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The dark heart of a tea party

darkheartOne of my goals on my recent trip to Europe was to stop in the U.K. to sniff as many scents from 4160Tuesdays as possible.

The delightful and knowledgable Sarah McCartney, nose and owner of 4160Tuesdays, made it very possible by kindly allowing me to visit her studio and smell EVERY. THING.

I discovered 4160Tuesdays just before the UK brought the hammer down on exporting liquids. I bought scents that were being discontinued, or smaller bottles – What Katie Did at Weekends, Over the Chocolate Shop, and the truly stunning Lady Rose Lion (Monkey Unicorn). By the time I had sniffed and enjoyed these, and wanted to try more – bam! No exporting straight from the UK.

But you don’t have to be frustrated! No! Because Luckyscent is now selling 4160Tuesdays! This is major excitement!

In a world where sooooooo many perfumes smell, if not the same, then similar (I will refrain from inserting anything here about the same noses so often being tapped over and over again), 4160Tuesdays smells very different.

Sarah McCartney spent many years at LUSH, and has a fascination with natural ingredients; but she also knows what makes a perfume work and isn’t afraid to work with synthetic ingredients too. Her combinations have been referred to as vintage-smelling, because of that balance; but they don’t smell the least bit vintage to me – except perhaps for something like her popular Urura’s Tokyo Cafe, which is green and rich, and has a hint of something not unlike vintage Miss Dior or even Vent Vert. But fresh and new, because she mixes it up fresh and new herself.

Sarah adores raspberry leaf extract and the pungent rich green smell permeates her studio. That type of a smell – crushed, green, sour, juicy – is very indicative of Sarah’s work and the whole line of her perfumes. It’s hard to describe – the scents are very much perfumes, but they don’t smell much like any other perfume out there these days.

The ups and downs of the interesting ingredients work together beautifully, but only in the far drydown become one seamless whole. When I huff one of 4160Tuesdays’ perfumes, the textures of the various ingredients play off each other, like instruments in a jazz combo. I’d recommend starting with something in this line that plays the type of notes you already know you like.

As a huge gourmand lover, I chose The Dark Heart of Havana. This sweet tobacco scent is luscious and I not only want to wear it on its own, I want to blend it with everything else. It captures the fruitiness of tobacco well, and smells not like you’re drenched in fake sugar, but like someone is cooking sugar syrup somewhere. This lusciousness lasted on me for well over five hours.

I also love Says Alice, which reminds me of Alice in Wonderland though it’s probably some friend of Sarah’s named Alice (she has a personal system for naming things). This lemony biscuit of a scent is also perfectly balanced: not too sweet, never heavy, but somehow capturing something that no other lemony scent has managed to do. (And I’ve tried them all. Though apparently I haven’t, as Katie Puckrik’s penpal Dan has more suggestions for me, including a Profumum – Acqua Viva – that I’m going to have to smell.)

(And if you’re in the UK – because it can’t be shipped out and it isn’t being carried elsewhere – and you love the herbal tonic smell of gin, put down the Juniper Sling or the Gin Fizz, and pick up some of The Gin Garden. It’s on Sarah’s sale page now. It makes me roll my eyes in pleasure. I can’t explain it. It’s gorgeous.)

Both Dark Heart and Says Alice layer beautifully. Which is weird, if you think about it. Because these perfumes are (I’m sure of it) using ingredients that aren’t commonly used, and have a really distinct personality. Yet they mesh and meld with the best of them. Like the cool kid at a party. They stand out, yet are at the center of everything; the party wouldn’t be the same without them.

I’m expecting (hoping) to see these pop up at more stores. This is such an interesting line from such an interesting nose. If you get to try some, drop me a line!

Image is Long Exposure Hearts by Tracy Wilcox, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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