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Glossary ListGlossary Term 
Attar of Roses
[From A Heritage of Roses, in the Foreword written by Graham Stuart Thomas, p. 7:] Attar, an oil floating on the surface of rose-water, was worth more than its weight in gold. This oily substance is used to flavour the pink portions of marshmallows and Turkish Delight... it is becoming more popular as a perfume for ladies...

[From Roses: Old Roses and Species Roses, by Eleonore Cruse, p. 15:] In Bulgaria and Turkey... roses are grown on an industrial scale... Essence of roses, being rare and expensive, is much sought after... It is used in the blending of luxury perfumes, although today it has to compete with synthetic essences which threaten intensive rose-growing...

[From the June/July 1999 issue of Garden Design magazine, which has several articles/notes of interest to rose growers. One of these is an article by Stephen Scanniello, formerly curator of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cranford Rose Garden, about roses Josephine grew at Malmaison and that are still available today, p. 98:] In the late 1700s, New Yorker John Valentine Sweetcope perfected a method for distilling this oil; he became so well known that housewives flocked to his Brooklyn workshop with baskets of petals to swap for this precious commodity...

[ibid, p. 101:] Experienced apothecaries knew that the darker the color of the rose, the more oil its petals would hold...

[From The Rose Garden, by William Paul, p. 12-13:] the Roses are put into the still, and the water passes over gradually... the Rose-water is placed in a large metal basin, which is covered with wetted muslin tied over to prevent insects or dust getting into it... [this vessel] is allowed to remain quiet during the whole night... The attar is always made at the beginning of the season, when the nights are cool; in the morning early the little film of Attar, which is formed upon the surface od the Rose-water during the night, is removed by means of a feather, and it is then carefully placed in a small phial; and day after day, as the collection is made, it is placed for a short period in the sun; and after a sufficient quantity has been procured it is poured off clear, and the colour of amber, into small phials. Pure Attar when it has been removed only three or four days has a pale greenish hue; by keeping it soon loses this, and in a few weeks' time becomes of a pale yellow... The Attar purchased in the bazaar is generally adulterated, mixed with sandal-oil or sweet-oil. Not even the richest native will give the price at which purest Attar alone can be obtained; and the purest Attar that is made is sold to Europeans.

[From A Heritage of Roses, by Hazel le Rougetel, p. 125:] Dr. Pal considers roses most suitable for perfume today [1988] are 'Bussora' and 'Rose Edouard', while 'Gruss an Teplitz', a crimson rose of China derivation, has been used for experimental purposes.

[From American Rose, September 1994, p. 7:] More valuable than gold, the oil known as ATTAR OF ROSES sells for nearly $10,000 per pound; 4,000 pounds of Rosa damascena blooms must be distilled to produce one pound of this concentrated fragrance, and virtually all of the world's supply comes from a 60 by 6 mile region in Bulgaria.

By the way, back in 1936, B.R. Cant came up with a very fragrant Hybrid Tea which he called 'Attar of Roses'.
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