Botanical Name: Rosa damascena
Part Used: Flowers
Process: Solvent extracted
Rose Absolute has been one of the most important and most extensively used oils in the creation of perfumes. The aroma is often used as the perfume’s principal theme, but it is also prized for its ability, especially in extremely diluted form, to blend well with almost all other aromas and to enhance and round out many perfume compositions.
Plant Description: Native (generally conceded) to the Middle East, Rosa damascena is a hybrid of Rosa gallica and Rosa moschata, though it is uncertain when this occurred; it is thought that these two varieties and others originated in the area of ancient Persia and the surrounding regions in general. Rosa damascena is now grown commercially for the perfume industry in Bulgaria, Turkey, France, India, and Morocco. It can be found growing wild in Morocco, Turkey, Syria, the Caucasus, and southern Spain. Rosa damascena is a deciduous shrub growing to a height of 3-6 feet with deep green leaves and stems protected by sturdy thorns. Propagation is done in very early spring by taking 1-2 foot long woody cuttings from the bases of healthy older rose bushes, removing the upper growth from them, and placing them in prepared rose beds. New shoots appear about two months later; if the rose beds are carefully tended throughout the year – hoeing, weeding, mulching, manuring, winterizing – they remain productive for up to forty years, with the first harvest occurring in the third year of growth and one or two harvests each year thereafter.
Harvesting/Oil production: Blossoms appear in early summer for several weeks and are carefully harvested by hand very early in the morning. Oil extraction occurs as quickly as possible after harvest in a two step process. Giant receptacles, usually copper or stainless steel, are filled with roses and a solvent, most often hexane, in a manner that allows the solvent to be readily and continually in contact with each blossom. At the end of this process, the removal of the solvent by evaporation yields a waxy, aromatic mass called the concrete. The second stage of extraction is the process of washing the concrete in large amounts of alcohol. Removal of the insoluble waxy substances that separate out when the alcoholic solution is chilled is followed by removal of the alcohol via evaporation, leaving us with the beautiful aromatic plant oils known as absolutes. Although removal of the solvent and alcohol is as complete as possible (they are re-usable and therefore the more thorough the recovery, the more practical), there will always be traces of these materials in the absolute. Sometimes a certain small percentage of alcohol is intentionally retained in order that the end product is pourable and more easily used.
Oil Description: Reddish-orange, yellow-orange, or olive-yellow rather viscous liquid. Rose Absolute has an extremely rich, warm, floral, somewhat spicy, and very deep rose aroma, with a honey-like undertone that varies in intensity.
Historical/Traditional Uses: The use of solvents to extract aromatic constituents from botanical materials came about in recent history; the method was gradually developed and refined by a number of individuals and over a period of time during the early to late 19th century in the Grasse region in southern France, the center of aroma production, particularly florals. By 1890 the apparatus for solvent extraction had been sufficiently perfected so that this method could be developed in locations such as Germany, Italy, northern Africa and the Middle East, close to the sources of the plant material being processed, with Grasse leading the way in the expansion of the perfumers’ palettes with heretofore unavailable aromas. Many modern solvent extraction facilities worldwide currently furnish high-end perfume houses with these valuable materials, sometimes contracting entire crops of very rare floral absolutes (e.g., hyacinth, lily of the valley, narcissus, etc.) that are too prohibitively expensive for many outside the industry.
Applications (Uses and Indications): In aromatherapy, there is controversy in the use of absolutes. Some aromatherapists prefer to use Rose Otto because they feel that the chemical solvents used in the extraction of an absolute have a negative affect on the properties of the oil. In perfumery, Rose Absolute is considered a middle to base note with excellent tenacity and powerful radiance and diffusion. It has more fixative value than its steam distilled counterpart, Rose Otto. It blends well with bergamot, carnation, cassie, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, galbanum, geranium, guaiacwood, jasmine, lavender, lemon, mimosa, orange blossom absolute, palmarosa, patchouli, petitgrain, sandalwood, vetiver, and ylang ylang.
Contraindications (Safety and Precautions): Rose Absolute is non-irritating, non-sensitizing, and non-toxic.
Standard Safety Precautions: Always dilute essential oils before using. Keep essential oils out of the eyes and mucous membranes; in case of contact, DO NOT use water, instead place a drop or two of vegetable oil on a tissue to gently wipe out of eye or off area of contact. In severe cases, seek professional help immediately. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, call 911 immediately.
The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of this or any products from Ancient Ways Botanicals. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. For external use only. You are responsible for understanding the safe application of these products.