We’ve moved the distillery within Salalah, from Sa’ada back to Dahariz and there are a few changes. We no longer have a showroom/reception area. That plan of mine had a short and sweet lifespan and then became counter-productive. I was glad when the doorbells mysteriously stopped working: thank you, whomever did that!
And, I’m not making ice cream like I was. I used to almost always have a big stock of it ready for visitors and restaurants and the like, and while it was nice to have it handy, it was way too much trouble to keep up with. Impossible to ship to Muscat, and there is not one place here in Salalah (outside of my distillery) that could manage to store ice cream properly.
But it’s all ok, I’ve got other cream to stir. I had to come to the realization that Salalah was just not the best spot for me to sell anything. We can produce frankincense oil here, and that’s really all we need. I can still make ice cream if the need arises, and have been spending a lot of time in Muscat this season. I finally took off those rose colored glasses and once I got over the shock, things began to fall into place in a more realistic way. After all, I did do good. Enfleurage Middle East is still Salalah’s coolest distillery, even cuter in its new tropical garden incarnation. We produce fantastic frankincense oil, slow hydro-distilled, Boswellia sacra. Slow Aroma.
I had to make a complete re-evaluation of this company. My plans sometimes worked and sometimes not, and often for unfathomable reasons. For example: we no longer sell resin from Oman. I don’t know exactly what the reasons were but we had problems with every shipping company, the post office, etc. Sometimes we were told a week after shipping that we couldn’t ship this resin and it was the Muscat customs, or the American government, or FAA. Sometimes it went through.The rules changed constantly and arbitrarily. Trying to mail shipments of resin every month was too much. So khallas. My apologies!
We can’t ship the oil either, unless it’s a big order. Frankincense oil is classified as Dangerous Goods (DG) for cargo, because although the oil is stable, the flashpoint is below the cutoff point. So while you can actually fly with a few kilos in your luggage, you can’t ship it normally. Only DHL will take it and only with the special DG charges. So if you order a kilo of oil, your shipping is out of control expensive as the Dangerous Goods fee is applied per shipment and not per weight. And although small sizes (under 30 ml) are usually exempt from this charge, here they are not, and we have a really hard time shipping them. So we ship most of our frankincense essential oil to the US, and then we ship from there. It’s way better, and it only took me several years of stubbornly trying to do it the other way before I realized it! We still keep some here, for domestic sales, and any large (over 20 kilo) orders in the Americas, Europe or Asia can go DG no problem.
Enfleurage Middle East was featured on CNN’s Inside the Middle East this past fall and recently re-aired. It’s a fascinating segment and highlights not just us but also the Arabian Leopard and the verdant life and landscape of Dhofar in the summer monsoon.
We’ve got a couple more shows coming up and will be filming over the next few weeks, including one piece on Hafah Frankincense Market. Rumor has it this souq will be demolished after this khareef and in fact the entire rest of Hafah has already been bulldozed. You can read about it on Dhofari Gucci and see my demolition video on YouTube. But we’re a month on from that video, and the damage is far greater now. The entire corniche, and the commercial area just past the market are all destroyed and no word yet on what, if anything, is going up in its place. Looks like Dresden.
Yeah, a lot changed here.
Happily, the new distillery is in an adorable little villa, tucked away almost invisibly. A mad assortment of birds, and explosive fragrant plant growth combine to make a tiny Eden. Even the ridiculous weaver birds incorporate lemongrass and bouganvillea flowers in their nests. It’s completely absurd.
Ice Cream continues to fascinate me and I was just in Thailand for a couple of days where I had oh-so-cool Thai coconut street ice cream, served in a freshly scraped young coconut shell (so the tender meat is your ice cream base) and an assortment of add-ons, some of which I recognized, all of which I had: sticky rice, peanuts, sweet red kidney beans, corn (of course,) and a couple of wiggly jelly things.
I also had a completely ridiculous....thing....it’s actually a sno-cone, but it’s shaped like a volcano and sweet Thai Ice tea (or coffee) is poured all over it, along with slivered almonds, tapioca balls and a mysteriously torn up slab of sweet white bread. Whipped cream on top and various little jelly balls and stuff. It’s simply magnificent, very impressive. Tasty too, but the real fun is the drama of the presentation.