Scent diary: Notes on the Rose, ‘Queen of Flowers’

Scent diary: Notes on the Rose, ‘Queen of Flowers’

The use of the Rose in perfumery dates back, way back – further than some of us swirling Rose petals in buckets as kids to make homemade perfume can remember. The Rose with its beautifying, aromatic and healing qualities hails back to ancient times - in Greek and Roman mythology specifically - in which the flower was sacred to Aphrodite and Venus, the Goddesses of Love.

In the perfume industry we refer to the Rose as 'Queen of the Flowers' perhaps because of the connotations with the Greek Goddesses, although we can't forget the old Indian legend of Brahma, the God of Creation and Vishnu, the God of Protection. The story goes that when the Gods lived on earth Brahma and Vishnu argued about which flower was more beautiful: the Lotus, or the Rose. Brahma argued the Lotus was supreme but Vishnu preferred the Rose, however when Vishnu showed Brahma the beautiful Roses in a Himalayan garden, Brahma conceded that the Rose indeed was the most beautiful.

Today, the coveted Rose still reigns in our world as flower supreme and continues to be recognised as the universal symbol of love and purity.

Scent diary: Notes on the Rose, ‘Queen of Flowers’

The distinct floral characteristics of the Rose smell can actually depend on the amount of sunshine or rain it has received. In order to extract the essential oils from the Rose (mostly Rosa centifolia aka May Rose and Rosa damascena aka Damask Rose) the flower is handpicked early in the morning – the scent is the strongest at this time – and the oils are then extracted the very same day using steam; a seemingly delicate operation but not altogether surprising when we think of the superior and almost royal reputation of the Rose. In general, Roses with the best scents are darker in colours and have more petals that are thick or velvety.

Rose still reigns in our world as flower supreme and continues to be recognised as the universal symbol of love and purity.

Rose water – left over after the essential oil extraction - is used in religious ceremonies across the world; Hindus and Buddhists believe Roses to be an expression of spiritual joy whilst Christians view the flowers as reminders of the Garden of Eden.

Scent diary: Notes on the Rose, ‘Queen of Flowers’

As ubiquitous as this flower is in our society and beauty regime - a pillar component in both perfume and skincare due to its healing, anti-ageing and moisturising benefits - it doesn't come cheap! Yet despite the price it's still highly coveted and much loved worldwide both for its benefits and aroma.

Often representing Spring, we think of the Rose in terms of renewal, rejuvenation, hydration and serenity. Close your eyes and think of that fresh air in Spring, dewdrops and blue skies. The scent is a classic one; harnessing the smell of distinctive English summer gardens; floral, breezy and light - sunshine for the soul and senses!

In perfumery, the Rose oil based perfume remains a perennial classic with its versatile and romantic bouquet, and the added bonus of aromatherapy qualities that can affect and boost our moods, including:

  • Invigoration
  • Mood lifting – known to help in fighting depression
  • Motivation boosting, easing anxiety
  • Relaxation
  • Helps in relieving headaches

Scent diary: Notes on the Rose, ‘Queen of Flowers’

We know that choosing a perfume is a deeply personal choice, however it's rare that one can go wrong with Rose, especially as a gift. Rose scents have been traditionally better suited to those who love to spritz more floral fragrances; however, for those of us averse to more sweeter and flowery notes, the range Rose based perfumes now offer is unexpectedly broad. Whether you are looking for opulent and modern or perhaps something lighter and romantic, there is a Rose based scent for you.

Wearing a Rose perfume can work especially well as a base fragrance too; something on which you can layer a scent booster, enhancing luminosity and depth of scent - the seven main scents of Rose being damask, nasturtium, orris (which is similar to violets), violets, apple, clove, and lemon (the fruit, not the blossoms.) Rose perfume can be the perfect gift for a friend, relative or for yourself if you're looking to expand your own perfume collection.

Fragrance trends peak and trough, as do our moods and how we want to feel on a daily basis however the Rose with its exquisite spectrum of scent available due to the complexity of the characteristics and simple ancient symbolism is deserving of its title 'Queen of Flowers.' Take some time out to explore the range available and you won't be disappointed; with the Rose there will always be something for everyone, and the 'Queen' never goes out of fashion.