Friday, June 7, 2013

GLOBAL VIEW: Bulgarian Rose Harvest

The Centifolia rose, with its many layers of silken petals, sensual colors, euphoric scent and deeply romantic history, lifts the heart, inspires the mind and restores the spirit. The rose grows in many varieties, proving it to be a nomad and a veritable champion of flowers. Able to tolerate polar cold and tropical heat, it has adapted to widely varying climates and terroir. The place where the rose is said to grow best, Bulgaria's famed Valley of the Roses, is where we harvest and distill our prized organic Rosa damascena Essential Oil [Prima Fleur No. 282]. We are poised to bring our customers the results of this year's distillation of the pink Damask rose. Below, the 2013 harvest in pictures.

Hand-harvested in the early morning, the roses are distilled in copper stills by a water-steam process. The methods used today are not entirely different than those employed many centuries ago ~ although, with the price of a kilo of oil in the thousands of dollars, one can be certain the science has advanced. Approximately 1,200 liters of water cover 150 to 300 kilos of roses, which float freely. Direct steam injected into the water keeps them from forming a compact mass. The water is slowly brought to a boil and allowed to simmer for about 1½ hours. First, the "direct oil," or Surovo Maslo in Bulgarian, is drawn off. Then the "first waters" of this and subsequent distillations are bunched and redistilled. This cohobation, as it is called, takes about 2 hours. The top of the water is distilled off. It is a condensate called the "second water" and contains what is called the "water oil." This oil is drawn off and the two oils, direct and water, are combined. The ratio, on average, is 25% direct oil to 75% water oil. It takes an average of 4,000 kilos of flowers to make 1 kilo of oil.

For information on our Premier Products and pricing, please visit our website. For questions and to explore custom development with exquisite botanicals from our extensive library of raw materials, please contact ~ or call (415) 455-0957.

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