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The rose and its scent

The fragrant essence of rose for handmade soaps


One in two people who gave a flower to their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day chose a rose. This queen of flowers is universally considered a symbol of femininity not only due to its elegant appearance but also thanks to its unique scent, which is widely used in the world of soap to create special products.

rose fragrant essence


The history of the rose, from antiquity to the present day

As anyone who has ever studied Latin and declensions (rosa, rosae, rosae, etc.) well knows, the origins of the rose are extremely ancient, dating back to over four millions years ago, before mankind even appeared. In ancient times, roses were endowed with great symbolic and evocative significance. Indeed, in Greek mythology, they were considered sacred and associated with the worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and priestesses would adorn themselves with garlands of roses, while the Ancient Egyptians used rose oil and scent to venerate the dead, and rose-growing became widespread both among the Romans, who imported them from Egypt, and in China. In Christianity, finally, the rose was associated with the Virgin Mary, and it is no coincidence that the prayer dedicated to her is called the ‘rosary’.

Today, more than 250 species of rose exist in the world, either cultivated or naturally occurring, introduced since the 19th century with the birth of the modern rose industry in France and known as ‘modern roses’ to distinguish them from the ancient ones. Roses come in virtually all the colours of the rainbow, the only one missing being a blue rose. The most fragrant roses, and hence the most sought-after for use in cosmetics use and perfume making, are the Damask rose (from which a prized essential oil of rose is extracted), the centifolia rose, the black rose and other types of hybrid rose such as the Meilland and Tantau roses.

rose fragrant essence


The scent of a rose: qualities and significance

William Shakespeare, speaking through Juliet, said: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet”. It is hard to disagree with the leading lady of this famous play set in Verona when she talks about the sweetness of a rose’s scent. The fragrant essence of rose is a unique and special scent, richly floral and complex and varying according to the variety of rose from which it is extracted. Today, the scent most commonly associated with the rose is the ancient rose scent obtained from the Damask rose, which is sweet, delicate and floral.

Just as in the opening of Romeo and Juliet, the rose is closely tied to love, expressing both its more passionate side, in the case of red roses, and the more delicate and intimate one of sentiment; indeed, roses represent seduction but are also a symbol of purity and motherly love (in this case, favouring paler shades from white to pink). Similarly, the scent of roses can evoke different symbolic worlds: rose scent captivates and inebriates the sense of smell with its brighter, livelier notes, yet it also has the ability to conquer all the senses with its delicate, sweet aroma expressing all the purity of the flower of love.

Explore the black rose soaps in Alchimia Soap’s Black Rose Line

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