Inclined to write that we have a new interesting ﬁne fragrance player on the scene, it wouldn’t be true, for Map of the Heart was founded in 2014 and launched that year in Florence, Italy.
Describing their company as “conceived in Australia – made in France” the founders Sarah Blair and Jeﬀrey Darling believed that if they were successful with their fragrance in Italy then the rest of the word would follow. And that’s proving true. Map of the Heart fragrances – there are now six – are available across Europe, are about to enter the US and the Middle East is next. “Strategic and slow, carefully choosing the retailers we work with,” says Sarah. A niche, boutique fragrance company, the founders are from the arts world. They collaborated with the best – Sarah Googled around to ﬁnd them, rather than word of mouth and she found Givaudan to create the fragrance, Jacques Huclier, master perfumer created the ﬁrst three fragrances and remains close to the brand, and Pierre Dinand designed the bottles which remains the same for each fragrance, with a change in livery to match the name. Everything the company produces is a work of art from the shop at 22 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney to the Look Book and the fragrances themselves.
The inspiration for Map of the Heart is Sarah’s belief that everything comes from the heart. “It is everything pure, good and evil. It aches, it desires, it is who we are. In mapping the heart we are both explorers and tourists, at the frontiers and the centre, navigating the unknown and the all too familiar. We can tread paths both travelled and not. If it touches us, makes us ache, challenges and explores what it is to live, then it is for Map of the Heart”.
The Look Book tells us: “Sarah drinks words for breakfast. She likes to make stuﬀ . Loves the plain and the luxurious jammed together. Smell shorthands everything: a memory, a place, a feeling. Jeﬀ rey thinks in images. He thinks a good image asks more questions than it answers”. Sarah and Jeﬀrey have had a long creative relationship in writing, design and ﬁlm. Map of the Heart was borne out of a creative need to further explore the full atlas of the senses. It draws on their passion for story and understanding that scent is as transporting and intoxicating as words, images and ﬁlm.
Jacques Huclier is a master perfumer who thinks in scents. His scents soar and sing. Each Heart has its own distinctive olfactory poetics. As a nod to the brand’s Australian heritage he wove a ﬁl rouge of Australian sandalwood into each of the hearts – its DNA. Pierre Dinand is perfume bottle design royalty. His design challenges the comfort of fragrance bottle design with its signature of an anatomical heart in all its ugly beauty that ﬁts perfectly in the hand. “From the 700 perfume lines I have designed over 50 years this bottle was one of the most technically diﬃ cult. This project asked as much of me as YSL Opium or Eternity by Calvin Klein. I’m very proud.” The six hearts are: Clear Heart v.1, Black Heart v.2, Red Heart v.3, Gold Heart v.4, Purple Heart v.5, Pink Heart v.6.
Understanding we are talking serious perfumery here, Sarah tells us, as an afterthought: “We were selected for the Olfactorama – Prix de l’Emotion 2017 award.” Taking place in Paris, it is an annual, blind testing evaluation of the highest perfume creations, “and whilst we didn’t win, we were in the ﬁ nal selection of ﬁ ve and excited to be in such good company amongst the 350 invited to be in the awards”.
The shop is open Tues-Friday 11am – 6pm, or by appointment.