For a long time now, I have been searching for the perfect marine scent. It has to remind me of the sea, be invigorating and NOT smell like cucumber. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it? But apparently it is. Or was. Read on Macduff.
Before I go on, I’d like to ask if any of you remember a shampoo made by Boots Naturals called Sea Kelp? I used to adore that scent and used it until they stopped making it. I can’t even find an old photo on Pinterest. It was a beautifully scented shampoo that had marine notes and made my hair smell so good that I often wished they made a perfume of it.
Many times have I have sniffed something in a vageuly aquamarine coloured bottle and thought, “maybe this will smell like Sea Kelp shampoo?” and been disappointed. Cucumber and melon- yes. Sea notes? No.
However, I recently received a small glass phial ( vial or phial? you can use either, I checked) of a scent that is currently being called “Sea Goddess”. This may or may not be its final name: it’s still in development at the hand of Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays.
Sea Goddess opens with a burst of citrus. I could discern sharp lemon and bitter grapefruit: the kind that makes you do an involuntary wink when you eat it first thing in the morning. This wakes you up and prepares you for the swishy swish of sea notes that follow.
Sea notes are hard to define and are often subjective, but here’s my take on them here: with an invigorating tang and a hit of saltiness, Sea Goddess makes you wish you were next to the sea and makes you feel an urgent need to down tools and find some surf , like a Bisto kid following his nose.
It is rare to find a sea note perfume that is as on the button as this one . What gives it that unique 4160 Tuesdays touch is a dose of Britishness towards the end. There is an almost, but not quite, dirty tang of seaweed towards the bottom. Rather than put me off, this adds to its authenticity. This is how the seaside really smells.
We can romanticise the white crests of foam as the waves crash, and we can imagine ourselves getting a revitalizing burst of ozone into our poor urban lungs, but don’t forget what the beach really smells like. There’s salt and wet sand and sea weed. It’s all here, my friends. Because a real Sea Goddess will get sand on her fins and seaweed on her arms.
This is the ultimate sea note scent. No cucumber. No melon. This is the sea and the beach, captured in a glass vial like a snow globe.
This is nearly available from 4160 Tuesdays, but not quite yet. It may be given a different name, but I will let you know. Talk about a teaser! Sorry about that. My sample rollerball phial was from Sarah herself, for which, my deep gratitude. Opinions are my own.
Earlier this week, I asked you to send me your perfume problems. I then chewed the arm of my glasses and looked studious, whilst reading them, just like a proper Mumsy Agony Aunt.
I was so pleased to get so many questions, some of which I answer below. Incidentally, I also see questions on my WordPress dashboard which tell me what people type into Google in order to be led to my site.
There are two questions that I see every single day without fail. Yes, my friends, the two most popular questions are:
What’s the best Avon perfume?
What cheap perfume smells good?
Now you may have noticed that these two particular questions have entre blog posts devoted to answering them. Nobody can accuse me of not giving my readers what they want.
With that having been said, here are some other questions that I received this week.
I am very grateful to all who sent me a Dear Aunty Sam question. I wish I could tell you that there’s a T-shirt and a mug on the way to you, but I can’t. I think I may repeat this experience in future, so please do send any questions as they occur to you. I’ll be your olfactory DJ.
Dear Aunty Sam,
Like you, I miss Gucci Envy and only have a little bit left. What can I wear instead when this runs out?
A good question and one to which I still seek an answer myself. We’ve asked the Why Did it End? question but the wind took our words away and no answer was given. Meantime, here are some that I find have some of the Gucci Envy notes in common, namely green notes, lily of the valley and hyacinth.
I’ve fallen in love with Yardley’s Polaire. But as ever with Yardley 20 minutes in and unless I’ve gone nose blind I can smell nothing at all. Is there something out there that smells the same, but with actual longevity and a bit more sillage?
I haven’t smelled Yardley Polaire recently so I’m working blind here. However, I notice that the prominent notes are pear, freesia and rose. There are two scents that also contain these notes. One is Dior J’Adore and the other is Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue ( although more freesia than pear) However, if you want to stick with Polaire, there are a couple of things you can do to extend its life.
What I usually do is spray my hair. Hair carries scent very well- usually until bedtime! However, some people claim this dries hair out. Secondly, and I’m going to talk boobs here, spray it in your cleavage before you get dressed. As your body heats up throughout the day, you get nice little wafts under your nose. You can also make scent last longer by moisturising skin before applying it. Don’t forget a quick spray on your lapels or scarf.
There is another theory, however. Some people say that when a perfume really suits you, you stop being able to smell it. This is so subjective that I find it difficult to prove, but there may be some truth in it. Maybe Polaire just really suits you!
Dear Aunty Sam
I have begun to make some fragrances. I have at least three that are absolutely delightful, unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. I really feel there’s a market for these, especially in this size, being affordable for almost everyone.
How do I go about getting someone to be willing to sell my fragrances in their shop (either online or not) or work with me in promoting mine?
Firstly, congratulations on your perfumes. I do love an entrepreneurial spirit. Secondly, before you sell them commercially, do they meet the necessary compliance? There are many perfume ingredients that have been banned by IFRA in order to ensure that scents do not cause rashes or reactions. Forgive me if I’m preaching to the converted- you may well already know this. Thirdly, have you tried Etsy? There are many beautiful handmade scents there and it strikes me as a good starting point.
I would really recommend one of the Studio days run by Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. What she doesn’t know about making and selling perfume just isn’t worth knowing. You can find out more from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Oh, and in answer to your question about promoting your scent, my advice is, as you might imagine, harness the bloggers!
That’s all I’ve got room for this week. I hope you enjoyed my first brave fumble into the mailbag. Do you agree with my responses? Do you have any questions of your own? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
In 2015 I wrote a post entitled “How to Get Perfume Samples”. I felt it was necessary since these days, it’s easier to get unicorn droppings and hens’ teeth than perfume samples from Beauty Counters. My original article has proved very popular, but the Fragrant Firmament spins fast on its axis. My original article, written in 2015, needs updating for 2017.
A lot can happen in two years within the industry. Beloved favourites can be discontinued, new starts ups can arrive with a bang, and old lions can go out with a whimper.
Sample services serve two purposes: They avoid you making costly blind buys and they help you fall in love with stuff you might not have come across. Whilst I love to seek out samples of stuff I’ve heard of and never tried, I also love it when the choice is made for me. It takes me out of my comfort zone. This is one of the reasons why I am such a fan of discovery boxes, and the Perfume Society in particular. Their boxes are loosely themed and have really changed my mind about no end of scents I wouldn’t have otherwise sought out.
The other advantage is one I mentioned pre-Christmas, but which applies at any time of the year. When buying for others, why not offer them a choice? A mixture of samples and gift voucher is my idea of the perfect gift (It’s my birthday next month. I wonder if my husband is reading this?).
Here’s a roundup of sample services that are currently out there just waiting for us to knock on their door. This is a UK Guide by the way, so if I miss your favourite out, it’s just geography, not favouritism.
The Perfume Society.
Yes I’m a fan. No, they don’t pay me to say so and yes I have almost every one of the Discovery Boxes. In fact, I’m just waiting for the Heaven Scent one, due any day! You can buy them here. They usually contain around nine excellent, often hard-to-get samples and maybe a treat or two as well. They are my Number One favourite treat.
A new entry at Number Two. I’m very impressed with the diversity here and find the prices reasonable. I’m rolling my sleeves up and writing a long list. Here’s a link to their website.
There are two branches of this divine boutique perfumery in London, but the good news is that you don’t have to live in London to benefit from their sample service. The bad news is that its very, very hard to choose. Here’s the link.
Nobody can accuse Sarah McCartney of not being inclusive. 4160 Tuesdays means reasonably priced high quality artisan scents that cover every genre except “boring”. The 4160 Tuesdays website even has themed suggestions of sample sets in case you don’t know where to begin. My favourite is “Frocks and Hats.”
The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club.
Every quarter since 2013 I have received a box of samples from The Fragrance Shop. These usually include new releases and new flankers, but often they pop a classic or a well-beloved favourite in. The boxes usually include between 6 to 9 samples and a booklet of money off vouchers if you find one you want in full bottle size. Boxes are just £5 a quarter, and they make great gifts too. You can join in the fun here.
Papillon Perfumery is the creation of Nose Liz Moores, perfumer extraordinaire (I’ve met her- she is small and beautiful) There are four scents in the Papillon range and you can sample of all four from here. There isn’t a single one I wouldn’t recommend, and a fifth scent is on its way later this year.
Another one I’ve not come across before, but I’m very impressed with their range and might be making an order soon. The huge range varies from Tom Ford, Chanel Exclusifs, Tauer and Roja to name but a few. I’ll let you know what I think if I can ever make my mind up! You can check the site out for yourselves here.
Pell Wall Perfumes
In the beautiful county of Shropshire, Chris Bartlett creates exquisite scents under the name of Pell Wall Perfumes. Sample sets and mini bottles are available at reasonable prices and you may well find a lifelong favourite among this imaginative range. I particularly like Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Check out the website here.
eBay has a vast range of samples from various sellers. I have never been let down or sold fakes on eBay- they are very strict about that. I have had some great bargains this way and even if you end up not liking the samples you order, they make great swapping currency.
Find Your Tribe
Join a group of like-minded fume heads: Sites such as Fragrantica and Base Notes have led to many firm friendships, as well as samples swapping. Alternatively, join a Facebook group such as Fragcom or Perfumeland For Fluffheads.
Have I missed any out? Have you had great sample service in the UK? Or have you discovered a favourite through random sample sniffage? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
2016 was a terrible year in many ways. It made my heart feel heavy. There was a marked increase in hate and prejudice, a colossal amount of celebrity deaths and the world in general seemed a darker place. Like many, I feel a need to accentuate the positive. I have been counting my blessings and feeling determined to put kindness back out into the world. Prozac and affirmations help too.
One of the things I am particularly thankful for is the fact that I have made several dear friends via my blog. I truly treasure them. It has always lifted my spirits to read your comments and share your scent stories.
The kindness and generosity of perfume loving people ( fumeheads? Perfumistas?) is legend. They would give you the shirt off their backs and their last drop of anything you “quite fancy trying.” Back in October, I was lucky enough to meet a gang o’perfumistas and ended the day feeling like I had taken part in a giant cuddle. Thanks to Pia Long and Nick Gilbert, we gathered in London and talked and sniffed all the day long, ending with a bellyful of cake and tea. Sheer bliss. People like that make me hopeful. Kindness is rife, rampant and contagious. Long may it ravage us all! Many tiny snowflakes make an avalanche.
Looking back, 2016 was an interesting year scent wise. I got to know several new brands and perfume houses. Perfume trends in general, are, I think, changing. Celebrity sales are down and niche sales are up. The tide is turning and I like it.
What I Am Most Looking forward to in 2017 Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery has promised a new release sometime in 2017. Rumoured to be a chypre (claps hands and whoops) I am already in the line with a Thermos of tea and sleeping in Liz’s teepee so I can be first in the queue. Despite having made only four perfumes so far, Liz’s fragrances already have the permanence of classics. There are no weak links. Quality is outstanding. By the way, for some reason I always wear Papillon Angelique to christenings. It seems to “go”. New life, optimism, pearls…
In other news the Ruth Mastenbroek promises us a fourth scent in her range. I know little about it so far as it is still in development stage, but rest assured, it will be reviewed right here..
I also plan to head London-wards to drop in on the 4160 Tuesdays studio. I haven’t been since 2014 and I want to see if my new smaller bottom will fit in the swing. I’m hoping Sarah McCartney will let me sniff a few single notes that I sometimes get stuck on, and sell me a load of scent swag. (I’m taking a very large bag).
I am keen to see what Avon comes up with this year. They made two of my most frequently worn scents this year and neither cvost me more than £7. Rare Platinum is a tuberose lover’s dream and Perceive Oasis is peonies and roses on a summer day. I’m also excited to see what else Beaufort London has in store after the show stopping Fathom V. More to come from this audacious house and their wonderfully named “Hell or High Water” range.
And one last thing.. oh yes,. Watchthis space as I put my very shy self into YouTube territory. I’m scared just writing that, but one has to move with the times. Scary!
Check me out! I’ve been experimenting with editing sites. The world is my lobster. Watch this space for disastrous pixellated pics and clumsy graphics until I get the hang of stuff. I’ll soon be running with the pack.
Well, dear readers, it’s time for me to sum up a busy fragranced year and award plaudits to my favourites from 2016. These are purely based on my opinion, which is therefore The Law.
Not all of these are actually 2016 launches: some have just impressed me so much after four years of blogging that I have declared that they deserve accolades. Now, we’d’d best get on before all this power goes to my head and I start doing villain’s laughter.
The IScent Award for Best Longevity
This has to be a three way tie between
4160 Tuesdays Midnight in the Palace Garden
Andy Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange
Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose
I sprayed 4160 Tuesdays Midnight in The Palace Garden into thin air yesterday and 24 hours later it is still there. This is despite eating a roast dinner in the same room and trying on various perfumes throughout the day. It smells like I have been burning very expensive incense among church pews and I love it.
I sprayed two sprays of Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange on my neck three days ago. Since then I have had three showers and changed my bedding. This morning when I woke up, I could still smell lily of the valley. This is a bottle I purchased in May 2015 and it has barely gone down. I think a genie keeps refilling it.
Made by the delightful Liz Moores in her compound in the New Forest, Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose lasted over fifteen hours on me. Rich, woody roses that just stay put. I could bask in it. Two sprays and you’re wrapped in spiced, woody roses until bedtime.
So all three of these niche brands get the Iscent 2016 Award for Longevity. Isn’t it interesting how they are all niche and not mainstream? Just sayin’
Best Summer Perfume – Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic
Gin &Tonic by Art de Parfum stopped me in my tracks with its new take on Gin &Tonic. So much more than just refreshing juniper, I wore this until my sample ran out and had compliments every time. A full bottle is in my sights in 2017. Check out my reviews on the rest of the range here.
Most Original Launch –REEK perfume Damn Rebel Bitches
This has to go to Reek Perfume for Damn Rebel Bitches. It’s a scent that smacks of rebellion. Rustic touches speak of the heritage of the strong women it pays tribute to. With notes of malt, blood orange and herbs, you won’t be surprised to learn that Sarah McCartney was the nose behind the scent Her fingerprints are all over it! (NB That is not her hand in the illustration).
Best Celebrity Launch-Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP
This one was easy. It goes to Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP. Breaking the mould of the usual celeb fare, SJP goes down the niche-style route of a churchy sandalwood incense unisex scent with not a hint of fruity floral fruitichouli in sight. It’s superb quality and I hope it will set the tone for other innovative celeb launches.
Best Flanker-Chanel No 5 L’Eau
It’s got to be Chanel no 5 L’Eau. Not a diluted version of the original, but a twiddling of the tuning knobs to bring out the lighter and muffle the darker. It’s divine and light and deserves classic status already.Oh, and lightness doesn’t mean a lack of longevity either: this really sticks around. Full marks to the beautifully simple marketing campaign showcasing the lovely Lily-Rose Depp.
Another three-way tie. I simply couldn’t choose! Here are the turkeys, the raspberries, the No-Nos. I don’t want to be mean but I’m going to be anyway. Dior Poison Girl,Estee Lauder Modern Muse Nuit and YSL Mon Paris left me wishing I’d never even taken the lid off. The prices are steep for what they are and the money seems to be going on the marketing rather than the ingredients (what’s new?) Least said soonest mended. Moving on!
Best Winter Fragrance- Le Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacre
This one has to go to Le Jardin Retrouvé. When I smelled Sandalwood Sacre for the first time, it was like cupid had shot me with an arrow. I simply had to own a bottle and now I do. You can read my review here. Don’t just keep it for winter though. I’m not.
Best Gourmand: Library of Fragrance Chai Tea and Library of Fragrance Tomato
Trust Library of Fragrance to come up with the goods once again. This was a tie between Chai Tea and Tomato. I am sure they won’t mind sharing the award with um…themselves.
Chai Tea combines lightness and spice to bring a new angle on the word “cosy.” if you don’t like your gourmands too sweet ( like me) then Chai Tea will win you over. Meanwhile, back in our very short summer of 2016, (it was a Tuesday afternoon as I recall) Library of Fragrance Tomato took me back to my grandfather’s greenhouse in the 70s faster than a Tardis. As fresh as a new bud and with accents of verbena, Tomato became one of my very favourite warm weather scents.
Best Chypre: DSH Mata Hari
Over the ocean in Boulder Colorado, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz brews and macerates her beautiful perfumes with skill and passion. I was floored by DSH Mata Hari Extrait and in a blind test I would have thought it a priceless original 1920s vintage. It made me want to wear long gloves and arch one eyebrow at people. Glorious! You can read my DSH reviews here.
Best New Scent 2016: Beaufort London Fathom V
Beaufort London Fathom V turned an unassuming day into a vivid montage of sea faring adventure. It transported me to the slimy flanks of a London ship and the distant calls of pirates in one sniff. This stuff is like letting a genie out of a bottle. It’s green times a thousand, with sea notes that you can almost hear. It’s the best sea scent ever, and I can’t see that anything will make me change my mind about that. You can read my love letter to Fathom V here.
Best Natural Fragrance 2016: Mandy Aftel – Aftelier Amber Tapestry
Using only natural ingredients ( and that takes some doing!) Mandy’s instinctive connection to nature transports you to another place, via taste and even flavour. Amber Tapestry unfurls, layer by layer, enveloping the wearer in the kind of warmth that has a uniquely human touch. You can read my review here.
The IScent Fellowship Award: The Perfume Society
I’ve invented a Fellowship Award because The Perfume Society defies other categopries. Not only do they provide white boxes of treasure that even the most jaded perfume palate would salivate at, but they’re a sort of Mothership that we can all turn to when we get a bit lost in the murky depths of fruity-florals-chypres-colognes-my-nose-is-confused-help! Ever had a day like that? I have. The Perfume Society Scented Letter magazine also makes me settle down with a contented sigh and think “I’ve found my tribe” as I read what other perfume obsessives are up to. Fumeheads, you are not alone.
I was recently sent a sample of a new fragrance from REEK. This scent goes to number one on my favourite ever perfume names list, knocking I Fancy You and Fat Electrician off the top spot.
Damn Rebel Bitches was cooked up over a cauldron stirred by Sarah McCartney, who you will know from 4160 Tuesdays. You just know that when Sarah rolls her sleeves up, this will be no ordinary smell-alike mass market popsicle. NB The cauldron isn’t literal- her studio is more test tubes and maceration, but you get the picture.
Opening in dramatic fashion with blood orange that sticks around and doesn’t quit, Damn Rebel Bitches falls somewhere between a cologne and a gourmand. I’m not a fan of gourmands, but when they are sober and unsweetened, like this one, I am all nostrils. The orange is joined by clary sage, malt and pink peppercorn. Pink peppercorn is a berry not a spice and has been used in seemingly endless measure lately with the trend for pink fruity florals. Have no fear, pepper dodgers, here it is muted and adds just enough of a fruity pinch to keep the orange on track.
There is a thread of molasses running through here like a mining seam, which I figured must be the malt and hazelnut. Now, I know I said this gourmand was unsweetened, but sometimes molasses and very dark brown sugar can start to smell like something else when you sniff them up close. It’s almost as if they smell like dark, dried fruit or fudgey nuts. Such is the case here and the combination of sharp orange and nutty malt made me think of the chewy cherry and fruit topping on a Dundee Cake (I could eat a whole one if left unsupervised). The herby note comes from the clary sage- a beautifully green note that I love, but doesn’t always work for me in fragrance. Here though, it works beautifully and that herby touch adds a stretch of countryside into the pot.
There is a middle phase to Damn Rebel Bitches that smells like red Skittles, but it faded as soon as I named it. It’s as if the playful pink peppercorn starts a fight and loses. The final act is an orangey, herby accord that smells like a posh liqueur. Think Cointreau, but with flashes of greenery and dark wood.
I love how the notes evoke a wildness. There is a feeling that the ingredients were gathered many years ago: hazelnuts, malt, clary sage- all could be found by the wild haired Damn Rebel Bitches whose courage went largely unnoticed because, well, because they were women. These brave women deserve to be remembered and I salute REEK for doing so.
You can buy Damn Rebel Bitches from the REEK website or from the shop in Edinburgh. My sample was kindly sent to me by REEK, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.
Cafleurebon writes a wonderful blog post about Damn Rebel Bitches and you can find out more about the eponymous heroines of this fragrance here.
Supra-naturals: The ones we make with the posh naturals combined with most excellent synthetic molecules to make scents of great beauty.- Sarah McCartney
Perfumer Sarah McCartney (I’m going to add the word inexhaustible) has an encyclopaedic knowledge of perfume regulations. If you don’t believe me, put her on Mastermind. This knowledge, which by necessity would resemble several complex mazes in someone’s head, led her to concoct a “Supra-Natural” scent.
Why are Mother’s Nature’s Daughters Naughty? Well they’re more rule-bendingly naughty than wicked, but they have a twinkle in their eye.
Many of the off grid, twigs-in-your-hair style fragrance notes involved in Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters are prohibited or severely regulated in their natural and absolute form by both IFRA and the EU . There’s also the complication that these truly natural ingredients have a lot of variables when they land on skin. Sarah has therefore, rather resourcefully, used natural ingredients to create a synthetic sure-fire replication of these notes without actually breaking any rules. Still with me? Trust me, she knows what she’s doing.
So having gone through all that, whilst exploring the delightful sounding broom absolute for the first time along the way, what does Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters smell like? This is a rosy chypre (complete with textbook woody, mossy base), but at the same time, it’s a playful fruity floral that also happens to be a gourmand. In other words, this will please fans of all three genres.
What I have here is an opening that reminded me briefly of calvados: orchard fruits and booze. The fruit is framed with praline which gave me an instant hit of those divine liquid centred boozy liqueurs you get at Christmas (which I could eat endlessly, with my eyes closed going “MMM”). Blackcurrants come out, which can smell like cat pee, but here they are rich and bitter in a good red wine-y sort of way. There is a syrupy note that bridges the top phase to the middle, although nothing is as prescriptive as that here. Roses pop out, but with brown sugar frosting their petals. Is that the broom I can smell? It is reportedly a nutty, woody, hay-like note and that’s certainly there, along with a waft of warm Horlicks (that’ll be the malt).
So far this has given us a little tour covering most of an English Country Garden. So where does the base leave us? On some damp aromatic moss, on a cedar bench after the rain, with a glassful of sticky Pimms and pear pips. Which is not just fine by me, but wholeheartedly agreeable. If birdsong could be bottled, that would be in here too.
Four mysterious phials landed on my mat in wet Wales last week. They not only looked like Quality Street, but they had that common characteristic of being hard to pick a favourite. Plus I’m sure one of them had nuts in.
I’m proud to say I put a small brick in the wall and participated in this latest venture from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays. Crowd funding is a great way to fund a business in so far as donations are entirely optional and you get treats for donating. In my case, four phials dressed like Quality Street (see above).
This what Sarah McCartney says about them:
Flora Psychedelica – a blend of rare flowers with intoxicating spices and herbs.
The Buddhawood Box – four distinctive woods, with a note of multicoloured opalescence.
Up The Apples & Pears – autumn fruit in a tiny London orchard.
Captured by Candlelight – traditional plum pudding, covered in brandy and set alight, with a background of oak panels and oil paintings.
Now if I was doing GCSE Perfume Studies ( I wish!) my homework would be to match this list of ingredients below to the above scents. However, I’m not sure that wouldn’t make responses scientific rather than subjective, so sniff the bottles and just go with the flow. The list is worth a read though, as there is an eclectic choice of ingredients that gives this capsule collection its unique style.
Australian Buddhawood, Boronia flower absolute, Granny Smith apple creation, Colombian enfleurage lily and gardenia, Natural pear creation, Brandy CO2 extract, Absinthe essential oil, Artemisia essential oil, Davana essential oil, Hemlock essential oil, Broom absolute, Hazelnut CO2 extract, Oakwood CO2 extract.
The range is inspired by “Cosy Crime” novels from the 20s and 30s, and each one will accompany a story. As an avid reader and avid sniffer, this innovation is so much up my street they should call it Samantha Street. I’m going to review all four, but bear in mind that these are my subjective impressions only. Yours may be entirely different. This is because no two olfactory memory banks are ever the same. How dull if they were!
This fragrance is named after the distinctive 4160 auto mobile that looks so friendly it ought to have a face (see above). My very first impressions were: vodka, wintergreen (probably the absinthe) and mints. My next impression was “Crikey! That smells just like my Nanna T!” (Disclaimer: she didn’t carry vodka). There is a whiff of chalky peppermints, roses and eucalyptus. In the midst of this is something vintage-y: a combination of soap and lipstick. When it fades away it smells like the slightly dusty scent of the interior of the Queen’s best handbag: Mints, roses, medicinal lozenges, clean tissues and a lipstick. I adore it.
Captured by Candlelight
To me, this smells like a Christingle service in a church. If you’ve never been to one, it’s a child friendly Christmas service where children are given an orange studded with wine gums with a candle in it. There’s also the lovely smell of aged wood that you get from church pews. In the middle there’s also a soupçon of Baileys, vanilla and chocolate truffles in there too. I wanted to lick my arm and listen to Christmas Carols. There’s a faint whiff of wood-smoke as well, making this the perfect scent for December. Or now. Or any time really, but for me, this is Christmas and everything that smells nice about it.
The Buddhawood Box
This is my favourite, but it wasn’t straight away. I sniffed this for ages whilst it went from wet to dry and in the end I concluded that it smelled like carob. You know that fake chocolate you get from Holland and Barrett that looks like chocolate but tastes like a cruel hoax? It reminded me of that. It was chocolate-y with a hint of something both spicy and herbal. However, that’s not the end of this story. After about twenty minutes this segues into a wonderful scent of ancient macerated teak in which brandy has been stored. There’s background of chocolate too, but not overpoweringly so, and unless I’m going mad…apples? Maybe Calvados in a teak barrel stored within ancient stone walls that smell like an incensed church. It made me think of Comme Des Garcons Avignon, which I adore. The Buddhawood Box has a surge of patchouli and roses ( Buddhawood is Australian Rosewood) that makes this my favourite of the four, if I was forced to choose.
Up The Apples and Pears
Assuming you are not Danny Dyer, who makes up cockney rhyming slang as he goes along ( which is very irresponsible when you star in EastEnders), this is London slang for up the stairs to Bedfordshire. In other words, as I already said about five hundred times last night, “go to bed!” Up the Apples and Pears is a curious one that smells completely different on a blotter than it does on my skin. On the blotter it is pear drops and herbal eau de cologne. On my skin it is pear drops, spiced raisins and Woodleigh Green Shampoo straight out of the 1970s. One sniff of this and I can remember the colour, consistency and wording on the label of that wonderful opaque shampoo. There is a hint of almost savoury spice in there, which gently backs out of the room as my skin warms it all up. This is an unusual scent that falls somewhere between fruity and astringent. I like it, but it baffled me. But that’s OK. I don’t have to understand it. I like it and that’s enough for me. If you want generic, you won’t find it here!
More Information and How To Get These
You can find out more about this project here. If I was on Dragon’s Den, I’d be funding the lot. But I’m not, so I ordered Four Mysteries.
Photos are my own selection, not stock photos, apart from the top photo which I borrowed from the Crowdfunding page. Photo of Flora Psychedelica is by kind permission of 4160 Tuesdays. Photo of Christingle candle is from www.timetravel-britain.com. Photo of Buddha from Amazon.com. Photo of urban orchard from a lovely website about an organisation that’s doing great work in the centre of London www.theurbanorchardproject.org.
I wanted to make a really rosy rose, a 1980s style scent, like a walk through a rose garden. I love my rose fragrances, and although I’ve been dabbling with rose and violet, rose and herbs and rose and vetivert, I’d wanted to take the plunge with pure rose. – Sarah McCartney
When I received my box of treats from 4160 Tuesdays last week, looking like Quality Street for grown ups, the first one I tried was Raw Silk and Red Roses. It was instant love for keeps. It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the best rose scents I have ever smelled, and I’ve smelled A Lot.
At first spray, this smells delicate and retro, like breath sweets or rose water ( only amplified), and then I smell a bunch of my beloved violets. There are no violets, but maybe the rose breath sweets are so intrinsically linked with violet ones that I can’t help it. The sweetness is Middle Eastern aromatic- yes, I’m going to say Turkish Delight, without sugariness, and that’s a compliment because I love that too. However Raw Silk and Red Roses then drops its veils one by one. There’s peppery geranium to add a little oomph. There’s peach and plum,( don’t panic peach-dodgers, its great) and vintage musk.
However, what I got was an almost creamy almondy hint, that makes this a proper grown up lady perfume to me. The patchouli and musk gives this a real clout that showcases the rose and makes it the star.
It makes me feel like I should put my pearls on and make witty retorts. It makes me feel that to wear scruffy clothes whilst wearing it would be rude. If this had been available ten years ago when I got married, I would have worn it on my wedding day.
Longevity is great- at the end of the day I was catching little whiffs as I got comfy on the sofa in the evening ( in my pearls, whilst making witty retorts).When I wear it, I feel like showing off. That’s good enough for me.
Sarah, please don’t stop making it. I’ll be wearing this for a very long time. Superb. I’m calling it a classic.
All 4160 Tuesdays scents are available online and a selection is available from Escentual and in store at Fortnum and Masons. The 4160 Tuesdays postal service is excellent. They send it to you like its your birthday.
Designed for Aphrodite, goddess of love, to seduce shepherd boys on the grassy banks of Roseberry Topping.
Yesterday I was the excited recipient of a box of Crimes of Passion samples from 4160 Tuesdays. This always feel like an occasion as the packaging is consistently hand done and beautiful. Each phial was wrapped in jewel coloured tissue before being wrapped in recycled hand made paper and finished with a leather bow ( The cats won’t give it back). After all that build up, my anticipation was huge.
What were the actual scents like? Well a trumpet fanfare wouldn’t have been out of place. They blew me away good and proper. I don’t get these thunderbolts very often and having now written 620 blog posts, I’d be exhausted if I did. But this was like being struck by cupid. I will write about the others in good time, but today I will attempt to do justice to Goddess of Love and Perfume.
Opening with citruses that smell freshly squeezed, there is a bright salty tang in the top notes, with a promising warmth. There’s enough fruit here for a market stall ( Yuzu, grapefruit, raspberry, strawberries, plum, peaches), but they are blended so seamlessly it makes a new accord that is akin to a tart raspberry flavour grapefruit. If it was a drink I’d order an ice filled jug of it.
The fruit segues subtly and gradually into a warm fruity chypre and the oakmoss and Myrhh (aka opoponax) give this a wonderfully retro nod in the direction of the old school chypres that have long gone. The peaches make their presence felt, but never in a soapy, tinned fruit sort of manner. Its more boozy brandied peaches that have been infused with dried fruit over Christmas. The classic chypre base of patchouli and oakmoss gives me the fix I want.
For some reason, the final stages of this long lasting beauty struck me as having a bunch of violets in it. There are none actually in this, but somehow, I found them, or they found me, along with some long lasting vintage musk. Leaving a slightly powdery finish, as a good chypre does, Goddess of Love and Perfume left me an infatuated suitor in her wake.
So, yes, I’ve been shot by cupid and I’m helpless to resist.
You can buy Goddess of Love and Perfume from the website at 4160 Tuesdays. You can find other stockists here. I bought my samples from the site. I am reviewing the parfum strength.
Painting: Aphrodite (Venus) bares herself before Paris, with Hera and Athena standing to her left
in The Judgment of Paris by Enrique Simonet, c. 1904. From www.myastrologybook.com