We love using rose absolute and rose oil in our products, and we are now one of the largest users of pure rose oil and rose absolute in the world.
Since 2005 we’ve been buying both of these materials directly from the producers in Senir, Turkey. They work with over 3000 local farmers, distilling world-class oil and absolute from the petals of the native Damask roses. The first rose oil was made by Persians and ever since then, it has been a renowned Turkish product.
Picked at dawn by local villagers and Roma families, this rose oil is the best we can get. The rose pickers have to be up before the sunrise if they want the best yield, as the oil that lends the rose its distinctive smell starts to evaporate when the sun comes up. Rose oil is a valuable ingredient, and to make one kilogram of oil, you need to use 1,866,666 roses. The premium we pay on every kilogram of oil goes towards the running of (and the initial building of), a local primary school in Senir.
The oil and the absolute smell quite distinct from one another. As Agnès from our buying team observes, the rose oil is “very sweet with a honey tinge to it”, whereas the absolute “…is more like the roses in the field…it has a green note to it and retains the fullness of the character of the rose.” Both the absolute and the oil carry the characteristic floral fragrance of the rose, and we use them both in many of our products and Gorilla perfumes.
Rose oil has long been used for its cosmetic benefit; its effect on the skin helps to soothe and calm, reducing redness and irritation. It has long been thought of as a tonic, and is used to treat blemishes and nourish the skin; whilst in aromatherapy it is known for its uplifting qualities and is even said to have an aphrodisiac effect. The olive-green coloured oil is extracted from the petals of the flower via a process of steam distillation, and is thought to have been the first floral essential oil that was distilled.
Rose absolute is also made from the flower petals but through a process of solvent extraction. Ours comes from the Damask rose, although other species of rose can be used to produce the oil and the absolute.
One of our desert island products, Ultrabland, is based on an ancient formula for cold cream. It was invented by the Roman physician Galen, and where he used a mixture of beeswax, olive oil, water and rose petals, we’re able to disperse our Turkish rose absolute in water to create rose water. This, along with almond oil, beeswax and honey, is the basis for our Ultrabland formula. This cleanser is extremely effective: the honey softens and conditions the skin, and has antiseptic properties; whilst rose water and rose absolute reduce redness and help to balance the skin.