Rosewater distillation, profession of generations in Jebel Akhdar
Jebel Akhdar is located in the Wilayat of Nizwa in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters above sea level. It is one of the highest peaks in the Arabian Peninsula.
Jebel Akhdar began to have a growing interest among tourists and visitors from inside and outside the Sultanate, especially after the implementation of some tourism projects there. Perhaps what makes Al Jebel Akhdar locally famous is the rosewater industry, which is one of its major tourist and economic treasures. It has been one of the most important means of livelihood of Jebel Akhdar residents.
Roses are widely grown in Jebel Akhdar, especially in the villages of Al Ain, A'Sharija, Seeq and Al Qasha. The number of rose plants, of which mountain rosewater is extracted, is about 5,000 plants with a total area of up to 7 acres. The roses of which mountain rosewater is extracted, is the type of Oman rose, which resembles to some extent the Isfahani and Levantine roses. The amount of production is estimated at 4 thousand liters per acre, or about 28 thousand liters of the total area planted with rose plants. The economic return of one acre could be RO40,000 per season, and RO280,000 per season for 7 acres.
Speaking about the efforts and contributions made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for farmers, Salim bin Rashid al-Toobi, Director of the Agriculture Department in Jebel Akhdar said that the ministry has already distributed machines for extracting rosewater as a substitute to firewood. He added that the ministry also provides guidance programs that deal with the process of pruning, fertilizing and care for Omani rose plants. It also presents recommendations with respect to agricultural guidance related to agricultural applications of mountain rose farms.
Al- Toobi told Oman News Agency (ONA) that the rose’s season starts in late March, reaches its peak in April and ends in early May of each year. Rosewater industry is a traditional craft known to the people of Jebel Akhdar for hundreds of years ago. The rosewater of Jebel Akhdar is known for its quality and manufacturing precision due to following the traditional method, which is considered by practitioners of this profession as the secret behind the quality and the wide spread of this product that every house in Oman owns, along with its wide spread in the neighbouring countries.
Rosewater is currently distilled by using modern methods through Distillation of Aromatic Plants Centre in Jebel Akhdar affiliated to the Public Authority for Craft Industries (PACI).
Rosewater falls within the flavors that are added to some foods, such as Omani coffee and sweets and some pastries, etc. It is considered as aromatic repellent odors in the body. It is also used to alleviate some of the symptoms experienced by the human body, such as fainting and others. It is also used as a fragrant perfume to honor guests by spraying it in various occasions, such as weddings.
Green Bar Company for manufacturing perfumes and cosmetic products in Bahrain produces a special perfume of organic Omani rosewater, produced in limited quantities from Jebel Akhdar area in the Sultanate, which is pure organic and gentle lotion.