Rose oxides were isolated for the first time in 1959 from Bulgarian rose oil. Shortly later it was discovered that this particular class of substances occurs generally in rose oils as well as in many plants of the Pelargonium family. Chemically, rose oxide (figure 1) is a substituted pyrane derivative of which four isomers have been found in nature.
Each of the four isomers has its particular odor characteristics. Their strong, powerful and irradiating odor has led to some use in specialty fragrances sometimes imparting dramatic effects into a perfume composition.
Today, however, rose oxides are still considered as a rare specialty as they suffer from several major drawbacks. They have a comparatively limited stability in mass market products like soap and detergents, they have a price limiting the applicability to a small range of fashion perfumes and they have limited availability.