Every spring in the harsh arid mountains of Taif, Saudi Arabia, turn into a breathtaking and heavenly pink. Nobody is quite sure how the 30-petaled Damask Rose ended up there. Legends have it that Ottoman Empire transplanting it from Bulgaria. One thing for certain, though that the mountain gardens of Taif suspended in midair, today the world’s most prestigious rose oil descends. In the city of Taif it blooms a magnificent pink and red. First, the rose bushes blossom in the valley of Wadi Mahram, then higher up in Al Hada, and finally at 2,500 meters in Al Shafa, the mountains to the south of the city. Because of the altitude at which they’re grown, these delicate, intensely perfumed 30-petal wonders are a little fresher in character than traditional Damask roses. Moreover, they are a crucial part of Taif’s economy and identity.
In the notoriously named City of Roses, more than 900 rose farms produce more than 300 million flowers every spring. The harvest is taken to factories across town and distilled into some of the world’s most expensive rose oil, or attar, as well as rose water. Luxury designer brands from Givenchy to Jimmy Choo have incorporated this unique rose into their perfumes