As you might already know, we have our own, independent distillery for frankincense, distilling our own Boswellia sacra in Muscat, Oman, since 2017. Before that, we were in Salalah, and I formed our company there in 2011. Dhofar, the Governate that Salalah is the capital of, is the nerve center of Omani frankincense.
Frankincense trees love Dhofar, and voluntarily grow and thrive there. While they are possible to grow in the north, and even other countries, these trees will not flourish in the same way as they do in their home, meaning they will not give the same resin.
The Omani Government has long protected the frankincense trees, wisely forbidding the export of large amounts of resin for distillation overseas. This was an excellent way of controlling the trade, as we can see what havoc these huge companies are doing in Somaliland and other less-protected frankincense habitats. Oman’s take was, basically, you can distill it, fine, just do it here in country, so Oman benefits.
Reasonable rule, if you ask me.
To set up a distillery there was the logical choice for us. And easier said than done.
But we have managed it, against so many obstacles. I believe we are the oldest distillery in the Sultanate, and although our production has bobbed with the ebbs and flows, we have been in continual operation since we began in 2008. The distillery was legally established in 2011, but I was there with my copper alembic making enough essential oil for the store since November 2008. That’s 14 years of fragrant frankincense production. The only gap was when I came back to New York for cancer treatment in 2016.
When I returned to Oman, in 2017, we shifted our production to Muscat, and doubled it, to 10 alembics. We have our own system, built in-house, and absolutely nothing high tech. We are gravity based.
Also, being in the capital was more logical. We found an excellent and reliable supplier, from Salalah, and I have an excellent and reliable assistant. We can make any repairs needed by easily isolating the still, and visiting our local welder who works under a tree a few kilometres away. We also, for the first time, finally arranged good and reliable DG shipping via the airlines.
Each of these things were monumental and slowly fell into place once we were established in Muscat, even as our quality improved and we became more professional in production.
We found good laboratories for analysis, and have all the necessary paperwork to ship to countries with stringent regulations. We supply small companies throughout the world: Japan, China, France, Germany, and many other EU countries, Canada, Australia, UK, Indonesia, Kuwait, UAE, Lebanon, etc…..and of course here in the US. We are so proud that our Enfleurage frankincense oil is an important ingredient in luxury skin care and perfumery around the world.
I say all this because sometimes it’s important to take a step back and have a look at where you are, and where you’ve been in order to see where you’re going.
We are deep into the early summer resins right now, and have just completed our co-distillations with myrrh.
Soon we will take our annual break, as the summer weather in Oman kicks our butts.
The only one who is truly content in the heat is the Professor, our distillery cat. He’s Omani to the core and you can find him happily sleeping on the floor amid the gurgle and bubble of the stills, exhausted by his play time and completely unconcerned by the heat or the humidity.
Omani frankincense is the only botanical we distill with the exception of our tiny production of Somali myrrh, which we only distill with the frankincense, not alone. We are frankincense specialists, since 2008, in Oman.
We ship out of both Muscat and New York, and we also have kilos available for pick up in the store in New York—just let us know!
Enfleurage Middle East is completely owned and operated by us. Production is overseen by me personally, and my assistant. We are not part of any larger company, and we are responsible for every aspect of our production. We have no MLM or corporate entity breathing down our necks—we are beholden to no one except our own standards. We have no ties to any local government or affiliated organizations, and we are not under the protection of anyone, at all, anywhere. We are 100% self-owned and self-operated, and have no ties whatsoever to any other entity. I think this sets us apart significantly, as it’s quite unusual, especially as I am a foreign female. We have never been under the protection of any Americans or any local families or tribes, never. This is why we can speak so confidently and proudly about our frankincense oil, because we know it intimately, in every way, from every angle.