Rose oil is regarded as one of the most traditional and premium essential oils in aromatherapy and perfumery today.
The rose blossoms of Rosa damascena begin to bloom in Bulgaria around the third week of May, and will continue for three or four weeks depending upon weather conditions. Yields can be highly volatile depending on the conditions during this short period of time. For example, any extreme heat could result in a yield loss as the oil will evaporate just like other floral oils.
Harvesting begins as the rose flowers begin to open and are still collected by hand, usually early in the morning. Today this time old tradition is one of the most wonderful sights to see in our industry.
Currently, our growing partners offer highly modern distillation facilities where oil recovery is at its optimum but still on average, Rosa damascena will only yield 1 kilo of oil per 3,500 - 4,000 kilos of flowers!!
Annual production of rose oil in Bulgaria is usually in the range of 3,000 kg. This year production is expected to be around just 1,200 kg. This is partly because demand for the oil has drastically reduced due to the pandemic. Carryover stock from last year is still available in the market. Thus, many producers have forgone rose oil production in 2021. This could lead to rose fields being eradicated in some areas. It will also impact the production of rose petals, and ultimately rose oil in the coming 3-5 years. Rose oil is also expected to witness a fall in price in the next 12 months.
Cold weather conditions can be suitable for a good crop, leading to a properly spaced supply of blossoms. However, the colder spring led to the harvest season being both delayed and the harvest length shortened by about a third. Another major problem was the shortage of rose pickers leading to labour shortages, increased picking prices, and some rose fields being unharvested. Field yields were lower, and substantially fewer rose petals were processed.
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