Sant Jordi and the rose: The fragrance of love

By Vanessa Millàs On Monday, April 23 rd, 2018 · no Comments · In

Legendary and infinite, the rose has become an endless source of creative possibilities for perfumers. Venerated by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Muslims and valued for its beauty around the world, the term rose means in Greek (rhódon) “what is fragrant”, or “what gives off smell“.

Composed of more than 300 different molecules, it has inspired fragrances that go from its most romantic side to the most obscure and seductive. Damascene Rose is the variety most used in perfumery, where the essence is achieved through the distillation of its fresh and flavored petals. A process of steam distillation is employed to extract the essence.

The concrete is obtained by extracting the petals with volatile chemical solvents. The absolute is achieved by the extraction of concrete with alcohol. These materials have been used in perfumes and personal care products for centuries. Yearly are produced eight tons of absolute and four tons of the essential oil produced, worldwide. To produce 1kg of absolute, 600kg of petals are needed and 3,500Kg or more to make 1 kg of essential oil. Bulgaria, Turkey and Morocco lead the production of roses. One liter of Rose Essential Oil costs more than € 13,000.

In the history of perfumery there is a large variety of famous fragrances whose main components or part of their floral composition is the rose. We can enumerate from the classic Chanel Nº5, (Chanel, 1921), Trèsor (Lancôme 1990), passing through successful fragrances that remains in vogue as Chloe (Chloe, 2008).

The rose is part of one of the most beautiful day one can choose to visit Catalonia. Today, 23rd of April is the Day of Sant Jordi (or Diada as the Spanish people name it) patron saint of Catalonia and the streets are full of rose scent and smiles.

On Sant Jordi’s Day the men in Catalunya give their sweetheart a red rose, and recently the tradition implies that the ladies have to give the men a book. There are bookstalls and book markets all over Catalonia on Sant Jordi’s Day.

Below is a summary of one of the most beautiful legends of Catalonia:


Once upon a time there was a dragon with long nails and breath on fire. This dragon had frightened the neighbors of a Catalan village. The villagers, cornered by the beast decided to give two sheep daily to appease the dragon’s hunger. But one day the sheep ran out and began to give him cows, oxen, until no animal remain.

The King with neighbor’s support, decided to randomly chose a person every day to be sacrificed to the beast.

One day the princess name came up, and although that made the King very sad, he sent her to the dragon. But just when the dragon was about to eat the princess, a brave and handsome knight, known as Sant Jordi, rode into town and killed the beast with his spear, saving her life. He thrust his lance into the dragon and, out of the blood that spurted forth, there grew a red roses bush.

Sant Jordi took the most beautiful of all the roses to give it to the princess as a sign of love. The king asked him to marry his daughter, but the gentleman left on his white horse without saying anything. From that day the people of the town lived quiet and happy. Since then, it has been the custom in Catalonia to present a rose to your loved one.



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