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How To Make Rose-Water, from 1772

Excerpt from The Toilet of Flora by Pierre-Joseph Buc'hoz, 1772

'To make Rose-Water

To make an excellent Rose-water, let the Flowers be gathered two or three hours after sun-rising in very fine weather; beat them in a marble mortar into a paste, and leave them in the mortar soaking in their juice, for five or six hours; then put the mass into a coarse canvas bag, and press out the Juice; to every quart of which add a pound of fresh Damask Roses, and let them stand in infusion for twenty-four hours. Then put the whole into a glass alembic, lute on a head and receiver, and place it on a sand heat. Distil at first with a gentle fire, which is to be encreased gradually till the drops follow each other as quick as possible; draw off the water as long as it continues to run clear, then put out the fire, and let the alembic stand cold. The distilled water at first will have very little fragrancy, but after being exposed to the heat of the sun about eight days, in a bottle lightly stopped with a bit of paper, it acquires an admirable scent.


Infuse in ten and twenty pints of Juice of Damask Roses, expressed in the manner above described, a proportionable quantity of Damask Rose Leaves gathered with the usual precautions. After standing in infusion twenty-four hours, pour the whole into a short-necked alembic, distil in a sand heat, and draw off as much as possible, taking care not to leave the residuum quite dry, for fear the distilled water should have an empyreumatic or still-burnt flavor. After emptying the alembic, pour the distilled water a second time into it, and add a good quantity of fresh picked Damask Roses. Lute it well, placing it again in a sand heat, and repeat the distillation. But content yourself this time with a little more than half the water you put back into the alembic. To impress on Rose-water the utmost degree of fragrancy of which it is susceptible, it is necessary to expose it to the genial warmth of the sun.

Rose-Water is an excellent lotion for the eyes, if used every morning, and makes a part in all collyriums prescribed for inflammations of these parts; it is also proper in many other complaints.'

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