A question we are often asked about oils in general is “there are so many, how do I choose?”. Like many of our oils, there are different types of rose and if you are considering investing in such a beautiful oil you want to be sure you have the right one. After all, why would we stock so many different kinds of rose if they were all the same? The answer is that they aren’t; they vary in consistency, scent, therapeutic value and of course price.
So, where to start? Well, a good place to begin would be to look at the different production methods used to obtain the scented components from rose petals. Rose oil can be produced by one of two methods; distillation or extraction. The distilled oil (rose otto, often just known as rose essential oil) requires 3kg of rose petals to create just 1ml (20 drops), while the extracted oil (rose absolute) gives a much higher yield. Pure rose essential oil costs around three times more to produce than the extracted rose absolute.
In terms of scent, there is a clear difference between the absolute and the distilled essential oil. Rose absolute is extracted using a solvent (alcohol, in the case of Oshadhi Rose absolute) which is used to ‘wash’ the aromatic oils out of the plant material. The solvent is removed at the end of the process to leave a thick, highly aromatic liquid with a deep rich scent. In contrast, the steam-distilled essential oil is a thin, clear liquid with a delicate scent that represents a much smaller proportion of the aromatic compounds contained within the plant material. In general extraction produces an oil that has a much fuller, more rounded scent that often smells much more like the original plant.
Here are some details on the individual types of rose oil (roughly in order of price, from lower to higher):
Rose absolute (Rosa damascena): This has a deep, rich colour and a scent to match. Not especially sweet, nor indeed anything like the rose aroma that is associated with many rose-scented toiletry products. Rounded and persistent, a little goes a long way. The lowest price of all the rose oils due to the higher production yield. Great if you need a strong rose aroma for a blend however the use of a solvent to extract the oil brings its own dilemmas when it comes to using on the skin (but that’s a topic for another article!).
Persian Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena): Solid at room temperature, this oil has a high level of plant waxes which slow its movement down a little in comparison to the other distilled rose oils.The Persian Rose has a slightly softer, sweeter scent than the classic Bulgarian Rose. At around two-thirds the cost of Bulgarian Rose this oil makes a good introduction to the distilled rose oils. If you struggle to persuade it out of the bottle just pop it in a warm place for a little while.
Bulgarian Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena): The classic rose, deep, rich and inviting. There are two varieties, the organic oil and the traditionally farmed oil. They share the same base scent however the organic version is a little deeper and more complex (and also costs more due to the increased costs associated with organic farming).
White Rose essential oil (Rosa alba): Not a Rosa damascena but a Rosa alba. A dusky and mysterious fragrance. A favourite with men and much loved in the Oshadhi office.
Turkish Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena): Similar to the Bulgarian Rose in terms of scent but perhaps a little more grounding and earthy. Previously this oil cost less than its Bulgarian counterpart but more recently it has been the other way round.
Or see all Oshadhi rose essential oils.