ALL ABOUT ROSE ABSOLUTE: OIL FROM THE LAND OF ROSES ALL ABOUT ROSE ABSOLUTE: OIL FROM THE LAND OF ROSES


ALL ABOUT ROSE ABSOLUTE: OIL FROM THE LAND OF ROSES

August 18, 2020    
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IN ESSENCE...

  • With a uniquely exquisite and complex floral aroma, Rose Absolute remains one of the most coveted (and expensive) oils in modern natural perfumery.

  • Rose Absolute is extracted from the fresh blossoms of the prickly shrub Rosa damascena (also known as Damask Rose). The process first yields a waxy concrete, from which the absolute is extracted using a food-grade solvent like Hexane. The solvent is subsequently removed through a gentle heating process leaving behind the highly concentrated and viscous liquid known as an absolute.

  • Widely used in the perfumery, Rose Absolute is preferred by perfumers over Rose Otto due to its rich and highly intense fragrance, meaning relatively little is needed to achieve the desired fragrance strength.

  • Rose Absolute is also cherished for its skincare and aromatic benefits; it is reputed for its anti-aging and skin rejuvenating effects and is also a well-known aphrodisiac.


 

WHAT IS ROSE ABSOLUTE?

 

Rose Absolute is an aromatic oil derived from the fresh petals of the Damask Rose (Rosa damascena). Highly prized in natural perfumery, this concentrated oil is a viscous golden to amber liquid exuding a strong, intensely fragrant Rose odor.

Like other Absolutes, Rose Absolute differs from other commonly used Essential Oils due to its extraction process. Typically, an Essential Oil is extracted via steam-distillation or cold-pressing, while an Absolute is the product of solvent extraction. Thus, Rose Absolute should be distinguished from Rose Otto Essential Oil (or Attar of Roses). Rose Otto Essential Oil is a product of steam distillation and is a light-yellow aromatic liquid (becoming solid at low temperatures) that is used in aromatherapy as well as the fragrances and flavors industry. Compared to Rose Absolute, yields are comparatively poor for Rose Otto and it is therefore much more expensive. Another difference lies in the strength and quality of the aroma; Rose Otto has a more delicate aroma while Rose Absolute is extremely concentrated and reflects more of the true 'Rose' odor.



 

HISTORY OF ROSE ABSOLUTE

 

For thousands of years, Roses have had an unparalleled association with love, beauty, indulgence, celebration, and spiritual worship. The privileged status of Roses in society has given rise to its well-deserved moniker as the world's 'Queen of Flowers'. The origin of the Rose species Rosa damascena remains somewhat of a mystery; some historians believe it lies in Damascus, Syria's capital and the oldest city is known as the 'Pearl of the East'. Others, however, believe its botanical roots lie in historic Persia (now Iran). In the 1600s, a merchant from Turkey is thought to have brought the wide-scale cultivation of Rosa damascena to Bulgaria.

Up until the First World War, Bulgaria held an undisputed position as the most reputed and prolific producer of Rose Oil. Today, the region has been named as the 'Rose Valley', with many culturally significant traditions, parades, rituals, and festivals taking place to celebrate the famous Bulgarian Rose. It is believed that the highly complex, layered aroma and quality of Bulgaria's Rose Absolute can be attributed to the unique soil and near-perfect climatic conditions of the country.



 

ROSE ABSOLUTE BENEFITS & COMPOSITION

 

The composition of Rose Absolute is intricate and complex, a feature that is also reflected in its aroma. As a natural product, its chemical make-up can be influenced by regional and climatic variations such as the country of origin, amount of rainfall, level of sun exposure, and harvest conditions. The major constituents of Rose Absolute (Bulgaria) include Phenylethyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Geraniol, and Nerol.

PHENYLETHYL ALCOHOL is known to:

  • Be the principal contributor to the unique natural 'Rose' aroma, releasing a fresh and intoxicating 'Wild Rose' scent
  • Also be present as a natural constituent in Neroli, Geranium, and Ylang Ylang Essential Oils (amongst others)
  • Be widely used in soap fragrancing due to its pH stability
  • Have reputed antiseptic qualities

CITRONELLOL is known to:

  • Be a fragrance ingredient with a pleasant, floral, Rose-like scent
  • Help in clarifying and cleansing, aiding in the detoxification of the skin and scalp
  • Have natural insect repellent qualities

GERANIOL is thought to:

  • Be a fragrance ingredient with a pleasant, floral, Rose-like scent
  • Have antioxidant benefits
  • Have a reputed soothing and relaxing effect
  • Have reputed antiseptic qualities
  • Have skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities

NEROL is thought to:

  • Be a fragrance ingredient with a sweet, refreshing, Rose-like scent
  • Have reputed antiseptic qualities
  • Have skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities

In perfumery, Rose Absolute is known to be incredibly versatile, blending with most other Essential Oils to add an enticingly rich, sensual, sweet, and floral character to fragrance blends. It blends particularly beautifully with the Essential Oils of Bergamot, Chamomile (Roman and German), Clary Sage, Geranium, Melissa, Rosewood, Sandalwood, and Ylang-Ylang. As a heart note, it creates an aromatic bridge between the deeper base notes and the more fleeting top notes, creating a unique sense of body, richness, and complexity that many perfumers relish. Indeed, in the field of perfumery, Rose Absolute (Bulgaria) is considered to be one of the most classic and timeless scents, achieving the status of being an exemplary floral aroma.

In skincare, Rose Absolute provides a protective and astringent effect that leads to clearer, softer, and less irritated skin. It is often used in anti-aging applications and is reputed to address ailments associated with mature skin, such as dryness, dullness, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. Rose Absolute may provide additional soothing and anti-scarring benefits to the skin, helping to decrease irritation, inflammation, and pigmentation.

Rose Absolute also carries well-known odorant benefits. In aromatherapy, Rose Absolute is commonly used for its psychologically uplifting effects. It has been observed to be an anti-depressant, easing reactions of stress, anger, anxiety, worry, or anguish. Due to its calming and pacifying effects, it may be used as a remedy for insomnia. The romantic scent of Rose Absolute is also a known aphrodisiac, inciting mood, arousal, and sexual desire for lasting passion and intimacy.

Medicinally, Rose Absolute has a balancing and harmonizing effect that has been associated in aromatherapy with the alleviation of menstrual complications such as abdominal cramps, premenstrual syndrome, irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, and menopause. Research has also reported antimicrobial effects of Rose Absolute against specific strains of bacteria, which has been theorized to be brought about by the constituents Phenylethyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Geraniol, and Nerol. When inhaled, it is known to have a soothing effect on the respiratory system and has been traditionally used for the easing of asthma (although this remains a less common use today due to its cost).

The following summary highlights the many benefits and reputed activities linked to Rose Absolute:

COSMETIC: Anti-Inflammatory, Astringent, Anti-aging, Toning, Firming, Skin Rejuvenating, Moisturizing, Detoxifying, Scar Reduction

ODOROUS: Anti-depressant, Aphrodisiac, Anxiolytic, Soothing, Stress Reduction

MEDICINAL: Antiseptic, Bronchodilatory, Circulatory, Carminative, Regulating, Balancing



 

CULTIVATING & EXTRACTING QUALITY ROSE ABSOLUTE

 

Rosa damascena is a thorny deciduous shrub reaching roughly 2 meters (7 feet) in height. Once a year, in the months of May and June, it erupts with soft showy blossoms that may be pink or pale red in color. These flowers, arising in bunches at a time, each contain about 30 petals. In order to thrive, the botanical requires ample sun exposure, mild climates, good humidity, and well-draining soils. Lots of sunlight in particular is thought to lead to better flowering, resulting in good oil yields.

The production of Rose Absolute is now intricately tied to the culture and history of nations such as Bulgaria and Turkey. Other major producers include Iran, Morocco, and India. Bulgaria, however, has a special fame and long-standing history tied with Rose Absolute, having dominated global production until the early 1900s. Cultivation here takes place in the celebrated 'Valley of the Roses', a small region nestled between two mountain ranges in the heart of Bulgaria: the Sredna Gora and the Balkan. Important areas for commercial cultivation, however, include Kazanlak and Karlovo, located towards the east and the west of the Rose Valley, respectively.

For optimal harvesting, speed is a critical factor as there is a relatively small window of time (about 20-30 days) for the flowers to be picked. Picking has to be done early in the morning because the essential oil is believed to dissipate in the sun, resulting in poor yields. Rain during the harvest period is favorable, as this allows the roses to emerge and blossom slowly and steadily, alleviating some of the pressure faced by producers. The process is exhaustive and strenuous, as to make just 1 lb (0.45 kilos) of Rose Absolute, roughly 1,285 lbs (583 kilos) of Rose petals are needed!

Once harvested, the fresh petals are immersed in a safe solvent such as Hexane to produce a waxy concrete, from which the absolute is extracted. The solvent is subsequently removed through a gentle heating process leaving behind the highly concentrated and viscous liquid known as an absolute.



 

USES OF ROSE ABSOLUTE

 

Rose Absolute is perhaps most associated with its applications in perfumery, and is also widely used in the scenting of soaps, cosmetics, and personal care products. The sophisticated scent of Rose instantly elevates a product and conjures up images of romance, delicateness, elegance, and femininity. High-quality Rose Absolute is one of the more common Absolutes featured in aromatherapy and herbal medicine remedies. In cosmetics, the use of Rose adds nourishing qualities well suited for natural skin and hair care, imbuing formulations with soothing, moisturizing, scar-reducing, and anti-aging properties.

To make your own Rose personal perfume, add 30 mL (1 fl. oz.) of MCT 60/40 Fractionated Coconut Oil into a glass container, along with 6 drops of Rose Absolute, 9 drops of Geranium (Egyptian) Essential Oil, 6 drops of Orange Sweet Essential Oil, and 9 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil. The number of drops can be modified according to your liking as long as the total number of drops is 30, which creates a 5% dilution typical of natural perfumes. Cap the container before shaking well to mix all the ingredients. Allow the blend to settle and mature for several days in a cool, dark environment. To use, swirl the mixture once more before decanting into a personal roller bottle and dab onto the neck, wrists, and inner elbows. Ensure you conduct a patch test prior to application.

To add a pampering touch to your daily skincare regimen, add a drop of Rose Absolute to a one-time portion of your face cream or body lotion. For best results, ensure the moisturizer is fragrance-free (or alternately, use an unscented cosmetic base). To benefit from the skin rejuvenating properties of Rose Absolute, a light facial oil can be made by mixing 30 mL (1 fl. oz.) of Sweet Almond Carrier Oil with 2 drops of Rose Absolute and a drop of Carrot Seed Essential Oil. This all-natural oil is especially suited for mature or dry skin types.

Rose Absolute is frequently incorporated into bath and shower products due to its relaxing and de-stressing effects. To make a DIY bath soak that is wonderful for self-care or as a gift for a loved one, add a ¼ cup of Epsom salts, a ¼ cup of Himalayan Pink Salt, and a ½ cup of Baking Soda into a glass bowl. Follow with a ⅓ cup of a Carrier Oil of your choice, 3 drops of Rose Absolute, 2 drops of Chamomile Roman Essential oil, and 3 heaping tablespoons of dried Rose petals. Mix well, then spoon into a wide-mouthed jar. Top off with a sprinkle of rose petals.

When added to a diffuser, Rose Absolute helps creates a romantic and peaceful ambiance that also doubles as a sleep aid for those suffering from insomnia. Inhaling the luxurious scent of Rose can calm the nervous system, relieve fatigue, and enhance one's mood and sense of positivity. A recommended diffuser blend incorporates 3 drops of Rose Absolute, 3 drops of Jasmine Grandiflorum Absolute, 2 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil, and 1 drop of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil. The enchanting aroma of this floral diffuser blend will support love, intimacy, joy, unwinding, and recovery.

When infused in a massage blend, Rose Absolute captivates the senses and one's inner energy to work as a natural aphrodisiac. For a blend that enhances intimacy and connectedness, combine 30 mL (1 fl. oz.) of a Carrier Oil of your choice with 1 drop of Rose Absolute, 2 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil, and 2 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil. Warm a portion of this blend in between the palms of your hand before applying onto and massaging desired areas.



 

A GUIDE TO ROSE ABSOLUTE OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 
ROSE ABSOLUTE VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Rose Absolute (Bulgaria)

Rosa damascena
Bulgaria Believed to:
  • Be used extensively as a fragrance ingredient in perfumes and perfume blends
  • Have soothing, softening, firming, and rejuvenating skincare benefits
  • Help induce a relaxing, romantic, joyful ambiance that reduces stress and boosts the libido
Rose (Bulgaria) 3%
(Dilution with Jojoba Carrier Oil)


Rosa damascena
Canada Believed to:
  • Be used extensively as a fragrance ingredient in perfumes and perfume blends.
  • Have soothing, softening, firming, and rejuvenating skincare benefits
  • Help induce a relaxing, romantic, joyful ambiance that reduces stress and boosts the libido


 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

Interested in discovering other history, uses, and benefits of other popular Essential Oils? Learn more by reading our articles on Lavender Essential Oil, Lavandin Essential Oil, and Tea Tree Essential Oil!



 

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ROSE ABSOLUTE

 

It is important to enjoy the benefits of Rose Absolute while keeping in mind its concentrated nature and relevant safety considerations. As per NAHA guidelines, New Directions Aromatics (NDA) does not recommend the ingestion of essential oils.

As is the case with most other essential oils, pregnant and nursing women are advised not to use Rose Absolute unless recommended by a medical practitioner. Those with the following health conditions are also especially recommended to consult the advice of a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are additionally advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Before topical use, Rose Absolute must always be diluted appropriately with a carrier oil. It must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Prior to using this Absolute oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of Rose Absolute in 4 drops of carrier oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of non-sensitive skin.

In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.



IMPORTANT: All New Directions Aromatics (NDA) products are for external use only unless otherwise indicated. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or under the care of a medical practitioner. Please refer to our policies for further details, and our disclaimer below.

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