Kissed By A Rose
We all know that sometimes, a rose means more than words. Thanks to their beauty and magical scent roses have helped people for hundreds of years to say "I love you". But why do roses symbolize love? And which roses are scented enough to be used in perfumery?
According to Greek mythology, roses were created by the goddess of Love: Aphrodite cried over her lover’s blood on the ground from where the red roses grew. And yet the red roses offered to represent affection, passion and love are not the most fragrant.
Only the rose ‘Centifolia’ or ‘Rose de Mai’ from Grasse and the ‘Damascena’ Rose from the Balkans are the ones present in the perfumer’s palette, and they are indeed smaller bushy pink roses with a magical scent worth more than gold.
Rose is almost a perfume by itself. Rose extracts can have scents ranging from citrusy notes to green,fruity, spicy, ambery and sweet facets, all in one single ingredient. The one and only ingredient that is often described as ‘rosy, typical of the flower itself’ and presents itself as a role model for other scents.
The word attar, which is today a synonym for rose oil, comes from the Arabic 'itr, meaning "perfume" or "essence." The Damask Rose, originally grown in Turkey and Bulgaria has been transplanted to Saudi Arabia by the Ottomans in the 16th century and has been cultivated ever since in the lush city of Taif, distilled into the mysterious Taifi Rose.
The distillation processes may be artisanal, but the rose fields equal the ones in Grasse and the scent in those mountains is reminiscent of the most romantic tales from One Thousand and One Nights. Each April, Some 2000 farms in the uplands near Taif turn pink. In the early days, up to 200 years ago, Taif's rose petals were collected and sealed into sacks for transport by camel down to the holy city of Makkah.
There, Indian pharmacists distilled attar from them, using a process not unlike that used today. These artisans became masters of one particularly fine type of attar that they produced by infusing rose distillate into sandalwood oil, resulting in a blend with refreshing floral and woody notes. Interestingly, this blend can still be found in India, though it is now rare in the Saudi Arabian market.
Five tons of fresh petals are needed to give around one litre of essential oil, making it not only romantic and beautiful, but also extremely precious.
About two centuries ago, the distillers brought their craft to Taif itself, soon after the establishment of these distilleries, Taif rose oil began to win acclaim from all over the Muslim world. Any pilgrim who could afford it bought at least one ‘tolah’ as a souvenir of the Hajj.
Rose has stood the test of time thanks to its ability to blend perfectly with other florals, woods and citrus notes but also oud, musk and amber becoming core to oriental perfumery as well.
Why is rose the queen of essences? Because it creates body and character in any perfume, masculine or feminine, it blends in with other notes and gives the pulsing heart of a fragrance.
Few are essences that are as universal, coveted and supreme as the queen of flowers. The list of fragrances inspired by the scent of Rose is endless, to discover a contemporary oriental rose try SHAY ROSE by ANFASIC DOKHOON available in a perfume, hair, body and linen multipurpose spray and Dokhoon (incense).
Latest Rose Collection From Cartier