Tag Archives: 4160 Tuesdays Captured by Candlelight

How to Smell like Christmas

There are certain smells associated with Christmas that we don’t come across in the course of the ordinary year (i.e. the boring non-Christmas period). Now, I might be romanticising things here, but I have vivid Christmas memories of the exact smell of 1970s tinsel, the smell of roasting beef (we didn’t eat turkey) and Mum and Dad smoking all day. In the 1970s you were  encouraged to smoke all day and anywhere you pleased. Unimaginable now, I know, but the scent of cigarettes always takes me back to the family home back where chocolate advent calendars hadn’t been invented  and the internet was just a twinkle in the sky.

These days, any kind of foodie/boozy scent has me thinking wistfully of Christmas and I use it as an excuse to step outside my usual chypre scented comfort zone and into cosy, smoky gourmands.  Basically, I want to smell good enough to eat.

Here are five fragrances that have me salivating around Christmas time. They are rich, evocative, wintry and absolutely delicious. Dive in with me.  Sherry?

Zadig et Voltaire This Is Her

The plain white bottle from this achingly cool Parisian brand doesn’t look particular festive but it has dominant chestnut notes and lashings of whipped cream. This is an unusual fragrance, but I like it because of that.  They could have played it safe but no, they thought they’d confuse our brains with jasmine and chestnuts and whipped cream and cashmere wool and pink pepper and, did I say whipped cream? It sounds confusing but I promise you, this scent really works and I could happily plough through a whole bottle, and the body lotion and candle too. You can find it here.

4160 Tuesdays at Pitti

4160 Tuesdays Captured by Candlelight

With overtones of Cluedo and Agatha Christie in the intriguing title, this fragrance smells as Christmassy as a tangerine in the bottom of your pillow case. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Christingle service, but it reminded me vividly of that. What happens is that children attend a simplified Christmas service in a church (an old one for preference) and each child is given an orange with a candle embedded in it. Jutting out of the orange are cocktail stick with little Haribo gummy sweets on. Combine the old wood of church pews with the orange, the sweets, the candlelight and the flask of Baileys you have in your bag, and you’ve got Captured by Candlelight. Check it out here on the 4160 website, which is dangerously tempting at this time of year.

Hypnotic Poison

Christmas isn’t Christmas without some sort of marzipan encounter.  Hypnotic poison allows you to carry that scent around on your skin. With rich, boozy vanilla and thick, rich almonds, Hypnotic Poison is hard to beat, and very long lasting. By the way, just holding the pumpkin shaped bottle feels like magic. I keep thinking its going to turn into a tiny coach at midnight.  You can buy it here.

Hermes Elixir des Merveilles

The nose behind Hermes Elixir des Merveilles is none other than legend Jean Claude Ellena.  Famous for his blending, which is often described as having the delicacy of a watercolour painting, Elixir des Merveilles is a gourmand that has the kind of mouth-watering appeal that never feels too rich for a second helping.  To my nose, this smells like caramelised oranges, but without any stickiness.  Imagine a crème brûlée with slightly seared bitter orange fruit.  I’m not usually a fan of gourmands, except at Christmas, obvs, but this one has me drooling with undisguised avarice. You can buy it here.

Yves Rocher Bourbon Vanilla

Never let it be said that I don’t cater for all budgets.  This cheap and cheerful vanilla scent from trusty Yves Rocher stopped me in my tracks and made me check the price again. Twice. This is a rich, golden vanilla scent that smacks of boozy vanilla liquor, rather than the more commonly found synthetic cupcake note that sometimes poses as vanilla.  Not, this one, though, No Sir. Yves Rocher Bourbon Vanilla will make everyone ask what you are wearing. Even the most curmudgeonly perfume resister will be unable to stop sniffing you. Don’t blame me. Blame Yves Rocher! Oh, and the price? My 30ml bottle was the princely sum of £3.99 five weeks ago.

How about you?

What will be wearing this Christmas? Something cosy? Something new? Do you always wear the same fragrance at Christmas? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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4160 Tuesdays Four Mysteries: My Review

four mysteries

Four mysterious phials landed on my mat in wet Wales last week. They not only looked like Quality Street, but they had that 4160 mysteriescommon 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!


flora

Flora Psychedelica

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.

christingle2

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.

buddha

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.

Urban pears - Kilburn-400x225

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!

Stockists

You can buy all of these from the wonderful and dangerously tempting 4160 Tuesdays website.

Photos

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.

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