About classic old fragrant roses

“Attar of roses is an important ingredient is some cosmetic preparations. The yield is very small: 500 kg (about 1,102 lb) of rose petals, which is about 3,000,000 blooms, are required for 1 kg (roughly 2 lb) of attar of roses. The need for roses, like the need for flowers as such, may in its way serve as an indication of living standard; and therefore we can but hope that the popularity of roses will continue to grow and that it will do so in all countries of the world.”

(Source: Roses – A Concise Guide in Colour, by Ludvík Večeřa, illustrated by Jiřina Kaplická, translated by Olga Kuthanová. Published by Artia for Hamlyn Ltd., London, 1971, p. 54. Out of print.)

A Famous old rose: Blue Moon

This rose, a hybrid tea rose featured in the book, was bred by Mathias Tantau Jr. in 1964, and still sold by the 100-year-old Rosen Tantau firm in Uetersen, Germany.  This hybrid is now more than fifty years old, and still rose aficionados who want a rare, noble, beautiful and fragrant tea rose in their gardens specifically search for Blue Moon.

Illustration of the “Blue Moon” rose, from Roses – A Concise Guide in Colour, p. 139. The seedling in the illustration is called “Sterling Silver”.

“Each stem bears one to five pointed ovate buds, 5 – 6 cm (2 – 2 ½ in) long. The large, double flowers are well-shaped and with a strong fragrance. The colour of the rose is violet changing to silvery-lilac when in full bloom. ‘Blue Moon’ belongs to the group of ‘blue’ roses; its main features, however, are the lovely form of the rose and the spicy scent. […] This rose is synonymous with ‘Mainzer Fastnacht’ and ’Sissi’.”

(Source: Roses – A Concise Guide in Colour, by Ludvík Večeřa, illustrated by Jiřina Kaplická, translated by Olga Kuthanová. Published by Artia for Hamlyn Ltd., London, 1971, p. 138. Out of print.)

It has a heavenly super-sweet, slightly spicy scent that can be smelled from a distance. In 2009, Shiseido Research Institution identified yuzu lactone, 2-isopropyl and 4-methylthiazole from Blue Moon, the representing rose of Blue Roses. Ever since, the institution has continued to research the ingredients responsible for its beautiful scent.” (Rose Fragrance Institute Corp., Japan)

Perfume with Blue Moon

Swedish jewelry designer Efva Attling has produced a perfume, Rose Petals, that is inspired by the deeply fragrant Blue Moon rose that she has had in her garden for more than a decade. Rose Petals Eau de Parfum is a lovely scent with elements of passion fruit, pomelo and pear along with magnolia and cedar wood. Top notes: Passion Fruit, Pomelo, Asian Pear;  Middle notes: Turkish Rose Oil, Magnolia, Lily of the Valley; Base notes: Soft Musks, Cedarwood, Vetiver.  All her perfumes are made by French fragrance and flavour manufacturer Robertet, in Grasse, France.


Sources: Header image – Efva Attling with one of her perfumes, from Kicks, Finland website.

Roses – A Concise Guide in Colour, by Ludvík Večeřa (Out of print)

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