This is a very simple recipe for making your own rose scented oil. It is quite different from an essential oil which is made by steam distillation or solvent extraction and requires about 1200 rose flowers to make just 20 drops of oil, so much more practical as you don’t require vast fields of roses, nor specialised equipment.
This is a process of macerating rose petals in a carrier oil for a period until the oil takes on the scent of the roses. The process is just as beautiful as the end product, hence all the photos to give you a sense of the joy.
All you need is some rose flowers, a glass jar or container with an air tight lid and a carrier oil, this can be anything you like eg. olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil -I would recommend something that has no scent, or a light scent, so as not to over power the smell of the roses, I have used apricot oil in this case.
Make sure the rose flowers you collect have a strong scent and have not been sprayed with chemicals, as these will taint the final product – growing your own is best. I have several potted roses on my balcony and for my test run I only used two flowers in a tiny jam jar, after 2 weeks of using a little on my finger tips as a face oil, I still have half a pot left.
If you want to choose one to plant the David Austin website lets you know if the rose you are buying has a strong scent, now is a good time to order bare root roses, they deliver at end of the year as literally bare roots with a little bit of twig but will still give you a harvest next Summer.
Take the flowers when they have opened to their fullest, so you and the bees can enjoy them for as long as possible, then just nip them off before they start to wither.
These wild deep pink roses were collected on the Yorkshire moors -a friend of mine had shared how heavenly and heavily scented they were when out walking his dog and actually sent a few in the post to me, with the smell still lingering.
I have tried this process a few times now, and have also used flowers from two of my favourite roses that I have on my balcony, Gentle Hermione and The Alnwick Rose, they have a fairly strong scent but I chose them just because they happened to be in bloom when I decided to make it, you can try using any rose that is scented and not sprayed. I am planning on making one with a few different types of rose flowers, so as to create a combination of their scents.
Once you’ve harvested your rose flowers you need to remove the petals and lay them out to dry a little as any moisture could result in the oil becoming rancid. I left mine on a table near a sunny window for the day, this should be enough to lose the water in the petals but not the essential oil.
Collect the petals carefully and put them in the jar, you will naturally leave behind little bits of dust or grit as you pick them up, and there might be some you want to discard, I actually found a few with creatures wrapped inside so they didn’t make it into a jar.
Fill the jar to the top, and the pour in the carrier oil. If you don’t have enough petals to fill the jar, use a smaller one, you want to just cover them with oil, and not leave any space for air.
Seal the lid tightly and leave for two week in a cupboard, then strain the spent rose petals through some muslin, or a sieve, into a bowl.
Squeeze as much oil as you can from the petal pulp and you are left with a beautiful, delicately scented rose oil.
Pure gold oil! You can repeat this process and add more petals to create a more intense rose scent if you like.
This oil feels so precious and nurturing, it’s very gorgeous to use on your face and body. You only need a tiny amount so it’s been well worth it -this last batch was made with a litre of oil so I have plenty to see me through until the next rose flowering season. It has been especially yummy having petals all over my home so I’m sure you are going to have a lot of fun with this.
Feel free to ask any questions and to share your experiences.