Enfleurage is found.
The Malle store is where you go when you want to try the finished productions of masters of the art. Enfleurage is where you go to experiment for yourself, and to try exotic materials first hand. I am lucky to have a store relatively close by, where the frankincense of Oman and the essential oils of plants particular to Southeast Asia can be tried on the spot. The owner, Trygve Harris, is an aromatherapist who travels extensively to bring products directly from foreign farms and suppliers to NYC. Her staff is a tight-knit little group who are all highly informed as to the lore and origin and uses of their wares. There are many elements of perfumes also, which still keep their natural medicinal edge in these less refined forms. There are carrier oils, incenses, essences, absolutes and hydosols, teas, books, and a lot of information available in the form of books and conversation with the staff.
They have, for example, oils from Zanzibar such as clove, basil and cinnamon leaf, and unusual oils such as Amla, an ayurvedic oil for scalp and hair, or Marula from South Africa for the skin, and organic virgin Argan oil from Morocco. They have an extensive list of essences like fresh evening primrose, arnica and calendula, Italian and African bergamot, and are known as specialists of frankincense and agarwood and other Arabian aromatics from Oman. Trygve Harris lives there part time and enthusiastically invites us all to visit the country for an aromatic tour of the flowering frankincense trees. She has an entertaining and informative blog on her personal quests for aromatic materials around the world and her interactions with the various cultures. She has been importing from Southeast Asia too, and brought essential oils back from Vietnam, like tumeric, vervaine, a very fresh ginger essential oil, and shiso leaf (sold out immediately). She has brought in agarwood from Laos and even natural Arabian ambergris.
I came away with a pure jojoba oil of much higher quality than available more generally, and an organic Moroccan Argan oil. I have the jasmine butter, which is dark, grainy and very strong, like fragrant tar. The place has a rare combination of enthusiasm and integrity, because the selection is curated by people who have both a hunger for natural beauty and a sense for quality and enough respect for nature to leave what is well enough alone. There is so much here, it requires more than one visit to get to know the riches on offer. I want to go back and try the Columbian rose oils, the neroli butter, the vanilla absolute from Madagascar, and the chamomile distilled in England. If I can't go to these places myself right now, I can get close to the nature of them by trying the absolutes and essences of their distinctive fragrance plants and woods on the shelves of this small place in the West Village. They are open every day!