Thousands of acres of flowers, born from the womb of the fertile land, centuries-old mastery and hundreds of hours of diligent work fill up every drop of Bulgarian rose oil.
Geographic map of rose oil
There are mainly 2 types of oil-bearing roses cultivated around the world - Rosa Damascena and Rosa centifolia. But since Damascena is universally recognized for its strong and lasting aroma, as well as for its healing properties, it is undoubtedly the one preferred for the production of essential oil.
Until the 80s of the last century, Bulgaria stood out as the world’s leader in production of rose oil. Today, the country and its southern neighbor Turkey account for nearly 90% of the global production. Every single year, from the 36 thousand hectares of rose plantations, situated mainly in the "Valley of Roses" (Karlovo, Kazanlak and Strelcha regions), the town of Chirpan and the village of Zelenikovo, around 6000 tons of rose petals are harvested and up to 2 tons of fragrant oil is extracted, depending on the yield.
The Bulgarian rose oil contains over 280 different components - a distinctive feature, prompted by the specific microclimate, which distinguishes it from the oils distilled in other parts of the globe.
Highly valued and sought-after, the unique Bulgarian rose oil is a key ingredient of the products of many perfumery giants, such as Kenzo, Chanel and Dior. The name “Bulgarian rose oil” itself has been patent-protected since 2014.
Turkey manages to harvest about 8000 tons of rose petals per year, and with the amount of extracted oil, the country has won the top spot in the production of "the liquid gold". Nearly 80% of the plantations are own by private families and are located in the mountain villages in Isparta province. Other areas actively engaged in rose oil production are the provinces of Afyon, Burdur and Denizli.
France is the country with the most competitive share after Turkey and Bulgaria. It is also the world's largest importer of the aromatic elixir. On its fertile lands, especially around the city of Grasse - "the world’s capital of perfume”, thrive both Rosa Damascena and Rosa Sentifolia.
In recent years, India has invested heavily in the production of rose oil, even earning the nickname "Grass of the East" for one of its territorial units Kanaudzh. Thanks to cheap labor, the country is able to offer oil with an extremely affordable price, although of relatively low quality.
Extraction of rose oil is developing intensively in China, which is oriented almost entirely towards organic production. The organic origin of the raw material, however, raises the cost of the end product by about 20%.
Other countries possessing rose plantations and involved in oil distillation are Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Italy.
Consumption of rose oil around the world reaches up to 4.5 tons per year. The strongest demand comes from the big cosmetic and perfumery companies in Europe and the U.S., while some Middle Eastern countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Dubai) also purchase large quantities of essential oil. In recent years, a significant growth has been observed in the East Asian market, too.
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