Monday, February 20, 2012

The Perfume of the Rose

Subtle, mysterious, the fragrance of the roses and the romance that surrounds them are legendary. For example, Marc Anthony was entertained by Cleopatra, apparently, in a room filled with rose petals, and the sails of her boat were soaked in rose water, so "even the breeze was lovesick".

Around 1300s, Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, whose beauty ritual included huge amounts of rose water, was, at the age of 72 years, able to act as "young" wife of the King of Poland.

At a Persian royal wedding of the eighteenth century, rose petals were floating in the garden's canals filled with rose water as well.

Such a historical waste justifies the power of the roses' fragrance on people.

Part of the mystery is due to the fact that there are actually several types of rose perfume, some roses having a mixture of the main flavours. The seven basic flavours that are found most often in hybrid teas are: rose, nasturtium, iris, violet, apple, lemon and clove. Some other flavours are: fern and moss, hyacinth, orange, oleander, anise, lily, honey, myrhh, wine, marigold, quince, scented geranium, pepper, parsley, clover, raspberry and linseed oil.

Generally, the stronger scented roses are darker in colour and have more petals, or the petals are thicker and softer, as velvet.

Pink and red roses are usually those who could smell "like a rose", while the white or yellow ones resemble iris, nasturtium, violet and lemon.

Roses in shades of orange are usually fruity, iris, nasturtium, violet and clove fragranced.

The word "rose" as fragrance category is confusing and should be replaced by the word "damask". Damask is the scent that is found in the variety Kazanlik (Rosa damascena var. trigintipetala) and is also found in the most highly scented roses.

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