"Of their sweats there are sweetest odors made." - Shakespeare*
"This Queen of the garden loses not its diadem in the perfuming world. The oil of roses, or, as it is commonly called, the otto or attar of roses, is abstracted by various processes from the Cabbage Rose in Turkey, Persia and India; the finest is imported from Ghazepore, in the latter country. For obtaining it, the procurers at each place have their own mode of operation; the best method, however, is to stratify the flowers with a seed containing a fat-oil; they will absorb the essential oil of roses, and swell a good deal if the flowers are changed repeatedly. They are then pressed, and the product allowed to stand for a time; the otto rises to the surface, and is finally purified by distillation. Pure otto of roses, from its cloying sweetness, has not many admirers; it is, moreover, likely to produce headache and vertigo in this state; when diluted, however, there is nothing to equal it in odor, especially if mixed in soap, to form rose soap, or in the pure spirit form, ' Esprit de Rose.' The former preparation not allowing the perfume to evaporate very fast, we are not so readily surfeited with the smell as in the latter. The finest preparation of Rose as an odor, is made at Grasse, in France; here the flower is not treated for the otto, but simply by maceration in fat, as mentioned with other flowers.
"The Rose Pomade, thus made, if digested in alcohol, yields Esprit de Hose of the first order, very superior to that which is made by the addition of otto to spirit. It is difficult to account for this difference, but it is sufficiently characteristic to form a distinct odor. It is never sold by the perfumer; he reserves this to form part of his recherche bouquets. Roses are cultivated to a large extent in England, near Mitcham, in Surrey, for perfumers' use, to make rose-water; the odor of the English flower is not strong enough to use for any other purpose. Though the dried rose-leaves are used for scent-bags, they retain but little of their native fragrance. In the season when successive crops can be got, they are gathered as soon as the dew is off, and sent up to town in sacks. "When they arrive, they are immediately spread out on a cool floor, otherwise, if left in a heap, they will heat to such an extent in two or three hours, as to be quite spoiled; to preserve them for use they are immediately pickled; for this purpose the leaves are separated from the stalk, and to every bushel of flowers, equal to six pounds, one pound of common salt is thoroughly rubbed in; the whole becomes a pasty mass, and is finally stowed away in casks. In this way they will keep almost any length of time without seriously injuring their fragrance. For rose-water, which is best prepared from time to time, take 12 lbs. of pickled Roses, and 21/2 gallons of water, place them in a still, and draw off 2 gallons; this product will be the ' double distilled rose-water' of the shops." - English paper.