Rose oil (rose otto, attar of rose, attar of roses or rose essence) is the essential oil extracted from the petals of various types of rose.
Roses are the source of an exquisite oil that has a delicate, uplifting fragrance and a healing, rejuvenating effect on the skin.
The earliest known rose oil distillery existed in the year 1612 in Shiraz.
Rose oil comes in two main types, rose absolute and rose otto. They are both used for the same purposes; the difference lies in how they are produced.
Rose absolute is produced by solvent extraction. This yields a reddish orange or olive green oil with a lighter floral scent, that many of us expect from a rose oil.
It is much more viscous than rose otto and solidifies at quite high temperatures, so much so that you may need to warm it in your hands before use.
Rose otto sometimes called attar of roses, has been used since ancient times. It is the more expensive of the two types of rose because it is usually extracted by gentle steam distillation from Rosa damascena, the Damask Rose (occasionally Rosa centifolia, sometimes called Rose Maroc) and yields a sticky, pale yellow or olive-green oil with a very rich, spicy floral scent.
One hundred percent pure rose otto can be kept for as long as needed but should be kept in a cool dark place.
Both types can be used in aromatherapy massage and although it is more expensive, rose otto is also extremely pungent. You will probably find that you need to use much less in a blend than is normal with other essential oils.