Perhaps no flower is more well-known and recognized than rose, as it continues to be an expression of love, a symbol of devotion, and an illustration of femininity.
From its rich hues and graceful appearance to its unmistakable scent, the queen of flowers has captivated and inspired all who encounter it, and moved Shakespeare to write of its essence, Cleopatra to adorn her ships in rose oil, and Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, and Grace Kelly to perfume themselves in its signature scent. The scent of rose captures its aura and radiance in a way that reveals the flower’s romantic dreaminess.
There are several thousand species of rose, but only a few that produce a scent. Experiencing the scent of a garden rose is usually a majestic encounter not forgotten. Two of the most popular species used in perfumery are Rosa Damascena and Rosa Centifolia. Though they only blossom once a year, it takes three years for a flower to mature to harvest. The pink petals are harvested before 8am between mid-May and mid-June. Rose can be produced into an essential oil (rose otto), created from steam distillation, or absolute from a solvent extraction, an accord built in tandem with supporting notes, hydrosol (a water byproduct of steam distillation), or commercially available rose water. It is a versatile note that speaks to the heart of a fragrance, and is coveted for its elegant, warm characteristics. It takes about 10,000 pounds of flowers to create 1 lb of rose oil, making it rare and costly.
Just like in wine, the terrain and region can affect the color and scent of rose oil. Scent impressions can range from fresh and crisp to waxy, sweet and rubbery to green and dewy to spicy and rich. A Rose Damascena from Morocco can be of a browner color with a spicier hay-like aspect than a Turkish Rosa Damascena, which is a notorious rose as it’s classically floral green with a darker pink color. The Bulgarian rose valley is treasured for its ideal climate and winds, though other countries of origin include Turkey, Morocco, India, Russia, Moldovia, Egypt, and France.
Remarkably, the oldest rose fossil was found in Colorado, USA at approximately 55 million years old, proving that the essential flower has been enchanting the earth for quite some time. It is a far-reaching feeling to connect to the energy of a rose in this way as its essence can permeate time and space. It seems as if the qualities of rose and what it represents, that of love and beauty, are essential components to life itself. Appreciation of beauty drives us and love transforms our nature. Compassion can change perception, kindness can move us to connect, and the more we can open to love, the wider our hearts expand.