THE SCENTED DAMASK ROSE
When we think of scented flowers, the first that comes to mind is the rose, which "reigns supreme among the flowers of the world" for its perfume, according to Scented Flora of the World, an encyclopaedia of scented flowers and leaves.
From the beginning of time until the introduction of the modern bicolours, the rose was esteemed more for its perfume than for its beauty, and of all flowers, none possess a wider variety of perfumes than the rose species.
In 1885, it was suggested that roses had at least 17 different perfumes, but with interbreeding and development of hybrids among modern rose varieties, the number of different perfumes must now have doubled if not tripled. However, the perfume of the Damask rose transcends most other rose scents. Named after the Syrian capital of Damascus, the Damask rose was brought to Europe from Syria, known in ancient times as the land of roses.
The Damask rose has relatively small flowers that grow in groups, with deep pink, silky petals that turn near white after exposure to the sun. It is from the petals of this rose and other scented varieties that an essential oil called attar of roses is extracted for use in perfumery and cosmetics. It is said that it takes 170 Damask flowers to obtain just one drop of rose oil, and 50 million petals to produce one kilogramme, which explains why rose oil is one of the most expensive essential oils.
The Damask rose is also valued for its use in the manufacture of rose water, which is obtained by distilling the petals. One kilogramme of rose petals is needed to make one litre of rose water, which is used for its mild antiseptic property. In aromatherapy it is used as a relaxant; it soothes the emotion and eases nervous tension and stress-related disorders.
More informationm can be found on Damask Roses on our web site