Rose Petals for Rose Oil
By Stan V. “Stan the Rose Man” Griep
Colorado Native Consulting Rosarian
Over 40 years of experience growing roses.
Making rose oil out of the petals of roses has been very important to the country of Bulgaria, particularly to Kazanlak, Bulgaria, where they have an annual Rose Festival to celebrate the rose. An area known as the “Rose Valley” in Kazanlak is a region located just south of the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. The rose valley is famous for its rose growing industry, roses have been cultivated there for centuries, and rose valley produces 85% of the world’s rose oil. Bulgarian rose oil is the highest of quality to be found anywhere in the world, quite superior to any other countries rose oil in fact. The extracts (also known as attar) are a precious ingredient of fine perfumes and liqueurs world-wide. They are also used for flavoring lozenges and scenting ointments and toiletries.
The rose gathering process, traditionally the women’s responsibility, requires great dexterity and patience. The rose blooms are carefully cut one by one and laid in willow baskets which are then sent to the distilleries. The gathering process is conducted in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak in the rose petals. The season for gathering of the roses runs from May to June, lasting only about 25 days, beginning slowly and increasing as the roses bloom more abundantly. The pink colored roses are the best for the making of the purest and highest quality rose oil. Out of 5500 to 6000 pounds of the pink colored rose petals collected approximately 2 pounds of rose oil is produced. Thus you can see why Bulgaria’s superior rose oil goes for around $300.00 for one (1) fluid ounce!
Rose oil belongs to Rosaceae family (Rosaceae), genus Rosa L., subgenus Cynorodon, Section Gallicanae. Roses grown for the purpose of making rose oil are grown in 4 species — Rosa damascena, Rosa centifolia (stolistna rose), Rosa gallica and Rosa alba (From the descendants of Rosa damascene.). While there are more than 5000 varieties of roses, only a few of them exhibit that distinct fragrance that is sought by the perfumeries of the world. The process of actually getting the rose oils is one of steam distillation. The heat used in the distillation process must be carefully monitored and controlled. The aroma of the extracted rose oil can be ruined if the heat has been too high.
An amazing Lady she is this Queen of Flowers, the Rose…….