Rose perfume, the nose’s favorite flower

Discover the rose, the perfumer's essential ingredient.

The rose is clearly one of the essential ingredients of the perfumer’s palette! Known for over 3000 years, it changes its scent as well as its color to delight your senses. But what has changed since antiquity? Used for its therapeutic virtues but also in culinary preparations for its sweetness, the beauty expresses its fiery and delicate character in floral perfumes. Some love it, others label it as a “grandmother’s perfume”, but the rose never leaves us indifferent and always manages to surprise us! We reveal you all the secrets of the rose perfume, emblem of the femininity, the love and the romanticism!

Perfume of rose and legends

Mythology and perfume: the birth of the rose

Since the beginning of time, the rose and its perfume have always amazed people by embodying love and passion. In Greek mythology, its birth is due to the goddess of flowers Chloris. While walking, she found the lifeless body of a nymph which she decided to transform into a majestic flower. She then asks the gods for help: Aphrodite, goddess of love, offers her beauty, Dionysus, god of wine, gives her nectar from which the rose will draw its perfume, the three Graces grant her joy, radiance and charm, and finally Apollo declares her Queen of flowers.

For the Romans, it is Venus, goddess of love and beauty, who would have been injured on the thorn of a white rose, thus coloring the flower in red. Among the Egyptians, its essence as bewitching as sensual is prepared for the nuptial rituals. A real seduction asset for Cleopatra, who dragged Marc-Antoine on a bed of rose petals 45cm thick during their first night of love…

The virtues of rose perfume

In ancient Rome, the rose was one of the favorite ingredients of gardeners, perfumers and doctors. Garlands of petals and wreaths of flowers litter the ground and fill the cushions at banquets. But the rose is also appreciated for its medicinal virtues. In essence, juice or oil, it is drunk and applied to the body to cure all kinds of diseases, from fever to insomnia. Already at that time, the one that will be called the queen of flowers appears in cosmetics. Roman women massaged the face with it to whiten the skin and enhance the complexion.

In the Middle East, the rose is again an emblem. For the first time, Damascus rose petals were distilled. As early as the first century A.D., the Arabs and Berbers of Morocco produced rose water but also rose attar, i.e. essential oil of rose mixed with another basic essence such as sandalwood. Beyond the perfume, this flower also invites itself in the kitchen. The petals and distilled water bring a floral and sweet touch to traditional dishes, both sweet and savory.

Rose & perfume: from the flower to the bottle

Rose varieties used in perfumery

The queen of flowers is revealed in a multitude of ways. On the one hand, there are the ornamental roses grown in gardens with several hundred varieties. On the other hand, we can find very fragrant roses used in perfumery. Among this second category, only two species can be found in your perfumes: the Centifolia rosa and the Damascena rosa.

rosa centifolia

Centifolia rose

The Centififolia rose is emblematic of the Grasse region in France where it has been cultivated for decades. It is also called the May rose because it is only during this month, and for only 3 weeks, that this fragrant plant is hand-picked in the early morning. The Centifolia is today mainly cultivated in Morocco. It is becoming much rarer in Provence, except for Chanel and its private fields. With the Grasse flower, noses can obtain an absolute with a warm, waxy and honeyed smell. The Centifolia from Morocco, on the other hand, gives a pale yellow essential oil. 5 tons of flowers are needed to obtain 1 kilo of essence!

rosa damascena

Damascena rose

The Damascena rose, or Damask rose, is the most widespread in the world and the most cultivated for perfumery. Originally from Syria, it is mainly cultivated in Bulgaria, in the Valley of the Roses, but also in Turkey and Morocco. It was imported in the 13th century during the Crusades. Damascena gives absolutes and essential oils with a fresh, lemony and fruity smell.

The extraction of the perfume of the rose

Refined but fragile, the rose is not easily tamed! Its picking is an ancestral art during which the flowers are picked one by one. Still wet with dew, it is necessary to be quick before the sun’s rays evaporate its oil. Then comes the moment to extract all the perfume. According to the method, the flower will deliver a more or less intense scent. We distinguish two different processes of extraction of the perfume of the rose:

  • The hydrodistillation: it is a distillation with water vapor thanks to which we obtain the rose essence, with fresh and fusing notes.
  • Extraction with volatile solvents which allows to obtain the absolute, with a more opulent scent than the essence.

Where to find a perfume that smells like roses?

Copied by synthesis but not yet perfectly imitated, the subtlety of the rose has made it the flower most appreciated by perfumers.

An eau de parfum with rose

At Carrément Belle, we waited more than 25 years to create our first fragrance built around this precious flower. After a long creation phase, we unveiled label rose a few years ago, which has been blooming on your dressing tables ever since… In this floral composition, the Damascena rose is surrounded by jasmine and lily of the valley, with a sensual musky note and tangy citrus to give it a strong character! Far from the old-fashioned rose, this fragrance plays with the codes to offer you a powdery and modern rose perfume at the same time.

The pure perfume label rose

The pure perfume label rose reveals the same smell as the eau de parfum. So what’s the difference? An even higher concentration of raw materials that makes it a super-powerful and long-lasting composition. The pure perfume will satisfy the noses in search of intense scents or the curious looking for a rose perfume for the small and big occasions of life!

How do you see the rose in fragrances: do you pass or do you like?

Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article

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