In the 1920s, rose extraction began in Turkey with plants and traditional distillation techniques brought by families who emigrated from Bulgaria. One of the most successful rose-growing areas is the Isparta province. Isparta is known as the ‘Rose Garden of Turkey’ and is famous for its fields of pink Damascena roses.
The absolute in our Rose fragrance is sourced from a family-owned cultivator and distiller in the village of Senir, near Lake Burdur in the Isparta area. Rose cultivation was started by the family in the 1950s, followed by an expansion into distillation in the mid-1980s and in 2002, became the first (and only) organic certified rose grower in Turkey.
The annual rose harvesting season is between mid-May and mid-June. Each rose is hand-picked at first light in the morning, when freshly bloomed and rich with oil. As the day progresses, sunlight ‘ages’ the roses and dries out the oil.
It takes around 400,000 flowers to make 1kg of rose absolute so plenty of hand-picking help is required. Members of local families, refugees and travellers all help during the harvesting season - with fair and equal pay, plus support with accommodation if needed. The welfare of the local community is important to the family-owned distiller.
In the distillery, care is taken to minimise waste wherever possible. Water is recycled and reused. Unused, spent rose flower heads are given free of charge to local farmers to use as compost for their fields.