Cistus - Traditional EO

Cistus ladaniferus (synonym of Cistus ladanifer L.)


Our very fine Cistus, also known as Rock Rose, is a true essential oil distilled directly from the leaves rather than from the crude Labdanum gum. This powerful fixative has a deep, warm, sweet balsamic,


Selected size SKU:221-016 - Cistus - Traditional 15 ml (1/2 oz) (w/ orifice reducer)

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Product Overview

Our very fine Cistus, also known as Rock Rose, is a true essential oil distilled directly from the leaves rather than from the crude Labdanum gum. This powerful fixative has a deep, warm, sweet balsamic, almost boozy/diffusive aroma with leather and animalic/musky nuances reminiscent of true Labdanum; as with Labdanum, Cistus is also considered a substitute for Ambergris (from sperm whales) and, in combination with Ambrette, a substitute for true Musk (from musk deer).[1]

The exceptionally large Cistaceae family is a rather wild one – wildly successful at colonizing vast acres of eroded soils after fires and heavy grazing, that is. Rock Roses are a biologically important species that create a ripe environment for the underground symbiotic web of mycorrhizae so essential to soil health. In Corsica, tiny birds have been observed lining their nests with a symphony of aromatic herbs, including Cistus. What a great idea from avian aromatherapists!

Pénoël and Franchomme suggest that the complex sesquiterpenes in Cistus are effective for skincare, verifying hundreds of years of traditional use. In a more poetic vein, Fischer-Rizzi opines that Cistus essential oil ". . . conveys a deep warmth that helps melt an icy feeling.”[2] But surely the most historically interesting revelation about Cistus is that of ancient folks combing the sticky Labdanum resin from the beards and thighs of browsing goats! [3] Later, those 'combs' – more like small rakes – were made of leather, which were then scraped of the resin for distillation. One wonders if the 'leather notes' in historical descriptions of the Cistus/Labdanum aroma is a relic of that early practice.

For a delightfully informative read, please see our blog article regarding our Italian team's Trip to Spain, land of Cistus!

1 Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, 1999, p. 97.

2 Fischer-Rizzi, Suzanne. Complete Aromatherapy Handbook , 1990, p. 151.

3 Rhind, William. A History of the Vegetable Kingdom, 1868, p. 560.

4 Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960, p. 169.

5 Lawless, Alec. Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose, 2009, p. 70.

6 Tisserand, Robert and Rodney Young. Essential Oil Safety, 2nd ed., 2014, p. 250.

Blends Well With

$513.50 / 15 ml
$9.50 / 15 ml
$14.50 / 15 ml
$224.25 / 15 g
$57.00 / 15 g
$20.50 / 15 ml
$48.00 / 15 ml


5 Reviews


Customer Reviews

A golden aroma


This is exactly what I wrote down in my notes when I smelled a sample of this Cistus: "Deep golden smell, like the not-sweet part of a honey aroma. Musky in a plant way." There are layers to this smell and it is very well rounded overall.

Review by TS 3/19/2017

The hail mary of oils


If you have ever been into a catholic church and experienced the smell of incense during mass then you know what cistus smells like. If you need to get someone to confess - try this mysterious ,mystically musky oil. Beautiful !

Review by Shine 7/7/2016

High frequency


This traditional style cistus is a nice and refined oil. The top note stands out as fresh, clear yet penetrating top note. Resinous, vibrant from top to bottom. The heart has some classy green and herbaceous notes followed by some kinda precious woods aromas. To me, an animalic base. Nothing of the land sort like barnyard animalics can get, this has chemistry similar to ocean and deep sea creatures. Wonderful for getting rubber like texture, tentacles and fresh aquatic air. Quite universal in what ever you wanna apply it to. Sharp top, super round base. Let your imagination be your only limit to uses. Also works great in velvet texture notes, accords or blends. I found it to be fresh and crisp, nothing off or funk, sour or rotted. Maybe earth to some but definitely not dirty. Much love for this with tobacco and labdanum!!

Review by MD 11/10/2015

Complex, amber-like, long-lasting


Also known as Rock Rose, Cistus is the oil that just keeps giving. Warm and sweet, it lends a dry, floral note at times; at others it smells more herbaceous. It all depends on how one uses it. I can't get enough of this oil.

Review by Golden Potion 12/12/2014

Lighter than Labdanum but true


This is really nice - warm, woody, and herby. I can sense the sun in it. An excellent addition to my growing collection of EOs, and I'm looking forward to using it in new blends.

Review by Herbaceous 2/19/2013

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Trip to Spain

Our week long journey began in Barcelona and took us from the historic region of Catalonia to Valencia, Murcia, Castilla/La Mancha, Andalucía, Estremadura and finally back to the capital city, Madrid -- a drive of nearly 2000 km along the Iberian Peninsula.



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