Rosa centifolia otto?

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    7/8/13 at 8:23am

    Pears said:

    I've read that rose otto is made with Rosa damascena but has this always been the case or was Rosa centifolia also sometimes used? I've read that they historically used Rosa centifolia in Grasse but would this have always been in the form of an absolute as opposed to an otto? Thanks.

    7/8/13 at 9:28am

    David Ruskin said:

    The finest Rose Otto (Rose Oil, steam distilled ) used to come from Bulgaria, and Rosa damascenia was used for this.   Rosa centifolia was cultivated in Provence, and was also used to produce the Otto.


    Turkey and India also use damascenia , whilst Egypt uses centifolia.   I always thought that one was used to make the Otto and the other the Absolute, but could find no evidence of this.   

    7/8/13 at 10:35am

    Pears said:

    Thanks David. So they've historically made rose otto in Provence and not just rose absolute? I'd have to get some centifolia to try for my self in that case. I know that an old fragrance once contained rose otto but a sample of it smells more spicy and honey like than a traditional rose. That made me wonder if it could be from centifolia, which is said to have spicy, honey like notes.

    7/8/13 at 12:21pm

    Skelly said:

    I have some 'Turkish rose oil 10% in ipm' (That's what it says on the bottle - I don't know anything else about it) and it has a stewed apple note.



    7/8/13 at 2:00pm

    Pears said:

    This excerpt from Whitelotusaromatics details the production of essential oil from Rosa centifolia in Grasse. It seems that most of the oil produced wasn't sold on the market as a commercial product, so I'm not sure if the old fragrance that I'm interested in would have contained otto from centifolia. I'll have to buy a little and run some tests.


    Production of Rose Water
    Years ago relatively large quantities of "Rose de Mai" were processed in the Grasse region by hydrodistillation for the production of fragrant rose water. To a limited extent this is still practiced. For this purpose 1000kilo of Rose centifolia are charged into a still and boiled in water until 1000 litres of water have distilled over. The water is not redistilled (cohobated) and represents the commercial "rose water." In the process of distillation about 100 grams of direct rose oil separate in the florentine flask. This quantity corresponds to a yield of 1 kilo of rose oil per 10,000 kilos of Rosa centifolia as compared with 1 kilo of rose oil per 4000kilos of Rosa damascena in Bulgaria (It must, however, be kept in mind that in Bulgaria the rose water is repeatedly cohobated in order to recover the relatively large quantity of rose oil suspended and dissolved therein. The yields indicated above therefore do not represent the actual oil content of the two rose species. The rose oil obtained in the Grasse region is only a byproduct of the preparation of rose water; it is not usually sold on the market as a commercial product, but used by the essential oil houses in Grasse (mostly in perfume compositions).


    F. A. Fluckiger visited the area in 1885 and commented on the rose de mai industry in Grasse. "At the time of the author's visit the enormous metal tanks and cemented cisterns for holding rose water (more) in the factory of M. Roure were ready for the reception of the products of the coming season, which, like that of the neroli flowers, is at its height in the month of May, when thousands of kilograms of rose leaves are passed daily into the stills. The rose oil collected in small quantity during the distillation of the rose water is probably equally as fine as the oil of roses from the Balkans or from India; but notwithstanding it grows in nearly the same geographical latitude, the rose in Provence produces far more of the worthless solid constituent, dissolved in the liquid portion, which alone is odorous. The question arises whether a change in the strain of the roses so largely cultivated in Grasse might not lead to an improvement in respect to the oil. However, the rose water has for a century found a good sale, so that Grasse is not under the necessity to seek for further progress. The oil at present obtained in the manufacture amounts to about one kilogram from each 12 000 kilograms of fresh rose petals; to completely satisfy the requirements of customers, oil is obtained from the Balkans. The author thinks that the manufacture in Grasse affords a favorable opportunity to determine the chemical properties, hitherto completely unknown, of the oil to which the rose owes its perfume."


    7/9/13 at 8:16am

    Ramute said:

    If you look in Septimus Piesse "The art of perfumery", you can see that many EO he call "ottos": bergamot otto, orange  otto, thyme etc. "Otto" mean same thing like essential oil (steam distilled), for produsing otto needs more rose (or other plant material) petals, ant often rose ottos are more expensive, because  extracting process is less efective . But both methods can be used for all roses - I have ottos and absolutes from Rosa centifolia and Rosa damascena, and White rose CO2 from Rosa alba ( maybe mix of Rosa gallica and Rosa damascena):

    The more south growing roses, the more sweet  smell they produce, by my opinion; as oriental sweets Lukum... But I don't know that kind of roses you like the most, and that best suit in your fragrance.
      Rose ottos, if prodused properly,  are free from remaining chemicals. Rosa damascena trigintipetala from Taif, Saudi Arabia, called Rose Al Taif, extremely rich, sweet, gorgeous, also called Attar: ,   and Moldova rose otto... Many roses, and they all smell different, lasts different, interacts, blends with others  substances.

    About bulgarian rose otto:

    Edited by Ramute - 7/9/13 at 8:57am

    7/9/13 at 11:14am

    David Ruskin said:

    The major difference between Rose Otto and Rose Absolute is that there is little Phenyl Ethyl Alcohol in the Otto, as it is water soluble; that's where we get Rose Water from.   The major difference but not the only one. 

    7/9/13 at 1:09pm

    Pears said:

    From what I've been reading in the last 24 hours, it depends on whether or not it has been redistilled. In Grasse the focus seemed to be on producing rose water, so the water wasn't redistilled. Most producers these days seem to be more interested in producing rose oil, so they redistill the rose water and combine the first and second distilled oils together. The guy who wrote this article is a little eccentric but he seems to know alot about the history and production methods of rose otto.



    Thanks for your help guys. I've decided to try some damascena and centifolia absolutes first, to see how they compare. Then I might know which otto I want to shell out on.  

    Edited by Pears - 7/9/13 at 1:35pm

    7/9/13 at 2:44pm

    pkiler said:

    Yes, as I understand it, an Otto is steam distilled, different in preparation  and processing than an absolute.


    And of course, can be made from many products.  Sort of like a CO2 vs. an EO...  they are different...

    7/9/13 at 7:53pm

    velvetseven said:

    Pears, I suspect your confusion arises from a concatenation of different time periods, places, rose cultivars and extraction methods throughout history. Let's see if we can untangle the threads a little. You may take any or all of this for whatever you think it's worth.

    Rosa x damascena (literally, 'rose of Damascus') is a hybrid derived from a cross between Rosa gallica and Rosa moschata. Its precise origins are lost to the mists of time, but it is definitely believed to have originated in the Middle East. It has been associated with the city of Damascus in Syria for hundreds of years. It's unclear when this rose was introduced to Europe; some believe it was in Roman times, some believe it was brought back to Europe by the Crusaders, and others believe it didn't come to Europe until the Reformation. In any case, it was very likely known in Europe by about 1600.

    Rosa x centifolia is a different rose hybrid, with Rosa x damascena believed to be one of its progenitors. It seems to have been developed by Dutch rose breeders, sometime between 1600 and 1800. Incidentally, Grasse's perfume industry really got going in the 18th century. It's tempting to speculate on how much the introduction of Rosa x centifolia, which must have adapted supremely well to the soil and climate of the CĂ´te d'Azur, fueled that development!

    My understanding is that the word "otto" was a Latinization, or Anglicization, of the Arabic "attar", which means a precious floral oil distilled, specifically, into sandalwood oil. Because of this prerequisite, production of true attars has been traditionally done only in the Middle East and especially India. Over time and European use and custom, the word "otto" has acquired a meaning of its own, independent from the presence of sandalwood oil.

    My understanding is also that an absolute is extracted using hexane or some other solvent. I believe this process began to be used in the West, but I'm not sure when - probably sometime during the 19th century, I'd guess. It was also, interestingly, during this century that roses for perfume production began to be grown in Bulgaria. But by the 19th century, global trade and advanced technology allowed plants and extraction methods to travel beyond their traditional borders.

    Rose essential oils, ottos, attars and absolutes are all natural products, and will therefore smell different depending on the place where they were produced, the variety of rose, and the precise conditions of cultivation, harvest, extraction, and storage. Incidentally, this is why many production perfumers prefer to work with synthetics, but many hobbyist and DIY perfumers prefer natural products; variability can be a blessing or a curse. But a few general conclusions can be drawn. Those who have many different natural rose products to sample from often notice a "cooked" note from simply distilled essential oils or ottos; attars have a deep woody dimension from the sandalwood; and it is said that absolutes, because of the lack of heat in the extraction process, smell the most like the living rose flower.

    So, Pears, I suspect that definitive answers to your questions - "I've read that rose otto is made with Rosa damascena but has this always been the case or was Rosa centifolia also sometimes used? " and "So they've historically made rose otto in Provence and not just rose absolute?" - depend on what you mean by "otto", what time period you're specifying, which variety grew well in which areas, and what technology was available at the time & place of extraction. Fascinating questions all, that truly lead us down the perfumery rabbit hole! For practical purposes, I wonder whether there's something you're specifically looking for, or whether you're just curious about varieties of roses. If your budget can handle it, you might want to try investing in a variety of different rose products from different places and produced using different extraction methods. I understand that today's CO2-extracted oils reproduce the scent of the living rose more faithfully than anything else to date. Unfortunately, they're nowhere near cheap!

    7/10/13 at 1:35am

    David Ruskin said:

    Originally Posted by pkiler View Post

    Yes, as I understand it, an Otto is steam distilled, different in preparation  and processing than an absolute.


    And of course, can be made from many products.  Sort of like a CO2 vs. an EO...  they are different...

    An Essential Oil is usually steam distilled.   An oil that is CO2 distilled uses liquid Carbon Dioxide (only possible under pressure) as the solvent, the reasoning being that  the process can be carried out at a lower temperature and it is much easier to remove the Carbon Dioxide once the process is over.   The traditional Essential Oil and the CO2  extracted oil do smell different,the CO2 version tends to be topper with fewer Basenotes.   An Absolute is a extract using a solvent.   Originally that solvent was Benzine, but as this is now banned other Hydrocarbon solvent such as Cyclohexane are used instead.   The solvent extracts, not only the fragrant molecules but other materials such as waxes, and the resulting material is known as a Concrete.   The Concrete is then taken and dissolved in Ethanol.   This is then filtered removing all non alcohol soluble substances, and the alcohol is removed leaving the Absolute.

    7/10/13 at 9:27am

    Pears said:

    Thanks for doing such an in-depth write up, velvetseven. I might place a vial containing a drop of rose absolute into a hot water bath, to see how it changes the aroma. Perhaps it will smell closer to an otto.


    David, I think that Paul probably knew that they're sometimes referred to as essential oils but, like me, prefers to call them by their other common name, CO2 extracts. You've written some very useful information for others though, thankyou.

    Edited by Pears - 7/10/13 at 10:13am

    7/11/13 at 8:12am

    Pears said:

    David, with your wealth of knowledge could you tell me which combination of synthetics most closely resemble the aroma of rose otto? What about if only the synthetics available in the 1970s and 1980s could be used? I'm aware that the rose ketones responsible for the majority of a rose's aroma had been synthesized and used in fragrances by then. Thanks.


    Edited by Pears - 7/11/13 at 8:47am

    7/11/13 at 9:24am

    David Ruskin said:

    Pears, the analysis you have pretty well covers it.   Eugenyl Methyl Ether is Methyl Eugenol, a substance that is now banned if used on its own.   I wouldn't say that the Rose Ketones are responsible for the majority of a Rose's aroma; just that a little goes a long way.   As there is Geraniol and Nerol, there will be some Citral (a mixture of Neral and Geranial).   Please remember that the chemicals found will all be optically active, so use laevo Citronellol, laevo Rose Oxide, and if possible a natural source of Linalol.   When I made a Muguet Headspace base I used Ho Oil as a source of optically active Linalol.   The C14-16 paraffins won't make a huge contribution so don't worry about them. For Carvone, you can use Spearmint Oil.   And I would use some alpha Damascone too.


    Here is a formula for synthetic Rose Otto from Poucher.


    Citronellol  20.0

    Phenyl Ethyl Alchohol  10.0

    Geraniol nat (Palmarosa oil) 40.0

    Guaiac Wood Oil 5.0

    Eugenol 0.5

    Ionone alpha 7.0

    Cinnamic Alcohol 5.0

    Phenyl Acetic Acid  4.0

    Phneylacetaldehyde  0.3

    Rosone  8.0

    Aldehyde C11 lenic  0.2


    You will notice that this is not made of only nature identical materials but it may be interesting.   When it was published the Rose Ketones were unknown.

    7/11/13 at 1:29pm

    Pears said:

    Thanks alot, David. Do you happen to know when that formula was published?