“It was roses, roses, all the way.” Robert Browning
Though most commonly favorited by flower lovers, the rose is perhaps most difficult to analyze with its wide range of profiles. What can be said that hasn’t already spilled onto history pages since the time of Persian and Chinese caravans exchanging their rose goods as the Silk Road was becoming history in the making. Greece too, has roots firmly planted in the rose both in medicinal and fragrant usage. Jill Jesse wrote, “ Your idea of rose depends on your strongest rose memory.” She also wrote, “The perfumer tells us that rose oil lends richness, depth and smoothness to his creation and that its note is warm and persistent.” While this was written over seventy years ago, I can’t imagine better words to have been written about a flower that had no less than thirty two remedies in Pliny’s “Historia Naturalis” to its use in just about every perfume composition of our era.
Rose powder has been my sweet little bundle of instant happy during these dark, rainy days of winter; a reminder of the summer past where I was in fall sunset rose harvests and early fall distillations, of making rosary beads and macerated body oil. I feel its comfort when those days are evenly split behind as they are ahead. I purchased rose powder to try my hand at dried rose distillations and to continue making rose beads, I habit I picked up years ago while living on Saltspring Island. I also find it to be a beautiful addition when making both combustible and non combustible incense. Those fruity damascena notes release beautifully in perfumer’s alcohol to create a tincture for floral compositions. When asked what my favorite way to enjoy the rose powder, I confess that it is in its simplest form: a pinch in a rose quartz bowl on my desk where I’m reminded that as a woman who speaks to flowers, I’m lucky to be able to speak and sniff and be with the flowers as my profession.