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A rose is a rose is a rose… or is it?
Ah, Halfeti – the jewel in Turkey’s crown. With its wonderful mix of Byzantine, Armenian, Egyptian and Ottoman heritage. And a town well-versed in trading with the world, too.
Spices and soft leathers. Cloth and coffee. Some of the most desirable treasures in the world are found where the continents of Europe and Asia meet. Of all the commodities traded in and around the town of Halfeti, the most coveted was the black rose. The rarest of flowers, originating from the nearby banks of the Euphrates. The roses bloom only once a year, displaying their petals of darkest red. It’s said to be the combination of terroir and the pH of the river that makes the roses appear soft black in the hot summer sun.
News of this fabled black rose travelled fast across the seas, and a quest for the truth began. On their journey of olfactive discovery, travellers became enamoured with the unusual skylines of Halfeti, dominated by domes and minarets, and the grand kasbahs confusing to even the most intrepid explorers. These emporia emanated exotic sounds, sights and scents. The tale of a rare flower had sparked curiosity for more. The cogs were turning. A fragrant icon was to be born.
A trip to the bazaar exposed these explorers to Levantine spices – cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and saffron. One would find these spices piled high in colourful mounds throughout the medina. This was not trade on a large scale; you didn’t need much. A tiny pinch was all that was required to create a little oriental mysticism. With oil extracted from the rose petals, the notes of Halfeti were beginning to sing.
Our fragrant journey through the Persian Gulf continues... We relax into dusky patchouli en route to an alluring musky base of resins, oud and amber. Oud is at its most subtle mixed with the velvety softness of cedar and sandalwoods. Smelling these final notes is akin to watching glowing embers of firewood, or seeing the sunset on the Turkish coast as ships head back to England with their precious cargo.
An icon was born.
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