Bulgarian rose oil
“Rose oil is one of national treasures of Bulgaria. Persia is considered to be the first place where rose oil was extracted many centuries ago, now Bulgaria is a leading producer with 70% of rose oil in the world.
Our rose is called Rosa Damascena and was brought here from the Ottoman Empire in the XVI century. It's been grown in the Rose Valley (near Kazanlak, south of the Balkan) since the middle of the XIX c. Rosa damascena blooms in the end of May.
The traditional way of collecting the petals is by hand. They are gathered in baskets and as soon as a basket is full other workers prepare them for transportation in sacks. The sacks are about 25 kg each and are loaded on horse carriages or donkeys. It's important to quickly transport them to the distilleries because the oil begins to evaporate.
In the beginning of XX c. rose oil was distilled on-site in copper stills heated by wood fire. For one still 15 kg of petals and 60 l pure water are needed. During distillation the water absorbs a lot of oil and it's re-distilled to extract additional 75% of the produce. One kilogram of rose oil is extracted from 3000 to sometimes 6000 kg of blossoms (depending on the quality of the harvest)!
Bulgarian rose oil is believed to be the best in the world. It has no competition as a raw material for perfumes like "Nina Ricci", "Chanel", "Christian Dior", "Kenzo", etc.”