Not too long ago, while in New York City, I found myself at Enfleurage on Bleecker Street in the West Village. Enfleurage has an excellent reputation for handcrafted essential oils made from herbs, flowers, and resins. After chatting with the store’s owner, Trygve Harris, I ended up sampling the store’s frankincense on my wrist. (You might recall that frankincense, a tree resin used for perfumes and incense, is what one of the three wise men gave Jesus as a welcome gift.)
Lively and fresh, the sample differed from the usual oil, which tends toward the heavy and musty. I then found out that Harris water distills (“not steam,” she said pointedly) the frankincense in Oman, where she lives most of the year and where she sources and produces her oils. We talked a bit about cultural differences. “Oman is a very conservative country,” she said. “But they are still a sensual people. Everyone wears perfume—mostly oud” (also known as agarwood resin).
She then disappeared into the back and reappeared with a small cup and a spoon. “Here,” she said. “Try this.” I looked down. It was ice cream. I scraped a bit off the top and tasted it.
Wow. This had just become one of the best days of my life.
“Whaahizthisss?” I shrieked. It was a beautifully made ice cream flavored with something strange, spicy, and perfect.
“It’s frankincense ice cream.”