Beauty

L'Officiel Nose: Stephen Tracy of Keap

The former Google employee is working to take the world on a sustainable olfactory journey through high-quality fragrances like Isle of Jasmine.
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Stephen Tracy isn't your average fragrance entrepreneur. Rather than coming from years of training to be a nose, he first built a career in marketing and advertising, most notably through his nearly five years at Google. In 2015, though, Tracy and co-founder Harry Doull left their positions at the tech giant in order to make candles. Both loved the way a candle could create a relaxing environment amidst the New York bustle, but they hadn't found an option that was simultaneously good-smelling, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally friendly, so Keap was born. The two have worked closely to start this company with the authenticity they intended, taking perfumery classes, touring factories, and conducting extensive research to conceptualize a new candle. The Brooklyn-based line now features eleven artful scents, ranging from the bright, juicy Grapefruit and Yuzu to the mysterious Wood Cabin. True to Tracy and Doull’s sustainability mission, all candles use natural coconut wax, a reusable candleholder, biodegradable packaging, and an ethical production process, helping the evocative scents to smell just that much more sweet.

Isle of Jasmine is Keap’s latest creation, and is one of three candles exclusive to the brand’s subscription service. Available only for July as a seasonal release, the candle celebrates its titular flower and its reputation as Hawaiian Princess Ka’iulani’s favorite. Using complementary notes like musk, oolong, and banana, Isle of Jasmine pays tribute to the spicy sweet scent and brings a lush rainforest to any location. The scent is calming yet vibrant just like a summer afternoon, and Tracy brought its allure one step further by telling L’Officiel USA about his creation’s signature blend of imagined colors, its idyllic soundtrack, and why Jason Momoa aligns with it so perfectly.

If Isle of Jasmine had its own movie, which actor would play the starring role?

Someone refined and gentle on the surface, but with an undeniable depth, strength, and power. Jason Momoa wearing a flower crown.

 

What color(s) does your fragrance smell like?

A pure white swirled with hazy aqua and earthen browns.

 

Which city/place in the world does your fragrance encapsulate best?

The lush landscape of Hawaii. Vertiginous volcanic rock formations giving way to luxuriant green leaves and grasses, dotted with white flowers. A verdant, natural beauty so rich you have to close your eyes to take it in.

 

If you had to place your fragrance in an iconic decade past, which one would it be?

That's a tough one. Way back to 1800, when much of the "New World" was being discovered and recorded for the first time by brilliant naturalists like Alexander von Humboldt. So many new civilizations, plants, and species were being documented, as well as humanity's relationship to it all. It was a phase of history when we were mesmerized by the magnitude and spectacular beauty of this planet.

 

What item from your wardrobe would you compare your scent to? 

A dressy white shirt, with unexpected black leather cuffs.

 

What genre of music do you think your fragrance most aligns with and why?

Classical/soundtrack. Underlying mastery of the form, and a timeless ability to stir the human soul.

 

If your fragrance had a night out on the town, what drink would it order at the bar?

Something strong, grounded, and dark with a sparkling quality. So a double scotch and soda!

 

If you were to relate your new scent to a book, what would it be? Why?

A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman. Combining science and deep expertise with poetry and sensuality.

 

If your new fragrance had a soundtrack, what three sounds would play once you spray the scent?

Crashing waves, leaves blowing against one another in the wind, then silence.

 

If it wasn’t called Isle of Jasmine, what would it be called?

We also had a working name, "Volcanic Jasmine." As we thought of our island idyll, we wanted to capture the greenery and floralcy, as well as the tectonic events that brought the islands to life. The scent combines elements you might not expect to coexist but actually enable each other in unexpected ways.

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