Rose-oil in Perfumery

Rose, the most iconic and romantic flower. Poets write about it, lovers buy it, and we use it as décor in our homes and plant it in our gardens for its beauty and smell.

Not only is rose the foundation for romance, but it is also the cornerstone of perfumery. It is featured in almost 75% of all modern female fragrances, and at least 10% of all men’s fragrances.

But what do we really know about rose in fragrance?

Where does Rose-Oil come from?

Rose-oil is used extensively in perfumery and one would assume that it is used for its floral notes but this amazing raw material is used because of its depth and many facets, not only is rose oil ‘floral’  and can also be powdery, sometimes fruity, musky, woody, clove-like, or just wonderfully feminine.  Damask Rose, Turkish Rose and Rosa Centifolia are the three roses used most in perfumery.  70% of the world’s rose-oil production comes from Bulgaria, other major producers come from Morocco, Iran, and Turkey.  A precious and limited quantity of Rose de Mai is produced in Grasse – in the South of France.  What makes this particular rose so special is the fact that it only blooms during the month of May and is considered to produce the highest quality rose absolute.

Cutting of roses & Distillation process:

The production of rose oil is intensive and meticulous. Rose-pickers from Bulgaria only have a few weeks from May to June to harvest these precious flowers. Picking roses is a hard and labour intensive process that can only be done by hand and at a certain time of the day. Roses have to be picked before 10:00AM, however most of the picking is done in the dark, before sunrise to ensure the highest quality rose oil. Each flower is cut individually, laid in willow baskets, and taken to the distillery, where the distillation process starts immediately. Time is of the essence here, the longer the rose is left to wilt the less powerful its aroma becomes. 

During the first step of the distillation process, the petals are placed in copper distillation stills, where low-pressure steam is discharged through the fresh blossoms to release the essential oil into the vapor. Secondly, the scented vapor is condensed by cooling the coil. The third and final step of the process is the oil separation, the rose-oil is easily separated from the water due to the difference in the density.

Price & Petals to Oil Ratio:

The entire production of rose-oil is intricate and labour intensive, so one would expect that the oil will be expensive, however, R190 000 for 1 kg of Bulgarian Rose Oil sounds a little excessive.  But here is why; 170 rose flowers are said to relinquish but a single drop of rose-oil. It takes three to four tons of Damask Rose petals to produce 1 kg of rose oil and ten tons of Rose de Mai petals from Grasse to produce the same amount.

Due to excessive price of pure rose-oil, some rose-oil producers mix the rose oil with other oils that contain the same molecules as rose oil, such as palmarosa or geranium oil to make it more affordable.  Meaning that most “rose-oils” in perfumes have a ratio of 90% palmarosa or geranium oil to 10% pure rose-oil.

Top Rose Fragrances from our Collection:


A scent similar to 212 VIP Rosé Red by Carolina Herrera

Rouge Rose embodies an elegant, glamourous, and fun woman that is ready to paint the town red. The composition represents notes of Bulgarian Rose, pink champagne, fruits, peach blossom, and sensual warm woodsy notes, amber and musk.

A scent similar to Roses Musk for woman by Montale

Desert Rose is an extraordinary mix of only 3 notes creating a spectacular scent that is light and airy. Delicate dew-kissed roses in full bloom combined with musk and a hint of jasmine completes this beautiful fragrance.

A scent similar to La Nuit Trésor Nude by Lancôme

Bare All is romantic, warm, and sensual.  Notes of brilliant rose intertwined with bergamot and balanced with rich vanilla and creamy coconut.

A scent similar to Idôle by Lancome for Woman

Elegance is a magnificent scent which merges modern ingredients and accords such as pear and the new “clean and glow” accord, with a significant number of classic elements such as Rose, Musk and Jasmine. This fragrance has been masterfully created by 3-woman perfumers for the modern, powerful woman who still maintains undeniable and abundant femininity.


A scent similar to Desire by Alfred Dunhill

The first whiff is a burst of freshness with top notes of neroli, bergamot, lemon, and apple.  The heart is sweeter with notes of rose, patchouli and teakwood and the composition ends with warm notes of vanilla and musk.

A scent similar to 1 Million by Paco Rabanna

Dollar Boy has a spicy, woody scent, with a noticeably sweeter smell than the usual woody scent. It opens with top notes of Blood Mandarin and Grapefruit.  The heart is filled with sweeter notes of Rose and the base is rich with woody notes, amber and leather. It represents power, wealth, luxury, and durability. Perfect for a night out on the town.

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