“We live near a national park and every year they burn it. Jeff photographed the bush in the afternoon when there were no flames left, and there was this white ash on the floor. There were shards of sunlight coming through the smoke. We sent that photograph to the perfumer.”

This is Sarah Blair, talking about the process of creating the fragrance Black Heart v.2 for her perfume house, Map of the Heart. She launched it with co-founder and filmmaker Jeffrey Darling in 2014, and now the Australian-based duo is bringing its unconventional scents to the antipodean market, with a concept store in Darlinghurst.

The flagship will open next week and will exclusively launch Pink Heart v.6, the sixth in a series of fragrances, which all come in Map of the Heart’s heart-shaped bottles.

It became available in Italy in 2015 and now the unisex perfume is stocked in more than 80 stores worldwide. Each fragrance is bottled in France in concert with the fine fragrance manufacturer Givaudan and master perfumer Jacques Huclier.

Pink Heart v.6 was inspired by the mythical lotus eaters from Homer’s The Odyssey. “We always start with a story,” says Blair.

Layered with top notes of shiso leaf and neroli oil, and a base of sumac, tobacco and Australian sandalwood from Western Australia, the fragrance is hypnotic and intense. “[It’s] a reimagining of a floral fragrance,” says Blair. The sandalwood component (known as the “fils rouge”) runs through each fragrance in the collection. “It translates to ‘the bloodline’,” she says.

This theme also applies to the bottle – an anatomical heart designed to fit into a cupped hand. Pierre Dinand (also behind YSL’s iconic Opium perfume bottle and Dior’s Au Savage) is behind its unique shape. He wanted to create the kind of “ugly beauty” that is having a moment in fashion right now. And it’s been attracting fans in Europe for several years. “There are many cultures where the concept of holding the heart in the hand resonates. Many people buy it as a gift for a lover, a girlfriend, a husband.”

The flagship invites people into a “kaleidoscopic world”, where they can experience the fragrance conceptually. The space was modelled off the campaign film that Darling produced to accompany the collection.

“We’re a disruptive brand – we’re part of the niche world of fragrance.”

The store opens on August 1.

Map of the Heart concept store
222 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst

Hours:
11am–6pm Tue to Fri

mapoftheheart.com