Too bad it’s not always a straightforward battle like you might find in Taekwondo. Someone throws a punch and you block it, move out of the way, kick them, punch them back. But it’s good training for all kinds of attacks, really. Before I did martial arts and even for a long time as I was training, I thought black belt was the goal, the destination. It is, but what isn’t apparent is that it’s only a goal, the first of many, merely a place to rest for a moment and then start the serious work.
All I can say is WOW.
The new store in New York is up, and ready, and open, and furnished, and absolutely lovely. Still not 100% finished as we have a few small touches to complete. This store was a group effort and would simply have not happened without the help of Tom and Jon, Stacy and Christina, Ken, Freddy and Daniel. Tom, as usual, takes everything upon himself and was completely responsible for every aspect of the new store. Awning, furniture, colors, coordination, you name it, he did it. And Jonathan flew out to NYC several times, dealt with the construction crews, painted, designed things, worked with Tom, etc. Because of them I was able to actually be away from New York as the new store was being built. That’s unheard of. Mind you, I was here for several months before construction started, and we only got the building permits 2 days after I went back to Oman. I was not able to make it happen any faster.
In Oman things changed quite dramatically. I have the new space, and everything is filed, registered, discussed, signed, and ready to go. Jealousy and malice can be kicked down the stairs where they belong, not clinging to my back. We have the full protection of Omani law. There is no more question of being held to the winds of whim and subterfuge. Seems like quite a bit of ugliness and shocking betrayals were unearthed, thank God at the end of the vulnerable phase. Alhamdulilah. It’s fantastic, and hard to imagine, but true. It was quite a journey, but it appears I have arrived, and now for a quick breather, and to survey the climb ahead, and then continue, older, scarred, tougher and wiser, Mashallah.
On a sad note, I lost my Landcruiser, it was killed under the most unlikely circumstances. Can’t write about those circumstances of course, at least not at the moment. But even though I, and all my friends, miss that wonderful, intrepid and awesome vehicle, it was a price I paid for knowledge, clarity and freedom. I will buy another. There is so often a silver lining.....
That which doesn’t kill us.... makes us stronger. Or so they say.
One other sad note--I had written about bringing a new oudh from Laos in from Oman. This was our first new batch of Laotian since........2007. It had been sitting on a shelf in Vientiane, waiting for me to take it, for years. It was the last batch of Super Lao, completely irreplaceable. I can safely say this was an oil I was planning on keeping in my private collection for the rest of my life. It didn’t make it. It was seized by US Customs as it did not have the fairly newly mandated CITES certificate. I believe that agarwood as registered as CITES appendix II in 2006. I think that oil has also been included as a product which is supposed to be registered with CITES since 2009. Not sure about these dates, but as I have written at length in the past, personally, I think the whole CITES thing, (when it comes to agarwood--I think it’s great and necessary for the trade in endangered animals) is misguided, prone to misuse, confusing and without any link at all to what it is ostensibly for, to protect agarwood. But they don’t care what I think, and now that lovely bottle will sit on some bureaucratic shelf in the bowels of JFK until someone either steals it, or pours it out. There is no discussion, because the people enforcing this believe they are doing something highly moral. And I agree with them when it comes to regulating the trade in animals. There is no end of trouble for all kinds of people due to the CITES agarwood thing, and I don’t mean me. I mean all the people in NE India and around the world who must deal with the agarwood mafia since their industries were declared null. CITES certificates are bought and sold just like how you’d expect. It’s got nothing to do with the reality of an ethical harvest. Never occurred to me to get a certificate for this batch--I’ve been sitting on it so long. My bad there. Anyway, it’s gone. For the few who read this and were looking forward to trying it......sorry. We all knew there would be an end to oudh. So here we are. The farmed and inoculated crap is also subject to CITES by the way........If you’ve got oud, hold onto it. I can tell you the good Laotian stuff is now gone. As for most of the other origins....I have no idea. Our speciality was Lao, as everyone who knows us knows.
Back here in New York, the holiday season is here, and for once it’s not a horror show. The new neighborhood is just great, we don’t feel crushed, choked and hammered. We feel.......good. Weird.
It’s all small businesses, lots of old ones, pretty decorations, no big corporate anything, nice people, not as many drunks, plenty of trees and dogs.....and it’s still Greenwich Village. I walked down Bleecker the other night with Tom...Those absurd corporate luxury boutiques no longer irritate me. I don’t give a damn if Burberry Brit pays $70,000+ a month for a small space on Bleecker. I’m gone. And the first of the discount stores has moved in, across from the new Jimmy Choo boutique. The pendulum will swing back, and I am so relieved to be away from all that.
Ironically, the new Enfleurage is more “upscale” than any of those pricy places--our old store was the old Village style, and very colorful, friendly, informal, and I have to admit, dated. It’s a complete switch. The new store is an ocean of calm serenity, solid and with a modern almost Japanese feel to it. We have a tester bar with seats, for our essential oils, and three small bays with our new candle line, incense and herbs. The coconut palm floors glows with warm reds and browns. Even our logo is new and decidedly more elegant, modern, and aesthetically pleasing than the last one. Our color scheme is now earth tones, browns, tans, colors of the desert. You can feel the stress drain out of your face as you come into the new Enfleurage. It’s where we all want to be, all the time. It’s intimate and cozy, yet clean and spare. Very happy.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
That's a palm wood floor, folks. Coconut palm, Wallah. See how it glows? Love love love that.
No furniture yet, we will be on boxes for this, our soft opening.
Grand Opening coming up Jan 2. Sign up for the newsletter or check our facebook page for updates.
This new store is so homey and cozy we should probably offer robes and slippers, a seat by the fire, and a chilled martini or a cup of cocoa to all who wander in.
Did I mention our next door neighbor specializes in Rare Wines?
Could there be a better match? In heaven? Lilac chocolates is around the corner too....
And not only that! Coming soon! The finest, most succulent, all rounded and roasted robustness, new and old, already aged, super rare new Laotian Oudh.
That's right. Even though we continue to slowly sell our down our Super Lao, we have a new batch, one that's been sitting, awaiting, aging and maturing in Vientaine, and now, finally makes the journey to us.
It's 2 or 3 years aged, and one of the last batches from wild trees. Distilled on-site in Northern Laos, from the distiller to me here in Oman and carried by me, very soon, to New York. I'll be bringing some of our new batch of frankincense oil, hand distilled by me in Salalah, to help ring in some holiday cheer too.
Enfleurage Middle East has a new home! We found the perfect location, and slowly slowly it's coming along. Probably would be faster if I wasn't split between New York and Oman, but that's the way it is, I can't help it! Say hello this spring! And start thinking about that future trip to the sweetest place on Earth, The Sultanate of Oman. We're here.
Posted by Trygve Harris at 11:14 AM