor of the authentic rose essential oil has never been matched yet.  Adulteration is often done by adding to rose oil its synthesized components in the same proportion.  Given the high price of rose oil, a buyer should pay special attention to its authenticity.  Fraud may be easily discovered, but sometimes very good equipment and above all great experience are needed to detect it. 

Rose essential oil is produced from Rosa Damascena, which is the species cultivated to produce rose oil for the fragrance industry.  Rosa Damascena cannot be cultivated everywhere as it needs a gentle temperature and a humid air during the flowering time to get a good yield of oil.  That is why this rose is mainly grown under temperate climates, usually at an altitude between 300m and 1200m.” (rose flower image courtesy of bulgarian journey)

Isn’t that amazing?  I’m just in awe right now.  And you can be sure that in 4-6 weeks I will be stocking my online shop with a few new perfumes, all containing these fantastic esssential oils. *sigh*

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 2010/06/10 2:53 am

    Caroline I soaked up your info on roses……I’m in heaven, Neroli is my fave right now
    as well, except for rose oils…..thanks for all the interesting info.
    Rock n’ Rose on………….

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