Ingredient Spotlight: Rose

Few flowers evoke beauty and romance, quite like the rose. Princess Grace's love of flowers, especially roses and orchids, inspires many aspects of the Grace de Monaco brand. The complex, intense, and rich floral notes of Rose Centifolia or Damask Rose are imbued into each of our fragrances. In the world of Grace de Monaco, the "queen of flowers" holds profound significance, echoing the timeless elegance of Princess Grace herself.

What it is

The rose is an ancient botanical valued for its healing properties and used in essences and cosmetics by early civilizations in Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. For centuries, roses have been revered for their fragrance and symbolism. Although seemingly delicate, this resilient flowering plant has been traced to fossils dating back over 25 million years. The rose has endured and maintains a significant presence in perfumery. Today, major rose producers include France (Grasse), Turkey, Bulgaria, and Morocco.

How it smells 

Rose de mai, the "rose of a hundred petals," is cultivated in Grasse and yields a delicate scent with hints of honey and spice, while the Damask rose, also referred to as the Bulgarian and Turkish rose, has an essence that is valued for its velvety richness. It has a harmonious blend of floral sweetness with hints of warm spice and fruity undertones.

Its role in a fragrance 

Although many species of roses exist, excessive crossbreeding has reduced their olfactive qualities significantly. The two most fragrant varieties are Rosa Centifolia and Rosa Damascena, prized by perfumers for their rich scent. These roses yield either essential oil or absolute, with the latter possessing a deeper, sweeter aroma. The rose's versatility lies in its ability to harmonize with other floral, wood, and citrus notes, owing to its complex composition. This complexity is the key reason for the rose’s status as the "perfumer's muse," allowing the creation of a diverse array of fragrances and making it an indispensable ingredient in perfumery.

How we’ve used it 

At Grace de Monaco, the rose reigns supreme, and each perfumer has masterfully incorporated the essence of roses into each of our scents. The rose anchors our fragrances while complementing and enhancing the other ingredients. 

Rosa Centifolia

This iconic rose variety, also known as the Provence or cabbage rose, boasts layers of delicate and frilly petals forming a voluminous flower. In Grasse, cultivating and harvesting the Rose de mai is labor intensive. It requires skilled hands to delicately pluck the flowers at the peak of their bloom in early May. It is grown in small quantities, and only the finest petals are selected for extraction. In Promenade Sur Le Rocher, rose centifolia is a bold yet graceful heart note. Its true floral quality adds depth and connects the citrus and floral top notes with the amber and wood base notes. 

Rosa Damascena

Like rose centifolia, the Damask rose undergoes careful harvesting and processing to preserve its aromatic qualities. Its blossoms are adorned with delicate petals in varying shades of pink. In Danse Étoilée, it dazzles as Rose Otto, the oil distilled from rose petals. As a heart note, it has a lush, floral bouquet with a delicate sweetness. Its warm, sensual, and subtle fruit undertones beautifully enhance the top and base notes. In Ombre Sereine, it takes the form of Turkish rose. Again, employed as a heart note, it is a sweet floral with warm, spicy undertones and hints of fruit. It complements the top and base notes with its rich, velvety character.  The result is a vibrant and sophisticated formulation.   

Its timeless appeal 

For Princess Grace, roses were meaningful beyond their aesthetic beauty. Roses were seemingly interwoven into her life. At her wedding, her maid of honor carried a bouquet of tea roses. As a wedding gift, Antoine Meilland, a celebrated rose breeder, created the “Grace de Monaco” rose. It’s a sumptuous and bold hybrid tea rose with fragrant pink petals. Princess Grace would soon oversee Monaco’s famous Rose Ball, the principality’s annual charitable event. After her death, Prince Rainier III meticulously curated The Princess Grace Rose Garden as a living tribute to her enduring legacy.

With its rich history, the rose has held a cherished place in the hearts of fragrance connoisseurs worldwide. The rose has captivated us with the same timeless beauty and elegance that Princess Grace embodied.