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By a publication in the Official Journal of the EU from April 2014, the EC recognises the Bulgarian attar of roses, under the name “Bulgarsko Rozovo Maslo” and includes it in the list of protected geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
The application process was started in 2012 by producers of Bulgarian attar of roses in the Kazanlak and Karlovo regions.
The essential oil is in the list with six Bulgarian products, made of processed meat: Role Trapezitsa, Panagyurska Lukanka, Gornooryahovski Sudzhuk, Kayserovan Vrat Trakia, Pastarma Govezhda and File Elena.
According to the definition, the Bulgarian attar of roses is an essential oil obtained by means of the steam distillation of flowers of the Damask rose (Rosa damascena Mill.) and is an oily transparent liquid with yellow or yellowish green colour, with characteristic aroma of roses.
It is obtained from fresh rose blossom comprising the petals and sepals of roses of the species Rosa damascena Mill., with shoots, leaves and buds removed, and without any mechanical impurities (e.g. mud, stones).
The picking of rose blossom usually begins in May, starting in fields at elevations of 300-400 m above sea-level and continuing for about 20-25 days, when the rose blossoms have attained the required maturity and have 14-40 pinkish red petals and a pleasant and characteristic fragrance. The picking of rose blossom begins at 5-6 a.m. and continues until 11-12 noon. The quality of ‘Bulgarsko rozovo maslo’ is guaranteed by compliance with the requirement that the rose blossoms be processed not later than 10-15 hours after they have been picked, so as to preserve the raw material’s freshness and quality.
The blossom is transported to the distilleries immediately after picking, and distilling is carried out round the clock. The rose blossom is sorted, some for immediate processing and some for storage for no more than 15 hours (when the weather is cool and the temperature of the blossom is no more than 20° ?) prior to distillation, depending on the time when it was picked.
The Damask rose is traditionally grown in the Valley of Roses (Rozovata Dolina) – the area of the towns of Kazanlak and Karlovo in Central Bulgaria at elevations between 370 and 625 m, but, according to the official definition, it can be grown in certain areas of the Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Pazadrzhik ad Sofia regions.
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