Has a perfume ever brought you to tears? Maybe it conjured up a beautiful or heartbreaking memory. Or maybe the fragrance itself was so overwhelmingly glorious that it overtook your emotional dashboard and the floodgates opened. I entered Enfleurage this past week with Jessica from Now Smell This and found myself in one of those moments. I had never met Jessica before that day, and was not keen on bursting forth with emotional lability in front of her. But when I took my first whiff of the boutique’s Tuberose Enfleurage Butter, my heart was full of longing, and indeed I wanted to cry.
We’ll delve into the longing part in a minute. Let’s have an Enfleurage orientation first. Enfleurage, the boutique, is in NYC’s West Village and is filled with fragrant distilled oils, moisturizing oils, body butters, teas, soaps, incense, etc. (For a detailed description of their offerings see NST’s review here). Enfleurage, the process, allows flowers to release their oils into a fatty pomade, typically over the course of several days, while being pressed between glass plates. Trygve Harris, the boutique owner, uses organic palm oil from Colombia as the fatty medium, and offers this as a fragrant moisturizer in butter form. Tuberose, gardenia, rose and rose glory bower (chiclé is the nickname) are the current varieties.
Indeed, the Tuberose Enfleurage Butter took my breath away and put a skip in my otherwise steady heartbeat. And if I had been alone inhaling this for the first time, my emotions would most certainly have gotten the better of me. I am attempting to figure out why this particular tropical white flower concoction created, and still creates, such a visceral response in me. I suppose it might be the utter purity of the butter. It’s simply solidified oil and tuberose oil. (Of course the painstaking process to render the oil from the tuberose is costly and time consuming).
The purity lends itself to a fragrance all together different from what I experienced in Carnal Flower at the Frederic Malle boutique. While Carnal Flower is most assuredly beautiful and very true to tuberose’s lush, green nature, Enfleurage’s Tuberose Butter is, well… more buttery. With its hint of plumeria, this tuberose is like buttery sweat dripping down a stalk of Hawaiian sugar cane. Salty, sweet, creamy, and oh so very tropical. Unbelievably gorgeous. It made me wistful for unattainable sultry breezes and warm sand in between my toes at summer’s end. But most of all, it was so darn overwhelmingly glorious. And the Gardenia Butter? It’s drop-dead gorgeous too.
Before Jessica and I left Enfleurage, with a jar of Tuberose Butter in hand of course, Trygve poured some frankincense oil from Oman on my arm. This was after I had dabbed on a tiny bit, and she said “Oh honey, that’s not nearly enough! Here you go!” I balked at the amount she bestowed upon me, but as we walked into the hot and sticky city air, I realized Trygve knew exactly what she was doing. This frankincense is no ordinary frankincense. The oil is water extracted in a copper distiller and the result is refreshing and uplifting. I could not believe I was experiencing frankincense. Menthol, pine and camphor mingle in the opening. Minty woods unfurl in the heart; and a mild, decidedly non-churchy incense peeks in at the end just to remind you that this really is frankincense you anointed upon yourself. I had to go back two days later to get a vial, this time accompanied by Lucy, the creator of one my favorite blogs, IndiePerfumes, and her compatriot in scent, Leah, of Asking Leah.
I also had the chance to smell blue lotus which was an enlightening opportunity after wearing and loving Mandy Aftel’s Lumiere for many weeks now. It was fascinating to experience the essence on its own and realize just how present it is in the top notes of Lumiere. It’s very moody and tannic, and less floral than I would have imagined, never having smelled it alone.
This summer at Blunda, Strange Invisible Perfumes, Le Labo, Caron, Frederic Malle, and Enfleurage, has been delightful and educational commiserating with fellow scent lovers, shop owners and fabulous sales associates while broadening my own knowledge of natural perfumes, one note at a time.
Enfleurage; 321 Bleecker Street in the heart of Manhattan’s West Village
photographs by ~Trish
posted by ~Trish