A touch, a sound, a taste—these are the senses that mark the pages of a story. This is Jason Lee’s through the sense of smell.
30, Jason Lee wandered into something of an existential crisis. He was a Management Associate at Givaudan, an international fragrance manufacturer, he was in love, and he had everything going for him, yet he yearned for more.
Drawing from his experience in the scent business, Lee dipped his toes into creating his own fragrance. Inspired by past destinations, he concocted a pair of perfumes as gifts for his wedding guests. The response was favourable, and that spurred him to make the final leap of faith. He quit his job, but not before securing a partnership with Givaudan. Some might see this as a tether, that final link to his old life, but Lee considers the union beneficial, as the company “has the best cuttingedge technologies to ensure product quality”.
Lee christened his company SIX, after the sixth sense, that mysterious, intuitive companion to the other traditional five senses. “An emotional experience is transient,” Lee says. “Like immersive spaces, it evokes, it excites, and it evolves. Our sixth sense tells us things like no one else does.” For an emotional conduit, Lee picked destinations that appealed to him, trapping the essence of a moment in a bottle.
But if each fragrance pinpoints an instance in Lee’s story, why should it matter to others? As though anticipating this question, he replies, without missing a beat, “In the hope that when others experience the smell, they, too, will be able to come up with their own interpretation and fill in their own story.”
Meant for the wanderer, the individual who, like Lee years ago, finds himself skittish and restless, the “variants”, as he calls them, form the first trio in his collection of six (the scents that were given away as wedding gifts are part of the release). The travel-friendly twist and spray 20ml flacons look like matte black cylinders save for faint etchings on the side: 1724 PUKA, 27°f BIEI, and 123 TRIBECA.
1724 PUKA conjures up the white beaches of Boracay, Philippines. The zest of mint and orange peel bring to mind the sea spray on the beachfront as you watch the golden hour of sunset (specifically at 1724). 27°f BIEI is inspired by the town of the same name in Hokkaido’s Kamikawa district. The heart notes of lavender and jasmine evoke snowy, rolling hills of lavender as experienced with a warm cup of green tea in your hands. Lee’s personal favourite, 123 TRIBECA, captures his journey on the 123 subway to the upscale New York neighbourhood. The main accords of wood and citrus, followed by top notes of cardamom and fir, speak of a fast-paced life that shows no signs of slowing down.
With the addition of a newborn son to the family and the launch of SIX, how apt it is to think that 123 TRIBECA might have best represented Lee’s fate, if he weren’t fully committed to this project and left with no recourse but to barrel ahead. The future isn’t mapped out, but the destinations that Lee will travel through will end up like Djinns in a bottle, a magical force that, once unleashed, will transport you to strange places as far as your imagination allows.