Roses: I really do take time to stop and smell them—growing wild in the fields of Grasse, France, crawling up the stone-thatched walls of a country garden, lining the rows of a South African vineyard (take me back to Franschhoek). With just two natural species to choose from—Rosa damascenia and Rosa centifolia—the facets of its scent are seemingly endless and mercurial.
That first inhale of the flower leaves a creamy smooth trail that reminds me of my grandmother and then a minute or two after it's somehow all airy, fresh, and sheer. The kind of rose I want to be covered in head-to-toe, dare I say it, a sexy rose, a rose tinged with the smell of the dirt it's been plucked from. The kind of rose that looks like velvet and, let me tell you, one of those magical ingredients that blends with everything.
I tend to use pure Rose Otto or Damask Rose oil as it's known—Eden Botanicals always has a good stock. The petals have to be picked just after the dew—envisage mountainous regions—and distilled immediately to maximize oil yield. Romantic rather than laborious in my mind. And such a joy to use. When inhaled, minute molecules of the oil are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and, as the lungs work to oxygenate the blood, the aroma sends signals directly to the limbic system, a part of our brain that controls emotions. That's why the soothing effect is pretty instantaneous.
I like to mix my rose neat into a base oil like grapeseed or unscented cream depending on what I have, and rub it all over my body—epic after a steaming hot bath. When I think of the flower, I immediately think of the heart, such are the two words intertwined and the poets, playwrights, and perfumers, who have long worked to bottle the bloom's tender essence. On a physical level, rose has a profound tonic action on the heart, activating sluggish blood circulation, relieving cardiac congestion, and toning the capillaries. That's literally why we get a flutter from it.
Maybe stopping to smell the roses is decidedly more convenient when the scent lingers on your skin. What do you think?