The colour white is achromatic – it has no hue. But white is not the absence of colour, it is the abundance of it. White is what the eye sees when the three primary colours are viewed simultaneously. So despite our connotations of purity, of perfect white snow and blankness, the colour white is actually representative of something multifaceted, chaotic and brilliant. For Map of the Heart, the subversive Australian niche brand, the colour white represents love.
White Heart v.7 is Map of the Heart’s latest fragrance. It follow’s last year’s Pink Heart v.6 and is billed as ‘The Heart of Love’. It’s actually a very tricky perfume to define one that seems to enjoy jumping across many fragrance families and presenting florals, woods, spices, and aldehydes in a jumbled composition that holds interest due to its contrasting and confusing nature. I bet that description has caught your interest…
Top: French Lavender, Aldehydes and Indian Cardamom
Heart: Umeboshi Accord, Somalian Frankincense, Spanish Cistus and Gardenia
Base: Oud, Cypriol, Haitian Vetiver, Copaiba Balsam and Australian Sandalwood
How Does it Smell?
Until I spritzed White Heart for the very first time, I had never smelled a fizzy cardamom note, but that’s exactly what greeted me as I pressed the sprayer and aimed it tentatively at my skin. The blend of aldehydes, with their soft, bubbly sheen, and cardamom, with its sweaty, aquatic warmth, is exotic but also distinctly French in style. It demonstrates a clash – a contradiction to the purity of white, where the effervescence of black pepper brings these two disparate elements together, creating a tea-like effect that is unfamiliar yet comforting. It’s a joyous collision.
White Heart takes another left turn in the heart with a twist of lavender. Here, it is the sweetness of lavender that reigns supreme however, instead of evoking sugared blooms, the gourmand facet of lavender (ie. the caramel, toasted sugar nuance) is paired cleverly with liquorice to bring in a bitter anise vibe that somehow emphasises the bold nature of White Heart’s opening spice accord.
The base is all warmth. Soft, gauzy warmth. I perceive it predominately as a sandalwood-vetiver blend seen through the smoky haze of oud. Because of the dominant cardamom note that carries all of the way through White Heart, the base has a distinct kulfi-like feel, brining to mind the idea of exotic deserts with the smoothest of textures. This makes for a surprisingly calm dry down to what is otherwise, a somewhat chaotic fragrance.
I genuinely don’t know how I feel about White Heart. There is something compelling about it but also something unnerving too. It’s a perfume that captures my interest and keeps me wondering whether it is something that I’d enjoy wearing or not. I’m still unsure and therein lies its interest – this is a perfume that does interesting things with familiar notes, presenting an olfactory signature that is entirely unexpected. Remember, there is more to the colour white than meets the eye.
White Heart v.7 is exclusive to Harrods’ Salon de Parfums and is available in 90ml Eau de Parfum for £150.
Sample, notes and quotes via Map of the Heart. Images are my own.