Was it really six years ago that I wrote a shopping report about Enfleurage, New York's most specialized purveyor of natural aromatics? Yes, apparently. The boutique has since moved to a new address (237 West 13 Street, in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood) but its staggering selection of essential oils and natural incenses remains unchanged. I still sniff individual oils during each of my visits, but I'm also very fond of Enfleurage's "house blends." They're available as concentrated oils and as "roll-ons to go," diluted in a base of organic jojoba oil for ready-to-wear use.
My favorite house blend is Sanctuary, a blend of ylang ylang, chamomile, patchouli, clary sage and black pepper. A few years ago, when I was struggling through the final rewrites and edits of my doctoral dissertation, I happened to pay a call to Enfleurage and I decided to purchase something to wear and inhale for inspiration. I asked one of the staff members for a recommendation. He suggested Sanctuary as a blend that could simultaneously calm and motivate; perfect, I thought.
I did finish my dissertation, thanks in part to Sanctuary, and I've since repurchased this scent. The ylang ylang and chamomile are soothing, the patchouli and clary sage are grounding, and the pepper provides a burst of energy. I've learned anecdotally that Enfleurage's owner created Sanctuary to offer a sense of emotional refuge after New York's terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; Enfleurage doesn't specifically market Sanctuary this way (for which I respect them even more), yet it's an interesting footnote.
You won't be surprised to learn that I soon went on to try Rose, a "blend of two roses" — most likely rosa centifolia sourced from Morocco and rosa damascena from Bulgaria, if Enfleurage's general list of essential oils is any indication. It's a lovely "true" rose fragrance, fresh and dewy, a bit waxy, with gentle touches of green. Like all Enfleurage's roll-ons, it could be considered either aromatherapy or natural perfume; the company doesn't set any rules. As a fragrance, it has light staying power; for a bit more "oomph" and longevity, Enfleurage's Attar of Roses — rose otto and rose absolute with sandalwood — might be just the thing.
Last but not least, I can recommend Amber, Enfleurage's own secret brew of ten essential oils including benzoin, cistus, oakmoss, opoponax, Peru balsam, clove and others. It's velvety and rich, a perfect scent for late-autumn nights, and its resin notes are seamlessly interwoven with dark smoky woods, hints of vanilla and a very piquant clove. The Amber roll-on is a treat to wear, and the Amber pure oil is perfect for a cold-weather home fragrance blend.
Come to think of it, I'm still not done exploring Enfleurage's complete aroma catalogue — even after all this time! — maybe because I keep looping back to these house blends. It's a good problem for a scent-lover to have.
Enfleurage Sanctuary ($17), Roses ($27) and Amber ($22) are available as .35 oz. "roll-ons to go" or in other sizes (Sanctuary, for instance, is also sold in 5, 10 or 30 ml, $15-$76.50) at the Enfleurage website.