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  1. #1

    Default Is all rose really synthetic?

    In the review of Luca Turin's new book in this week's New Yorker, the author of the review writes that the smell of a rose "can't be chemically extracted from the flower. (It's possible to extract rose oil, but rose oil doesn't quite smell like a rose.) To create the fragrance of a rose, you must sythesize it from other molecules..."

    Is this true? I thought perfume companies paid a fortune for Bulgarian Rose, etc.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    the author of the review writes that the smell of a rose "can't be chemically extracted from the flower. (It's possible to extract rose oil, but rose oil doesn't quite smell like a rose.) To create the fragrance of a rose, you must sythesize it from other molecules..."
    Consider the source of that statement - a reporter who knows almost nothing about fragrance chemistry.

    While it is true that rose absolutes and essential oils don't smell exactly of a living rose neither do any of the rose bases compounded and sold by the fragrance chemical houses.

    If cost is no object then most perfumers will use natural flower absolutes and essential oils and probably also synthetics to augment the naturals.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    Quote Originally Posted by jakelosangeles View Post
    In the review of Luca Turin's new book in this week's New Yorker, the author of the review writes that the smell of a rose "can't be chemically extracted from the flower. (It's possible to extract rose oil, but rose oil doesn't quite smell like a rose.) To create the fragrance of a rose, you must sythesize it from other molecules..."

    Is this true? I thought perfume companies paid a fortune for Bulgarian Rose, etc.
    A lot of perfume "accords" (combinations of ingredients designed to mimic a flower or other natural scent) are a combination of natural ingredients and synthetics. Sometimes the naturals are predominant and the synthetics are assistants; other times, the synthetics dominate, and the naturals just give a touch of authenticity.

    Any form of extraction (cold or hot enfleurage, maceration, steam or molecular distillation, supercritical fluid extraction, etc.) will alter a natural scent to some degree; therefore, supplemental materials are added to try to restore some of the "natural" odor and round out the accord.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    Here's the link to this exultant review and interesting commentary on the problem of linguistically capturing taste/smell.

    The passage you quote is slightly misleading, perhaps. Actually rose is one of the few flowers the oil of which can be easily extracted by simple distillation, without being damaged by the heat - one of the reasons rose oil is among the oldest floral oils. Other plant extracts require more sophisticated techniques and there are some which simply yield no oil at all, e.g. gardenia, violet, lilly of the valley. These floral notes in perfumes have to be composites created from other ingredients and most often in modern perfumery, they are synthetic molecules.

    Natural and synthesized rose notes are key ingredients in perfumery. But does even the finest damask rose oil smell like the actual flower? And then, what does a rose smell like? It depends on the variety, after all. So when creating a rose perfume, there will be a concept - a lush rose garden laced with morning dew, a rose blooming in the gardens of the Generalife of Granada, a white rose etc. pp. - and to achieve that particular impression will always require the combination of various ingredients - natural rose oils will always be part of it in a high quality perfume, but there will be other naturals to tweak the impression and probably some synthetics as well. Even a soliflore, a perfume representing the scent of a single flower, can be a complex composition suggesting simplicity. A rose oil on its own might not evoke a flower or a garden, but only a rose oil.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    Quote Originally Posted by jakelosangeles View Post
    Is this true? I thought perfume companies paid a fortune for Bulgarian Rose, etc.
    Persian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Turkish, and Moroccan Rose oils are expensive. But they do not 'cost a fortune'. Their price would still allow to produce first rate rose perfumes at current prices. Historically, geranium oil has been used to 'stretch' the amount of rose oil in perfumes. The biggest miracle are the roses themselves (if they are fragrant roses): fragrance of the same rose changes depending on age and hour of the day. There is also a wide variety of rose fragrances within the rose families. I think gardeners can confirm that there is not a single rose perfume which could seriously compete with the intense smell of a fresh garden rose.

    That said: French makers of quality rose perfumes still rely on a high percentage of natural rose oils. Whether our perception of rose in any of those perfumes is entirely caused by nature's blessings, or by nature and chemical labs together is very much in question. There seems to be a strange code of silence among the insiders of the 'guild' of perfumers in the world.
    Last edited by narcus; 6th March 2008 at 09:40 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    I have read that 250ml Rose Poivree - The Different Company is made from Damascus Rose harvested between May and July across the Mediterranean region. 50 kilos of rose petals are required to create 250ml of Rose Poivrée.

    Is this true?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    Well, I don't know how much rose oil is in rose poivree, but it takes about 3,000 to 4,000kg of roses to yield 1kg of oil.

    So, if we use the larger number, the 50kg they claim is 1/80th of 4,000, so the yield should be 1/80th of 1kg. 1/80*1kg to ounces = .441 ounces, which is about 13ml.

    Now, Rose Poivree is an EDT, so even if we go on the high end of that, we can only assume it's about 15% oil, 85% alcohol. So in a 250ml bottle, 15% oil would be 37.5ml of actual oil.

    So now, we divide 13/37.5 to get the % of the fragrance which is supposedly rose oil. 13/37.5 = 34.666%.

    I haven't smelled Rose Poivree, but rose in that kind of concentration in a scent would absolutely dominate the scent. The Good Scents Company only recommends rose in levels up to 4% of the scent (http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/data/es1024951.html).

    So either they are lying, or they are using some roses with an extremely low oil yield.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    Bulgarian Rose Otto production - photo gallery:
    http://www.bulgarianroseotto.com/roseoilgallery.html
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Well, I don't know how much rose oil is in rose poivree, but it takes about 3,000 to 4,000kg of roses to yield 1kg of oil.

    So, if we use the larger number, the 50kg they claim is 1/80th of 4,000, so the yield should be 1/80th of 1kg. 1/80*1kg to ounces = .441 ounces, which is about 13ml.

    Now, Rose Poivree is an EDT, so even if we go on the high end of that, we can only assume it's about 15% oil, 85% alcohol. So in a 250ml bottle, 15% oil would be 37.5ml of actual oil.

    So now, we divide 13/37.5 to get the % of the fragrance which is supposedly rose oil. 13/37.5 = 34.666%.

    I haven't smelled Rose Poivree, but rose in that kind of concentration in a scent would absolutely dominate the scent. The Good Scents Company only recommends rose in levels up to 4% of the scent (http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/data/es1024951.html).

    So either they are lying, or they are using some roses with an extremely low oil yield.

    Good work !
    -

  10. #10

    Default Re: Is all rose really synthetic?

    Strange Invisible Perfumes in Venice California uses all natural ingredients and oils.

    http://www.siperfumes.com/sip/

    They make several perfumes, both men's and women's, that utilize rose.

    Black Rosette is absolutely amazing!

    The scent grows richer, he knows he must be near
    He finds a long passageway lit by chandelier
    Each step he takes, the perfumes change
    From familiar fragrance to flavours strange
    A magnificent chamber meets his eye

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