The nose behind Sensory Escapes

Join us behind the scenes and meet master perfumer and long-time friend of ECOYA, Isaac Sinclair, who created our three new limited edition fragrances with us for
our Sensory Escapes Collection.

Being a master perfumer is a rare thing, it takes many years of extensive training to perfect the craft of becoming what is called a ‘nose’. Isaac Sinclair is New Zealand’s only recognised master perfumer and is one of the youngest working in the fragrance industry today. Being based in Paris, Isaac has worked with major international beauty houses, lending his nose to these brands and working with us for many years to help create our collection of core fragrances and now our Sensory Escapes Collection.

Sit down with Isaac to learn about the process behind creating these fragrances that bring to life the places we escape to in Australasia, how to fragrance different spaces in your home, the role of fragrance when you travel and what’s trending in the fragrance world at the moment.

It was a pleasure to work with you on our latest collection;
Sensory Escapes. What inspired the direction of the collection?

"The inspiration behind the Sensory Escapes Collection was places, and each fragrance was really a tribute to those places. So, there's the Bay of Islands (Yuzu & Sandalwood), there’s Noosa (Frangipani & Sea Salt) for example. With the Bay of Islands you have the sea escape, the cold wind. In Noosa, it's the warm wind, there's pelicans, it's tropical. Each fragrance was basically capturing those places and they were the inspiration behind it."

You have worked with ECOYA on a few projects, what is your creative process? How do you start to imagine what fragrances should appear in a collection?

“I think every creation is unique, and the inspiration can come from so many different places. I find for myself, the creative process is based on a destination. For example, for ECOYA, one of the creations I've done was based around Noosa (Frangipani & Sea Salt), where I spent quite a lot of summer holidays.

So starting from scratch with a blank sheet of paper, you start with remembering what were the smells, or not just the smells but the sensations of those holidays of Noosa in general, because each place obviously smells different. So I would start on a blank piece of paper imagining, conjuring up those images of Noosa and the smells there, summertime and the sea. I get that first sketch down, then you smell it, and you'll either think ‘it's spot on’ or actually, I need to tweak it a little bit because there's a little bit too much sand and not enough sea. But that's how you start to create the creative process, and that can be ongoing until you think you've got to where you want it to be.”

Talk to us about fragrancing different spaces in your home.

"When you're fragrancing your house, I think it's really nice to have different kinds of areas – there are different places which should smell different. You don't really want the entrance to smell like your bathroom, you don't want your bathroom to smell like your lounge. I go for the cosier fragrances, the warmer fragrances for the lounge and the entrance. I like it when you have a fragrance which is a bit different and unexpected.

So someone may open the door, come into your house and there you go - it's the kind of first impression fragrance. It's the same with bathrooms, I think they should be a little bit on the cleaner side. The florals work well, and obviously everybody has their own personal preference and own taste, so you can mix it up and have fun. I like it when you move through a house, you go through different kind of zones and different olfactive experiences. This is subconscious, but it won't be subconscious for you because you've done it deliberately."

What’s trending in the fragrance world right now?

"At the moment in terms of trends in the fragrance world, I would say salty fragrances are becoming trendy – that could be salt through salted caramel, it could be pistachio, there’s definitely a savoury vibe going on (For salty, go to Frangipani & Sea Salt). There's also the return of the big white floral. In the 1980’s it was dominated by these big white fragrances, and they kind of went out of fashion and nobody wanted to know about them in the 90’s and the 00’s, so we’re seeing that come back with fragrances."

You are a seasoned traveler, being from New Zealand, living in Rio and now in Paris for a second time, what fragrances remind you of these destinations?

"So at this point I've lived in quite a few different countries. I grew up in New Zealand and I also lived in Italy, France, Germany, Brazil and France again now and each of these countries has its own cuisine, it's own culture and they're quite diverse.

One of the funniest things about the sense of smell is that it's very linked to memories. So each of these places has its own kind of memories associated with smell. For example in Brazil, there are the tropical fruits when you go to the market, so as soon as I smell those tropical fruits it takes me back there. There's certain smells that you associate with those places, and as soon as you smell them it's kind of like time travel. You're taken back to that time and to that place you were."

What is the role of fragrance to you when you travel?

“When I travel, especially when I do a big trip, I like to take a new perfume. The reason I'm doing that is because I know that perfumes are really, really connected to memory. So I'm kind of gaming the system by using a fragrance specifically just for one trip, and I know that that fragrance will always remind me of that place."
Discover the Sensory Escapes Collection, available in our Madison Candle, Mini Madison Candle and Fragranced Diffuser.