The Beautiful Rose – a Potted History

It wasn’t until 5,000 years ago that we saw evidence of humans starting to cultivate roses. In ancient Egypt, the rose became a powerful symbol of love and beauty and petals were often found in the bindings of mummified bodies as well as inside burial chambers.

As a cosmetic, rose petals would be boiled down into an oily slurry for use as a skin balm.

Legend has it that Cleopatra scattered rose petals over her bed and piled them nearly two feet deep over her bedroom floor whenever she met with Mark Antony, such were their aphrodisiacal powers.

Ancient Roman brides and grooms were often crowned with roses, which were named Rosa gallica – still a popular species today. The descendant of this rose is the Rosa damascene, or Damask  rose which is the most prized species used for perfumery.

Typically the Damask rose ranges from a light to medium pink to a light red colour and fragrance notes range from floral and spicy to fruity and sweet.

Rosa Centifolia is the other main species of rose used in perfumery and has a green and slightly citrussy note.

Around 70% of the rose oil in the world comes from Bulgaria;  other significant producers are Turkey, Iran and Morocco. Syria was once an important source of quality rose oil too, before the war decimated the industry.

Harvesting roses for perfume distillery is a labour-intensive affair. The petals need to be hand-picked early in the morning when they are at their most aromatic, and the dew has not completely evaporated. Approximately 4 tons (4000 kilograms which is the equivalent weight of the Asian elephant) of petals are required to produce 1 kilogram of pure rose oil, making this the most expensive nectar in the world. Pure rose damascena can cost from $5000 – $7000/kilo.

This concentrated rose nectar is often known as attar or otto and is a core component of the perfume industry. It is present in around 75% of all women’s fragrances and 10% of men’s.

For our MELIS Gratia, we source the finest rosa damascena attar available from Bulgaria and anchor it with sustainably farmed and aged Indian Sandalwood  to provide a soft, sweet, woody base note.

Here’s what some of our GRATIA customers say about their GRATIA experience:

Sacred awakening

This is my second order of the stunning Gratia and it only deepens the more I wear her, awakening new connections with divine spirit every time. With such purity I feel more integral in my energy field, empowered to continue the rebirth of creative self. Thank you MELIS!! Radi M

Divine beauty

All my senses were filled with love from the moment I opened this attar. The scent is pure grace as it states. It has filled my heart space with love and intent and will continue to be part of my daily ritual process for evermore. Lauren R


This graceful little gem leaves you feeling beautiful, rare and precious, just like the thousands of gorgeous rose petals that it took to make it. I feel honoured to own and wear something so special and apply this healing scent as a little ritual to remind myself that I am special and beautiful too. Highly recommend if you want something extra special for yourself or as a gift.  Sally A


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