Enfleurage is the kind of shop that seems somewhat endangered on the streets of Manhattan’s West Village these days: intimate, independently owned, and quirkily specialized in its merchandise. If you’re walking past its open door, you might be lured in by the colorful focal point of brightly tinted and patterned soaps arranged on a central table. Once you’re inside, you’ll realize why this business is particularly well known for its selection of essential oils, which the owner of Enfleurage has gathered from locations around the world.
Enfleurage’s catalogue of essential oils includes everything from the familiar (various types of lavender, tea tree, and geranium oils) to the rare (white rose otto, Corsican pine, spikenard). The shop’s staff members are available to offer aromatherapy advice, if you’re seeking an oil to aid you with a particular emotional or physical issue. They can also assist you in differentiating between several varieties of jasmine, for example, and they can tell you the background and origins of any particular essence.
Enfleurage also stocks a range of carrier oils from the simple (jojoba, sesame) to the luxurious (cherry kernel oil, monoï), which you can purchase individually or as bases for the essential oils. You can even have an essential oil (or combination of oils) blended into an unscented body product — the choices are shampoo, conditioner, massage oil, shower gel, bath salts, and lotion — for a completely customized item. (The price depends on the oils that you add to the base product; you will be charged ten cents to two dollars per drop of oil.)
If you only have time for a shorter visit, you can browse a smaller selection of pre-mixed fragrance oils, including single notes like Neroli and blends targeted towards specific needs, including Sanctuary or Sleep. You’ll also see shelves of incense in all forms (especially resins), a wide selection of Pacifica fragrances and candles, the occasional ayurvedic remedy like Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath, and perhaps a few mysterious, unlabeled oils and hair perfumes from places like Yemen or Dubai. While staying firmly grounded in the best traditions of Greenwich Village, Enfleurage also offers the feeling of a global olfactory voyage.
Best seller: Citrus Cheer blend
Not to be missed: The display of essential oils!
321 Bleecker St. (between Christopher St. and Grove St.), New York, NY 10014, (212) 691-1610, website. Update: the store is now at 237 West 13 Street in Chelsea.
Nearby: L’Occitane (247 Bleecker St.), Aphrodisia (264 Bleecker St.), Village Apothecary (346 Bleecker St.), Diptyque (377 Bleecker St.), C. O. Bigelow (414 6th Ave.), Aedes de Venustas (9 Christopher St.), Patyka (33 Carmine St.)
— report and image filed by Jessica M
See also: Perfume Stores in New York City