Rose Harvest in Bulgaria: The Journey to Liquid Gold


As the founders of our rareESSENCE, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to witness the creation of some of nature’s most exquisite gifts. But few experiences have left us as awestruck as our visit to the rose fields of Bulgaria during harvest season. My wife and our CEO and co-founder, Sherri and I had been invited to visit our Rose Otto essential oil supplier a few years ago, and let me tell you, it was an experience like no other. Let me take you on this exhilarating aroma journey.


Map of Bulgaria

As we stepped off the plane in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, we could already sense that we were in for a remarkable experience. Bulgaria is one of the oldest countries in Europe even predating the Roman empire. It is bordered by Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, and Greece. It has a fascinating and not commonly known history. The Bulgarian Varna culture, were the first goldsmiths and the oldest gold artifacts in the world were found to be over 6,000 years old.


Bulgarians are second internationally in IQ and SAT scores and 98% are literate. It’s people invented the first digital computer, first digital wristwatch and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame’s grandfather was a native of Bulgaria. Two of its female athletes hold world records in hurdling and high jumping that have stood for 27 and 28 years respectively. Bulgarians also claim to have also invented Yogurt! Bulgarians get things done!


Bulgaria House

Sophia, a lovely city over 7,000 years old is surrounded by mountains with ancient Thracian caves and ruins going back thousands of years. But it was the Rose that had brought us to Bulgaria and our sights were set on getting to the Rose Valley in the heart of the country near the small city of Kazanlak.  It was past the middle of May and Rose harvest season was fast approaching.


We rented a car and drove to the heart of the country, the radio blasting lively Bulgarian bands putting their spin on popular American tunes as the beautiful countryside flew by out the windows. Bulgaria is a lush and beautiful land, and the hillsides were splashed with bright red poppies, beckoning us to our destination.



The Magical Rose Harvest

Rose harvest field

Every year, the entire region near the small town of Kazanlak in Bulgaria comes alive with the arrival of rose harvest season.

For a brief three-to-four-week window, a fleet of dedicated workers rises before dawn to carefully pluck the fully bloomed Damask roses from the bushes. It’s a race against time, as the precious blooms must reach the distilleries within 24 hours to prevent fermentation and spoilage of the precious rose oil.

At the distillery, we witnessed an age-old ritual unfold with reverence and precision. Massive metal vessels were packed with hundreds of pounds of these fragrant roses, while spring water was piped into huge steam generators. The delicate art of coaxing the essential oil from the petals requires meticulous monitoring of temperature and pressure. One slight deviation could compromise the integrity of this liquid treasure.




A Cultural Celebration 


RareESSENCE Owner with flower crown

As the Rose Festival approached in Kazanlak, the town transformed into a vibrant, rose-infused wonderland. For three weeks in May, nearly 200,000 visitors descended upon the streets, which are lined with local vendors selling rose-themed crafts, clothing, pastries and jellies, wines, and more. The churches paid homage to the rose, a symbol of the region’s cultural identity. Traditional music filled the air as schoolgirls paraded in intricate, rose-inspired costumes. At one booth, I spotted a lovely rose headdress for Sherri that she loved and wore often during our stay.


In the evening, we indulged in the local cuisine accompanied by fragrant bottles of rose infused wine, our senses utterly captivated by the rose’s alluring presence. Those nights dining al fresco are memories we’ll cherish forever. At our hotel we placed fresh roses on our nightstands and breathed in the aroma as we drifted off to sleep, exhausted but so happy.



The Allure of Rose Oil 


You may be wondering, what makes rose oil so exceptional? Let me shed some light on the exquisite allure of this liquid gold.

  • First, there’s the sheer complexity of its production: To produce just a single 5ml bottle of pure rose oil, a staggering 10,000 roses must surrender their fragrant petals. It’s a meticulous, time-honored process that demands immense patience and dedication from start to finish.
  • Second, the Therapeutic Properties: Rose oil is renowned for its therapeutic benefits. It is believed to have strong antidepressant and antiphlogistic properties. It’s also used to soothe emotions, relieve stress, and promote a feeling of well-being.
  • Third, the Skin Benefits: In skincare, rose oil is cherished for its hydrating and soothing properties. It can help moisturize dry skin, reduce signs of aging, and calm skin conditions. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for reducing redness and inflammation.
  • Fourth, the Captivating Fragrance: Rose oil has a rich, deep, and intoxicating scent. This makes it a popular choice for perfumes and aromatic products, adding a luxurious and comforting element.
  • Fifth, the Antimicrobial Qualities: Rose oil has shown antimicrobial effects, making it a useful ingredient in formulations aimed at skin health and cleanliness.
  • Sixth, the Emotional and Psychological Effects: In Aromatherapy we use rose oil for its ability to uplift the mood and create a sense of harmony. It’s believed to help in reducing anxiety and promoting emotional well-being.


Personally, I find few things as uplifting as the aroma of pure rose oil.

Rose oil’s rich, deep, luxurious scent is the very embodiment of opulence and romance, making it a coveted ingredient in our aromatic products. It’s a scent that instantly transports me back to those early morning hours spent in the rose fields, surrounded by endless blooms as far as the eye could see. The aroma was utterly intoxicating.



A Rose-Infused Legacy


RareESSENCE Owners in rose harvest field

Witnessing the rose harvest in Bulgaria was a profound experience that deepened my appreciation for the art and dedication behind true luxury wellness products. The smart, hard-working Bulgarians welcomed Sherri and I with open arms, eager to share their centuries-old practices and cultural traditions surrounding the rose.


It’s why we infuse the exquisite essence of rose oil into many of our offerings, from our new Organic Perfume “Roza” to our Love Room Mist, Sensual blend, and LOVE and the Rose & Sandalwood candles. Our Organic Rose Otto in a 3% dilution offers unparalleled potency and beauty. It’s diluted to be safe for direct skin application, too. Perfect for your beauty regimine.


Whether you seek solace from stress, a radiant complexion, or simply a moment of indulgence, Rose Otto oil offers a path to harmony for the mind, body, and spirit. With each whiff of its captivating aroma, I’m transported back to those rose-scented fields, where nature’s most exquisite gifts are coaxed into liquid form through sheer artistry and love.


So, the next time you experience the uplifting fragrance of rose oil in one of rareESSENCE products, I hope you’ll pause to appreciate the journey it took to arrive in your hands – a journey that began with thousands of delicate petals in the rose fields of Bulgaria. I may even have picked a few of the flowers that ended up in your bottle!


Rose Otto essential oil

If you’ve never tried Rose essential oil, or you just want to experience the best Organic Rose Otto oil on the planet, we are offering you a limited special through July 15, 2024. Buy one or more Rose Otto 5ml essential oils and we’ll include one of our ceramic diffuser mandalas free for each bottle you purchase. Just add a few drops of Rose oil to the disk and place in a clothing drawer or near your bedside at night. It is truly a gift to behold.


Save 20% when you use this code at checkout: ROSELOVE20


Valid through 7/15/24