It is flower power time for Iran with the rose picking season underway.
After years of sanctions growers are hoping the world’s perfume makers will be back to buy their product, with purchases previously blocked by banking restrictions.
The Isfahan region is one of the most prolific producers with the petals that are plucked there regarded as the highest quality.
One field worker told Euronews they start at five o’clock in the morning and work through to the afternoon: “We take the flowers to be weighed and then they are taken to Qamsar to produce rose water.”
Rose water is an important ingredient in cosmetics and medicine as well as perfumes.
Euronews correspondent Javad Montazeri said: “One of the world’s most beautiful and aromatic flowers grows here in this desert region of Iran. The high quality of these flowers is rooted in its climate and natural conditions. Picked in the early morning, they go to Qamsar to be made into rose water.”
The distillation method – which takes up to seven hours – has not changed in over 2,500 years as producer Ali Mazroomi explained: “We put 30 kilos of flowers and 70 litres of water into copper pots and then close the lids. It takes the pots almost four hours to come to the boil and the steam that comes off goes into containers with cold water and turns into rosewater, that makes around 40 litres of rose water.”
As many as 80,000 tourists a day pass through the region to watch the process and buy.
Rose water distributor Mohammad Ghannayi told us what isn’t bought locally goes abroad: “The genuine rose water from Qamsar is mainly exported to Arab countries and France. The rose oil – also known as essence – has medical and hygiene uses, and it mainly goes to France for perfume and cream. It is a base for organic perfumes which use Muhammadi rose essence.”
And those French perfumes often end up back in Iran which has one of the world’s highest uses of such fragrances.