The Bulgarian Scent in the World of Fragrance

The highest-quality and most desired rose oil worldwide is obtained in Bulgaria. The cultivated oil seed Rosa Damascena is grown in the Rose Valley, in Kazanlak town, where are the most favourable conditions for its development.

Rosa Damascena

I am a Bulgarian myself and would like to tell you a little more about my country. I’ve heard that many people around the world don’t even know where it is. Well, Bulgaria is located in Southeastern Europe in very favourable climatic conditions and at a key economic crossroad.

Apart from its stunningly beautiful nature, Bulgaria is famous for a rich centuries-old history. I could tell you a lot about it, but I will only focus on the Bulgarian rose oil which touches on the topic.

A Short Story About Bulgarian Rose Oil

Rose is our national symbol and the high-quality rose oil is known far beyond the borders of the country. Rose cultivation and rose oil production have begun since the end of the 7th century.

Bulgaria gained most popularity as a producer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when perfumery, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals found rose oil as an indispensable ingredient of the products they had been producing.

Essential Rose Oil

The geographical location of cultivation of a plant plays an important role in the quality of the finished product. Due to its exceptionally favourable climatic conditions, Bulgaria is known for the most aromatic rose oil of the highest-quality.

A small town, named Kazanlak, is considered to be the capital of the Rose Valley. There is located the only Rose Museum in Bulgaria.

Rose planting, growing and caring is hard and long-lasting labour. Bulgarians work night and day during the season. Rose picking usually starts in May and is always done by sunrise because at that time roses’s quality is optimal – the heat takes away their valuable content.

Roses are collected by hand and carried to the processing site. The processing is done by water-steam distillation. The process cannot be delayed and requires immediate action.

Rose Collecting Bulgaria

1 kg of rose oil is usually obtained from 3 to 3.5 tonnes of rose petals and Bulgaria produces about 70% of the rose oil in the world!

It contains a wide range of components divided into two main groups: aroma carriers and fixatives. Aroma carriers represent the liquid part of the oil while fixatives are odorless and solid at normal temperature. Their role is to fix the odour and give it durability.

Bulgarian rose oil is prized for its rich aroma and durability. The durability is due to its very balanced composition of waxes, alcohols and microcomponents. The wax on the petals causes the drops to flow in the morning, rather than absorb, which retains the odour. Therefore, the roses are picked early in the morning before they start to smell and lose oil.

The Valuable Rosa Damascena

There are over 200 species and more than 18 000 varieties of roses in the world.

Rose DamascenaRose oil extraction in Bulgaria is based on the type Rosa Damascena. Its growth requires hard work and dedication.

Rosa Damascena is a hybrid type and there are many versions of its origin and cultivation. One of them states that it came to our country from Turkey, which is our main competitor.

An interesting fact about the rose oil is that it does not change its properties over time. In addition, it has extremely beneficial effects and is widely used not only in perfumery, but in cosmetics and medicine.

The absolute is used more commonly in perfumery. Rose oil is the essential oil extracted from the petals of various types of rose through steam distillation, while rose absolutes are obtained through solvent extraction.

Of course, there are also synthetically created ingredients that try to get close to the scent of rose oil, but they are completely incomparable to the delicate scent of the natural rose. Even with its high price and the advent of organic synthesis, rose products are still perhaps the most widely used in cosmetics.

Since 1944, the Bulgarian Rose Company has been holder of protected designation of origin “Bulgarian Rose Oil” which was registered in the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria. The name “Bulgarian Rose Oil” has been patented since 2014 as a Bulgarian product in the Register of Geographical Names protected by the European Commission.

The first feast day in honor of the Bulgarian rose oil was organized in Kazanlak in 1903. Today, the holiday has become a large-scale and colourful festival.

The Benefits of Rose

Rose oil has been gradually becoming the embodiment of a magical essence that is used not only in the cosmetic industry, but also has healing properties.

It contains about 280 components which can be used to cover problems with kidneys, stomach and skin inflammation. I have read that it does not cause allergies in most cases because there is low presence of substances that provoke them – rarely happens.

  • Stones in the kidneys can be destroyed with a drop of rose oil on an empty stomach every morning.
  • A drop of the oil can have a positive effect on gut function.
  • The scent of roses is an antidepressant, it drives away anxious thoughts because it stimulates the release of the hormone of happiness.
  • It has an effect of slowing up skin aging, which makes it a suitable ingredient for a lot of face creams.Rose Cosmetics
  • Rose water is recommended for refreshing and cleansing the face, taking care of preserving its youth.

Besides perfumery, rose products are also used in the food industry. Traditional Bulgarian products are rose liqueur, rose jam, rose brandy and flavor spice in cooking.

Famous Perfumes Containing the Magical Ingredient

Bulgarian rose oil is of the highest-quality among other rose oils. That makes it a preferred ingredient for many famous perfume manufacturers such as Christian Dior, Givenchy, Lancôme, Bvlgari, Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, Bvlgari, Paco Rabanne, Estee Lauder and others.

Famous design perfumes that contain Bulgarian rose oil are:

The production of essential oils has a long tradition. Bulgarian rose oil is one of the most expensive and sought after perfume essential oils on the international market.
Bulgaria is recognized as one of the largest producers and exporters of natural rose oil and rose absolute.

Rose Petals

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  1. Hi Vany, thanks for the lovely post and information. I´v never heard of Bulgarian Rose Oil. I use rosehip oil from Chile. Probably you´ve heard of it as its world famous. Is Bulgaria oil any similar? Beautiful pictures btw. Marisa

    1. Hi, Marisa!
      You’re welcome and thank you a lot!
      Rose hip oil is not similar to Bulgarian rose oil. They have difference in their origin – rose hip oil is obtained from different type of rose (Rosa Moschata), especially from the fruit left behind after the rose has dropped its petals, while Bulgarian rose oil is extracted from the petals themselves of Rosa Damascena. Therefore, they have differences in benefits.

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