It's Bulgarian Rose harvesting season! What better time to highlight the flower considered one of the most important essences in perfumery. As a new perfumer, I wasn't always a fan. The oil smelled too stuffy and "old lady" like, but I have grown to adore rose oils and traveling in Bulgaria made me greatly appreciate it's history and origins. Wherever we traveled, everything was coming up roses!
Roses have many various species grown all over the world and in Bulgaria they grow the Rosa Damascena. The Bulgarian Rose Valley near the town Kazanlak is the heart of the oil production. Most of the harvesters are women who work with a delicate and painstaking patience as to not damage the flower. When the flower is distilled it produces essential oils and hydrosols, commonly known as rose water used in personal care and cooking. The harvest happens May to June, and also includes local rose festivals celebrating Bulgarian culture and the treasured national symbol.
In perfumery, rose can make a formula find cohesion. It can soften rough edges. It can bring together dissonant oils in the bottle as if they are meant to be together. Seriously, you can't go wrong by adding a few drops of rose. This video at the Bulgarian tourism portal highlights the rose harvest, rose museum, and the local rose festival.
Want to create a perfume with rose? Join us for an upcoming workshop!