ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL PRODUCTS
Image: Indian rosa centifolia
In a mad three to four weeks in May/early June, thousands of migrant workers descend on valleys of cultivated rose bushes across regions of many countries like Bulgaria, India, Tunisia and Turkey to collect the petals and take to nearby rose oil steam distillation facilities to create numerous rose based fragrant products. There are many types of ancient rose and countless rose hybrids that are cultivated around the world, these are a few examples.
The two main species of rose used by the fragrance industry have most likely been developed from the French rosa gallica, these are the hybrids rosa centifolia and rosa damascena.
Production varies on geography and the type of rose. To give an idea of scale, the average weight of a rose petal is 0.25g, a flowers worth is 5g and it takes 3 tonnes of petals to make 1kg of rose oil. A truck load of rose petals weighs 20 tonnes. If one truck arrives at a processing plant in a day, rose water is produced. If three trucks arrive in a day, then rose oil is produced. This is because it requires less biomass to produce rose water than it does rose oil. Some rose petals are kept aside for solvent extraction to produce rose absolute and some are kept for drying (used for weddings, cosmetics and confectionary etc).
Collecting petals by hand in a hot region, running a rose steam distillation unit 24 hours a day for four weeks, you can start to understand why rose oil costs so much. If that seems like hard work, locals also celebrate the season with local festivals and invite perfumers from around the world to stay, immersed in rose scented air, to watch production.
Apart from it’s amazing aroma, rose is renowned for its rejuvenating properties. The waters are said to improve the tone and texture of skin. The delicate, floral scent is also recognised as an aid for stress relief and a mood uplifter.
Here are all of the rose based products Khush Ingredients offer from this fascinating harvest:
We offer two types of rose oil, Conventional and Organic rose oil both from Bulgaria. These are all steam distilled oils from the freshly gathered petals of rosa damascena in Bulgaria. These oils are available in 500g and 1kg containers.
An interesting way of quickly telling whether your rose oil is genuine is that it is solid at room temperature, however if the slightest warmth is applied to the container, even from your hands, it will start the thawing process.
The Bulgarian rose oil contains a higher methyl eugenol level and with methyl eugenol being a highly restricted sub-component in cosmetics, Khush Ingredients also provides a low methyl eugenol level rose absolute, sourced from India.
We provide two options for rose absolute: the Bulgarian rose absolute and the Indian rose absolute containing a low methyl eugenol count.
ROSE ABSOLUTE DAMASCENA (BULGARIAN ORIGIN)
The Bulgarian rose absolute is produced from the rosa damascena flower native to Bulgaria. You will notice below that it has a distinct soft pink around the stigma, with the outer petals becoming more translucent and appearing white.
Image: rosa damascena
ROSE ABSOLUTE CENTIFOLIA (INDIAN ORIGIN)
The Indian rose absolute is produced from the rosa centifolia flower, which you will see is more vibrant than the rosa damascena. This low methyl eugenol rosa centifolia oil smells a little different from the rosa damascena variety.
Image: rosa centifolia
Rose absolute is produced by a two stage process of solvent extracting essence (usually hexane) from the petals to produce a concrete. The concrete is held in containers and when needed is converted to the absolute oil using ethanol. The resulting rose absolute can be produced any time from July onwards.
Bulgarian rose absolute typically has 0.3 to 0.8% methyl eugenol, whereas the Indian rose absolute has typically 0.04% methyl eugenol. This suggests that ten times the amount of Indian centifolia could be used than Bulgarian damascena for the same ME level. High quality rose absolute requires high quality rose concrete.
Not all rose absolutes are the same, so please ask for a sample of our Bulgarian rose or Indian low ME centifolia absolute before buying.
Our rose absolute is sold in 100g, 500g and 1kg lots. As it involves chemicals to produce, there is not an organic rose absolute possible.
ORGANIC ROSE WATER
The organic rose water is produced through steam distillation when not enough petals are available for rose oil production. The water is gathered and held in a storage tank before being decanted into small containers. The water is decanted through a UV filter to minimise the amount of residual microbes present in the water.
Image: rosa damascena grown in Bulgaria
Organic rose water is produced just once a year, however it is best that waters are consumed within two years of production. Khush Ingredients has invested in microbiological test equipment and are undergoing shelf life testing of organic rose water and other floral waters to understand how the microbe levels within sealed bottles change over time. We routinely check microbe levels after a year.