Introducing Craig Andrade the creative talent behind The Raconteur.
Craig makes the most exquisite candles and fragrances from Australian native botanicals. His obsession to create a full sensory experience through his beautiful products is unique and inspiring. Here are some of his insights around scent, botanicals and candle making that we would love to share with you.
He has paired three of his favourite candles with pieces from our Winter collection, curating an intimate edit that connects the senses. Enjoy.
Q. Why are native botanicals important to your work?
This is a very big question about the distinction between synthetic fragrances versus natural ones, as well as why I am obsessed with the beauty of “Team Australia.”
When I studied at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery and later specialised in natural perfumery under Mandy Aftel (the world’s leading natural perfumer,) the constant feedback I received was that the world did not know about the rich diversity and beauty of Australia’s native botanicals. Australia is very much a “frontier” country when it comes to its native botanicals, with new species still being discovered or used in contemporary perfumery for the first time. I find this incredibly exciting and love the fact that even at this early stage of my 3 year journey I have already identified some native botanical species that we are testing in a university lab for the extraction and molecular structure of their fragrant oil.
To me, working with the beauty of naturals is about experiencing the evolution of our plant kingdom at its finest.
Q. Tell us something we don’t know about Australian botanicals, what are your favourites?
There are over 18,000 plant species that are native to Australia. And while not all of them have a scent that can be extracted for perfumery, many are in fact quite familiar, such as our eucalypts, ironbark’s, various myrtles, boronia, sandalwood, and of course good old 1980’s tea-tree. But there are plenty that are unknown.
A rare native botanical I was fortunate to work with last year while on assignment along the rugged Kimberley coastline was the rare Kimberley Heath. It’s wild harvested and has a wonderful uplifting scent of lemon/lime, fresh white floral, and warm woody facet of refined pine resin and cool eucalyptus. I’m obsessed with it at the moment.
Q. Why is a sensory experience so powerful?
Our visual senses tend to dominate how we generally perceive the world. And thereafter once we listen, taste and touch our ability to feel more connected to what’s around us, I think, gives us a greater sense of ease. A better “life in balance” if you will.
When you add the layer of scent, those molecules are processed and identified through our olfactory system in our brain, which in turn connects to our limbic system. The limbic system controls many important functions including our emotions, stress, memories and arousal. So, in this way, scent molecules can act as a powerful trigger for beautiful memories. A life in better balance with a central nervous system that is calm and relaxed. I think that’s why scent is so important - and why it’s so satisfying when layered with purpose.
Q. Your home is beautiful and so calm, what’s your favourite thing to do?
Strolling around the garden at dusk in Winter wrapped in a warm cashmere sweater while sipping a generous G&T, before taking a seat under our 150 year old Port Jackson fig tree, listening to the evening kookaburras before a thin grey plume of smoke from our first log fire fills the air.