Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:51 pm
The big difference is not so much between the sources, Bulgarian or Turkish, (and soon to be Moroccan as well), it's between the Absolute and the Otto.
Otto is the steam distilled variety of Rose, Absolute (as with other absolutes -- Jasmine, Geranium, Tuberose...) is always a solvent extract, getting its name from "absolute alcohol", alcohol with no water in it (200 proof).
The steam distilled variety is valued for both its aroma and its therapeutic properties. It's the one used in skin care -- much of the time for women, but whether gender make a difference or not in the results is doubtful. It's considered a very potent oil, meaning only small amounts are included in skin care blends -- about 0.5%. It is considered very "hydrating", though it's likely this is a result of its signaling to the skin in a certain way, rather than providing hydration itself. It's great for sensitive skin, helping with broken capillaries, and sensitivity in general. It's also a great anti-viral, used "neat" on herpes outbreaks. Rose otto is considered the essential oil with the highest vibration, as they can test the frequency of materials, it is Rose Otto that vibrates the fastest of all essential oils -- some use this when creating blends as tonics for certain chakras, and other recipes that address 'energetics'.
The Absolute, solvent extract varieties smell more like the flower, and are used in natural perfumes and other aromatic formulations where one desires the scent of Roses. Otto's don't really strike you as "Rose" right away, though they do have magnificent, unique aromas. Now, I think the amount of solvent left in any absolute is truly negligible, and whether Rose Absolute would in fact be beneficial in skin care is an interesting question. It seems purely traditional that it has not been used, but its certainly something that deserves investigation.
So, bottom line is the Otto is the choice for applications surrounding health - AND perfumery, where the absolutes are mostly for their aromatic value.