Reunion Island

Cirque de Mafate Caldera, Reunion Island

The finest rose geranium essence comes from Reunion Island, a tiny French overseas territory about five hundred miles east of Madagascar.  Reunion is a geologically young island, first surfacing in the Indian Ocean about three million years ago as a result of volcanic activity that is still active.  The terrain is therefore harshly rugged and mountainous, with the highest peak (Piton de Neige) reaching about 10,000 feet.  Since the geranium crops are mainly grown along these steep slopes, mechanical equipment is not practical and harvesting is arduous manual labor.  The geranium’s essence is then extracted through steam distillation of the leaves to produce an oil that smells like rose with a minty overtone.