Rose Otto - Cert. Organic
The quaintly old-fashioned name for Rose Otto is Attar of Roses, a perfume beloved of females throughout the Ages. It is the essential oil extracted from the petals of the damask rose, using a steam distillation method. The Crusader Robert de Brie is sometimes given credit for bringing the Damask rose from Syria to Europe sometime between 1254 and 1276. The name refers to Damascus, Syria. Other stories say that the physician of Henry VIII gave him a Damask rose, as a present, around 1540.
The Rose Valley is a region in Bulgaria located just south of the Balkan Mountains famous for its rose-growing industry which have been cultivated there for centuries, and which produces 85% of the world’s rose otto essential oil.
Harvesting of flowers is done by hand in the morning before sunrise and material is distilled the same day. The picking season lasts from May to June. The gathering process, traditionally a woman's task, requires great dexterity and patience. The flowers are carefully cut one by one and laid in willow-baskets which are then sent to the distilleries. Part of tradition includes annual gathering by 18 year olds from the country to the valley to pick roses, shirtless. Message being life is beautiful but can be prickly.
In the process of distillation, large stills, traditionally of copper, are filled with roses and water. The still is fired for 60–105 minutes. The vaporized water and rose oil exit the still and enter a condensing apparatus and are then collected in a flask. To obtain a single drop of Rose Otto thirty roses must be used or 10,000 grams (10kg) to create 1 gram of oil. This intensely sweet, woody, deep-floral top-middle note with rich spicy and honey undertones is known as the queen of essential oils.