As one of the oldest species of rose in the world, the Damascena has captivated people for centuries. Like floral detectives, enthusiasts have poured over manuscripts and examined paintings to chart its movement from the Middle East to Europe.
Eager eyes have spotted one blooming on an ancient Roman fresco, taking this as evidence of an early entree to Europe. Others noted its appearance in an account of Henry VIII, who received a Rosa Damascena as a gift from his doctor in the mid-16th century (there’s no word on whether any of the king’s six wives were equally blessed). Still others credit the French religious warrior Robert de Brie with bringing the bloom home in 1148, as one of the spoils of an early medieval crusade.
Beguiling as they are, none of these origin stories can answer the question of who first cultivated the Damascena – a natural hybrid of two other rose species – which only adds to the mystery and romance of this heavenly bloom. It’s smaller than many other species, which belies the intensity of its fragrance.
Yes! The fragrance! Fresh and with a hint of spiciness, the Rosa Damascena has an aromatic intensity that translates so well into a perfume oil.
We like to celebrate the Damascena’s natural exuberance by pairing it with citrus notes of bergamot and mandarin in our Persian Rose scent collection. In doing so, this very modern interpretation of an ancient floral fragrance is equally enjoyable as a Perfume Oil, a Candle or – in its latest incarnation – a luxurious Hand & Body Lotion.
Written by Michelle Bateman