To think of a fragrance without Rose is to think of a love affair without a kiss, Barbie without Ken, salt without pepper…you get the idea, it is an essential ingredient in the perfume industry and something really would be ‘missing’ without it! After all, it is one of the most desirable scents on the planet; it puts the rose-tinted glasses on any potential suitor; it is the ultimate sultry symbol of romance.
" If you were to taste me, I’d land like a petal upon your lips and at the touch of your tongue, become dust. I tantalise every taste bud, and you’ll crave my ethereal sweetness forever; it compels you to thrive, to live and to go beyond simply being alive."
The word rose derives from French, taken from the original Latin word form of ‘rosa’. Ancient myth says that rose was linked both to the Greek goddess Aphrodite as well as her Roman counterpart, Venus. When one of the sexiest women of all time - Cleopatra, welcomed Mark Antony into her boudoir, her bed was adorned with these sumptuous flowers. Not just that, but even the floor was hidden under a deep layer of freshly picked rose petals – talk about making an effort ladies, Cleopatra knew how to turn a guy on!
In ancient Rome, the fountains streamed rosewater, while pillows and mattresses were stuffed with rose petals to float you into a deep slumber. Rose garlands were known to be the ultimate Roman status symbol – so, if you smell of roses, you embody power and dominance. Rose has been used as a potent aphrodisiac for centuries, be it in love potions, medicines or even in puddings (yup, that seemingly innocent cupcake actually buds this prickly power-plant).
The magic of Rose is exposed by Max. Discover the beauty behind the world's most iconic flower at Maison 21G.
It's impossible not to fall for these romantic flowers; its powerful essence even won it the title of the “Queen of Oils”. It can work as an anti-depressant as well as work against the clock, reducing signs of aging and retaining youth.
Some of the oldest varieties of rose flowers used in perfumery were said to originate from Turkey and from Grasse in the south of France. Today, rose oil is sourced in Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran and Morocco; it has taken the world by storm! Grasse is also still known for its prestigious rose oil production, but only in exclusive and limited quantities. Chanel still owns a few rose fields in Grasse, although they are used primarily for PR above anything else – still, pretty cool huh?
There are over 250 different species of rose and out of that, only 30 species are known for their odour. The two main species used in perfumery are – rosa damascene from Syria and rosa centifolia from Persia, which literally means, ‘rose with a hundred petals’ – it’s like a name taken straight out of a love-sonnet – no wonder it was present in many artworks of the old masters). Rosa damascena is most cultivated for its highly perfumed oil whereas rosa centifolia, is also known as ‘Rose de Mai’, because it blooms in the month of May – how fitting.
Rose essential oil comes in two forms – one form is ‘rose otto’ (attar of roses) which is created through a gentle water steam distillation process. The other is ‘rose absolute’, which is formed from solvent extraction. A significant majority of the rose absolute is derived from the rosa damascena species, however the rosa centifolia from Grasse is known to produce some of the highest quality batches of rose absolute.
"If you were to feel me, I would feel like silk from China, sand from the Sahara or as the wings of an Amazonian butterfly from Brazil. I am extremely soft, extremely delicate"
Well, quite simply, expect the other to fall in love with you!
From a perfumer’s perspective, rose is one of the most vital of all floral oils because of its beautiful versatility. Rose can exult a large palette of scents like elegant powdery notes, spicy clove-like tones, fruity lychee, apple peach, and even green hints like artichoke, creamy honey and citrus twangs like verbena.
Rose can usually be mixed with a variety of other ingredients, and just a slight touch of rose adds a whole new richness to any floral composition. In the Middle East, the combination of rose and oud is both famous and extremely popular.
In India, rose mixed with sandalwood is a must-have feminine creation. The dynamic rose can also be combined with fruity notes (like red fruit or raspberry, instantly imbuing the scent with juvenility – see ‘La Parisienne’. The iconic pairing of rose and cloves transforms this flower into an œillet (see L’air du temps of Nina Ricci). If you want a vintage fragrance, blend rose with violet to enhance its powdery effect, like in a Trésor or Paris of YSL!
P.S, Roses aren’t just for girls, this is 2019 – people are free to do as they wish. Rose is an absolute weapon for the modern man! Rose and Vétiver would drive anyone mad with lust thanks to its elegance and charm