Rose Oil – The Liquid Gold of Bulgaria Since 17th Century

Rose oil is one of the main ingredients in cosmetics and perfumery worldwide. Used in aromatherapy, to increase confidence, and even as aphrodisiac.

There are only four countries in the world that produce rose oil today. They are Bulgaria, France, India and Turkey. The rose oil extracted in Bulgaria is considered the finest because of the characteristics of the country’s climate, and of the specific rose varieties. Bulgaria is known around the world for its superb oil-yielding roses harvested in Rose Valley near the town of Kazanlak. Some statistics show that Bulgarian rose oil constitutes 80% of the world export of rose oil. Many of the most famous perfumes use rose oil. COCO by Channel, Chic by Carolina Herrera, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, and Green Tea by Bulgari are only a few.

Bulgaria’s Rose Valley

Protected by the mountain ranges of Stara Planina and Sredna Gora Rose Valley fills up the air with diving aromas from mid-May through mid-June each year. Roses need warmth and moisture, and this is why they benefit immensely from the ideal climate the valley enjoys. Winter here is mild, and spring is warm and long.

Trip of the Rose – From the Near East to Thrace

It is believed that soldiers of Alexander the Great brought the first rose to Thrace when they returned from Persia passing through Syria and Damascus. Cultivation of roses in these lands is dated back to the 15th century when the Turks founded the town of Kazanlak. Reportedly, a Turkish judge who owned beautiful gardens of fragrant roses brought from Tunisia Rosa Damascena. That is how Kazanlak region began its tradition of rose cultivation.

Secret of the Bulgarian Rose

After many years of cultivation these roses developed into a unique and special type – Bulgarian Kazanlak Rose. Its high qualities produce exquisite rose oil that is rare and expensive. To obtain one kilogram of rose oil 3,000 to 3,500 kilograms of rose blooms are needed. In addition to that, it takes three years for a rose bush to start producing rose blossoms that can be picked and used. The process of rose picking is manual and demanding. To ensure utmost fragrance and dampness of the flowers, they can be picked no later than noon while making sure their petals are fresh and not overly ripe. More than 2,000 people are involved in the harvest, which lasts 20 – 25 days. No other cultivation method has been able to preserve the character of the rose almost unchanged for over three centuries. This fact explains why there were no attempts at cultivating other rose varieties in the Rose valley near Kazanlak. It has established itself as a stable, independent type of rose, differing in its anatomy and physiology from the oil-bearing roses cultivated elsewhere.

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