We'd like to make the world a lovelier place; we're starting with the air around us and we'll take it from there.
Our fragrances are all handmade, bottled and wrapped at our own workshop in Acton, West London. Our founder, Sarah McCartney, set up 4160Tuesdays in 2011 and creates all our perfumes. We also collaborate with creative directors including Victor Wong of Zoologist, Jason and Rich of Handsome London, and Reek.
We're doing our best to make adventurous, beautiful fragrances using lovely materials - we're open about using both naturals and synthetics because we think that blending both makes the most interesting perfumes. We keep them affordable because we like our friends to be able to buy them. (If you'd like one of your own, that's a bit more expensive, but we love to do that too.) If you're truly looking for something different, welcome to our scented scene.
The short version:
Another Kiss by the Fireside – Wood fires, cinnamon biscuits, rose and lavender – a cosy farmhouse kitchen.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool.
Babylon Sunset – a rich, generous, voluptuous perfume, blending fruit and flowers - beautiful rose, jasmine and honey absolutes, Australian sandalwood and a hint of vanilla
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Farnesol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citral, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate.
Black Velvet Cafe - Woods, tobacco and coffee, with an agarwood base. We made this as a one off for a Dubai friend of ours who shared some of his best oudh with us. Then we allowed a few others to smell it and the next we know, it's joined the range.
Bhodi Language – Imagine four hand-carved wooden boxes, inlaid with opals, brought to Britain from the tropics, sandalwood, cedarwood, white oudh and Buddhawood, with a hint of coconut and rum.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Farnesol, Citral.
Captured By Candlelight - the scent of Christmas Pudding alight with blue brandy flames, served in an oak panelled dining room, lit with candles. Rich, fruity & boozy, with woods and a wax candle note.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Cinnamal, Citral, Eugenol, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Linalool, Hazelnut Extract (Corylus)
Centrepiece – inspired by a luxurious ice cream parlour; a deliciously sensual musk with frangipani blossom, honey, green tea and cedarwood
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Benzyl Salicylate, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool
The Dark Heart of Old Havana - tobacco, coffee and fruits cooked in buckets of sugar, a hint of faded grandeur
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate.
Doe in the Snow - light fresh peach sorbet chypre with flowers and woods, all stirred with an icicle
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Benzyl Salicylate, Alpha-iso-Methylionone, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citral
Ealing Green - light fresh cut grass, herbs, meadow flowers, wild roses and the fresh earth
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Citronellol, Linalool, Geraniol, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Limonene, Citral, Eugenol.
Flora Psychedelica – the fragrance of a mythical flower that makes everyone ecstatically happy. Absinthe and lily notes, with herbs, woods and mushrooms.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum ,Citronellol, Hydroxycitronnellal, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Linalool, Evernia Furfuraceae (Tree Moss) Extract, Eugenol, Hazelnut Extract (Corylus)
Goodbye Piccadilly- A scent for Suffragettes, first made for London Transport Museum with materials used in 1914: violet, iris, lavender, leather, vanilla and patchouli.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Alpha-iso- Methylionone Limonene
Lady Rose Lion (Monkey Unicorn) - Commit to a real deep chypre fragrance, described by Luca Turin as "an inverted Mitsouko" which was nice. All the flowers and woods at the heart, cutrus fruits and peach on top, the oakmoss base and a top note of basil. It was inspired by the tapestry series from the 1500s, The Lady & The Unicorn. Of course it was.
The Lion Cupboard - the comforting scent of our Victorian oak sideboard: herbs, citrus fruit and woods
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Eugenol, Geraniol, Farnesol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Isoeugenol, Citral.
London 1969 – a true unisex citrus, Hyde Park in summer, the groovy King’s Road, leading to late nights in grubby Soho backstreets
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol.
#MrsGlossMadeMeDoIt – Made for Facebook Group Mrs Gloss & The Goss with rose, pink grapefruit, cedarwood and lashings of candyfloss; the most cheerful fragrance in existence (we think J )
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Alpha-iso-Methylionone, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol, Eugenol
Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters – using nature’s harvest - rose, broom, cedarmoss, raspberry, strawberry and opoponax, + Hedione and Maltol. Deliciously naughty.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Citronellol, Evernia Furfuraceae (Tree Moss) Extract, Geraniol, Linalool, Eugenol, Citral, Hazelnut Extract (Corylus)
New York ’55 – exuberantly cheerful sweet floral ice cream fruit sundae with candy floss on the side
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citral, Limonene.
Paradox - the intense iris, citrus, violet, musk fragrance we made with Louise Woollam, award winning beauty writer of Get Lippie. Read Louise's description here. Paradox raises funds for Fifth Sense, the organisation for people with damage to their sense or smell or taste.
INGREDIENTS: Alpha-iso-Methylionon, Linalool, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol, Citronel
Parallel - our second scented adventure with Louise Woollam, this time we made the spicy Oriental fragrance she always wanted, to celebrate her sense of smell beginning to return to normal. Louise selected notes of rose absolute, frankincense, black pepper and white woods, caraway and mandarin petigrain.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Linalool, Citral
Paris 1948 – a classic vintage floral, peach, woody scent, inspired by the great French chypres of the 1940s
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Farnesol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate.
Pillow Talk - perfume for lovers. Jasmine, orange flower, yuzu, spicy pink and black peppers and sandalwood.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool. Limonene,, Linalool, Farnesol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Benzyl Alcohol, Eugenol,
Rome 1963 – smooth, languid white flowers with dry crisp woods and a touch of tobacco
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Farnesol, Geraniol, Benzyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Isoeugenol.
Rosa Ribes - A blackcurrant, rose chypre with citrus fruits, moss, myrrh and musk, Sarah’s own personal perfume.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Evernia Furfuraceae (Tree Moss) Extract, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral, Eugenol, Benzyl Cinnamate, Benzyl Benzoate
Sex Goddess - Voluptuousness bottled, All the flowers, fruits, musks and woods: rich and lovely.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral
The Sexiest Scent on the Planet, Ever. (IMHO) – smooth, soft and seductive - lemon meringue pie, blended with velvety woods. Really.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool.
Shazam! - a true amber oriental, the scent of the Marrakesh spice market, with fresh oranges and incense
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Benzyl Cinnamate, Benzyl Benzoate, Eugenol, Geraniol, Citral.
Silk, Lace & Chocolate - delicately soft, smooth and sensual, strawberry, orange and vanilla with real cocoa absolute for extra deliciousness
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool.
Sleep Knot – with jasmine, ylang, sandalwood and black pepper - aphrodisiacs of eastern mythology- for nights when you don’t plan to sleep.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Farnesol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Benzyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Isoeugenol.
Sunshine and Pancakes - The scent of warm bare skin on the beach, with honey and lemon pancakes (British ones – flat not fluffy- Unusual and beautiful with cedar, jasmine, honey, musk and lemons
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol , Farnesol, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Citral, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate.
Tart’s Knicker Drawer - our lovely sophisticated powdery flowery amber, generous with its favours. A 50s style floriental.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Farnesol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Benzyl Cinnamate, Eugenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Isoeugenol.
Tokyo Spring Blossom - the breeze through spring flowers, fresh fruit, soft petals and sensuous balsams
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Farnesol, Citral, Eugenol , Benzyl Cinnamate, Cinnamyl Alcoho
Up the Apples & Pears – an unusual fragrance that evokes the scent of a London pub in 1933; apple pie, pear syllabub, gin, beer, roll-ups, wooden floor and bread rolls.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Farnesol, Linalool, Geraniol, Citral
What I Did On My Holidays - sea shore, suntan lotion, mint rock and ice cream – our childhood beach hols.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate
Who Knew? - exotic, intoxicating deep dark rose and green tea with the scent of smoky lapsang souchong
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Benzyl Cinnamate, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Eugenol.
The Seven Crimes of Passion
Dirty Honey EdP - the scent of Mexican mock orange blossom in spring, in a London suburb. It smells (to us) like honey that’s dripped into the earth.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene.
Maxed Out Parfum - the intense scent of a wild night out in New York: rum, coconut and lime, tobacco, coffee and cannabis, musksvanilla, a drop of cumin and Atlas cedarwood – the smell of warm skin.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Geraniol, Citral, Farnesol, Benzyl Benzoate
Raw Silk and Red Roses EdP - A walk through a rose garden, with a touch of geranium, patchouli, musk and fruits.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citral, Limonene, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate
Midnight in the Palace Garden Parfum - A hot moonlit night in an eastern courtyard, made with five accords: woods, white flowers, musks, vanilla and fruit.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Farnesol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citral, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate.
Goddess of Love & Perfume Parfum - The fragrance we like to think Aphrodite would wear to descend to earth and seduce youthful shepherds: the ultimate floral, fruity chypre, with added musk.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Linalool, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral
Be Careful What You Wish For Parfum - A fruity oudh, so fruity that you would scarcely notice there’s oudh in here at all. Actually there are five: four from Dubai and gaharu buaya, white oudh, to add a rich, warmth.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol
Inevitable Crimes of Passion Parfum A Henry James novel in a bottle, an invitation into a Victorian orangery, then into the velvet upholstered parlour for tea, then down to the basement... Notes of chocolate, orange, coffee, cognac and cep mushroom.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Farnesol, Citral
The Eaux de Parfums - the longer version
Another Kiss by the Fireside - 2017
Another Kiss by the Fireside is a second go at the fireside fragrance which we first made in 2011 (A Kiss by the Fireside). This one had to be tweaked slightly to comply wiht the 2013 perfume safety regulations, so we thought we'd improve it along the way. What we did was to make it clearer, to give each of the individual notes more space to make themselves known. Now you can smell the slightly leathery woodfire, the spice biscuits, rose and lavender individually, and see the complete picture.
For us it's a farmhouse kitchen, with an open fire, bunches of dried lavender and fresh roses on the ancient pine table, and biscuits cooking in the oven. One customer told us it smells like a Belgravia drawing room, but as none of us have ever been in one, we'll have to take her word for it.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool.
(the perfume formerly known as Says Alice)
Bablyon Sunset was first made as a 21st birthday present; it's a fragrance for women, not girls. It was inspired by those magnificent 90s fragrances that always seemed like huge bunches of fragrant flowers, rather than the delicately pale pink posies around today. The difference comes from the real rose, jasmine and honey absolutes, and Australian sandalwood oil we use to give it depth and soul, as much as current regulations and our lovely accountant will allow.
Imagine an armful of roses and jasmine, with a sandalwood fruitbowl filled with ripe peaches, tangerines and grapefruits, topped with raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream, all drizzled with honey. It’s one of our least idiosyncratic perfumes – really comparatively normal – until you realise that the sheer extravagance of the ingredients ought to make it completely so ridiculously expensive that it has no right to be there at all. Get it now before we can no longer afford to make it. (We wish we were kidding.)
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Farnesol, Citral.
Perfumery dialect: Fruity floral
top notes: grapefruit/tangerine/peach
heart notes: rose/jasmine/sandalwood/honey
base notes: musk/vanilla/red fruits
Be Careful What You Wish For
Sarah had decided not to make an oudh fragrance, mostly because they so often seem to be brought out merely to grab a cynical share of the lucrative Arabian perfume market. (Actually there is quite a lot of oudh in 4160 Tuesdays’ perfume The Lion Cupboard, but she chose not to mention it because she didn't want to look like she was jumping on the bandwagon.)
Recently she was in Dubai, and bought five different oudhs from the soukh at the creek and decided to change her mind.
It's different from most though - a citrus fruit oudh with guaicwood and patchouli, plus a new wood oil which is being called white oudh by the French supplier; it's from a tree that grows in Indonesian mangrove swamps.
Five oudhs give it a deep, animalic woody feel, but it's not got the overwhelming typical smell of decaying woods. There's not much point making an oudh scent that smells like everyone else's though, is there?
So a fresh fruity oudh, that's what we have here. Surprise yourself.
Top: Pink grapefruit, juniper berry, peach
Heart: White oudh, raspberry, strawberry, guaicwood
Base: Patchouli, vanilla, plum, dark oudhs
Top Notes: Bergamot
Heart notes: malt whisky, Buddhawood, Boronia, gardenia, redbush
Base notes: sandalwood, cedarwood, white oudh, ambergris
Black Velvet Cafe
Picture a secluded corner in a subtly lit café, with black velvet furnishings and smooth coffee. We made it with oudh and coffee absolute, woods and musk. Some people smell more oudh, some get coffee, and for some it's a perfect balance. We make it strong, like our espressos.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Farnesol, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Benzyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Isoeugenol
Captured by Candlelight
The scent of Christmas Pudding alight with blue brandy flames, served in an oak panelled dining room, lit with candles. Rich, fruity & boozy, with woods and a wax candle note.
Top notes: cognac, cinnamon, toffee
Heart notes: stewed fruits, toasted hazelnuts
Base notes: opoponax, candlewax, oakwood
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Cinnamal, Citral, Eugenol, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Linalool, Hazelnut Extract (Corylus)
The Dark Heart of Old Havana
It’s the smell of a walk through Old Havana in the evening, from the Hotel Sevilla to the Caseon del Tango for a dance lesson with Ketty and Felix. Wafts of coffee and tobacco, sweet, sugary desserts cooked with baskets of oranges and mangoes. The scent of peaches beginning to turn overripe, and citrus peel going squishy in the gutter. From a dark doorway a handsome man in white whispers, “Do you want a Cuban boyfriend?” and I speed up a little, squeaking “No! Thankyou very much for asking all the same!" And then the old Cubanos at the tango club greet us with smiles, songs, rum and kisses.
“I find The Dark Heart of Old Havana an adult vanilla, tactfully blended with deep, resinous accents and a musky sophistication that purrs with a cognizant, sophisticated sex appeal. Furthermore, much like Old Havana itself, Ms McCarthy’s interpretation in her considered perfume portrayal has a dirty secret. Beneath the layers of intoxicating vanillic refinement there is a subtle mumbling, be it a warning, a promise, or a combination of the two. There is an edge to The Dark Heart of Old Havana that I find absolutely intoxicating.” BGirlRhapsody
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Geraniol.
Perfumery dialect: Tobacco, fruity oriental
top notes: orange/peach/grapefruit/sugar
s: tobacco /bergamot/tonka/jasmine
base notes: vanilla/musk/ black pepper
Doe in the Snow
Doe in the Snow was made for a special occasion one January, for a very special customer. It’s inspired by the fruity chypre fragrances of the 1960s and 70s, but with a layer of frost. Citrus fruits, flowers and woods, stirred with an icicle. Imagine a tall, elegant woman, dressed in red and white velvet, but at ground level, she’s wearing her wellington boots so her feet don’t get cold and wet. Graceful, yet practical. “When
“Like all masterpieces of bespoke fragrance Doe catches its subject to perfection, an insightful and moving portrait in scent. So maybe it’s partly because I love Odette so well that this bottled avatar enthralls me: Sarah McCartney writes that she “stirred woods, fruits and flowers with an icicle” – like the wand of the Snow Queen. Doe is all about contrasts and illusions, a Dance of the Seven Veils which discreetly retains a final diaphanous drapery and a pellucid enigma. Classic Paris notes of oak moss and jasmine contrast with frosty yuzu, peach aldehyde and creamy-golden tonka. To me, Doe In The Snow has something of the great scent-stars of the past about it – murmurs of Mitsouko, Ma Griffe and Femme: a generous, all-embracing hommage to the chypres, that smallest, most select and genuinely glamorous of fragrance families. And how about a medal for the name, too!” Lemon Wedge the final version arrived, it was the most special smell, which Sarah describes as ‘citrus fruits, flowers and woods, stirred with an icicle’. I sprayed it all over the (faux) fur coat I borrowed from my mum on my wedding day – the same coat she’d worn for her own wedding.” Odette Toilette
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Benzyl Salicylate , Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Evernia, Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Linalool, Citral
Perfume dialect: crisp fruity chypre
top notes: grapefruit, cedrat, yuzu, peach aldehyde, snow
heart notes: cedarwood, rose, jasmine, oak
base notes: opoponax, oakmoss, leather, green tea absolute
"I’d long wanted to make a scent for Ealing, my adopted home. I met my husband at Ealing Studios on Ealing Green, at a wedding. Then I was invited to make a midsummer scent for a charity evening, using plants and flowers named in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I combined the two ideas and created the scent of Ealing Green on a summer evening, but in the early 17th Century." Sarah.
It has white thyme, green grass, violets and lavender, geraniums and roses, with an earthy base.
Ingredients: Parfum, Citronellol, Linalool, Geraniol, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Limonene, Citral, Eugenol
Perfume dialect: fresh green floral
top notes: cut grass, rose, thyme
heart notes: geranium, lavender, violet
base notes: patchouli, earth, oakmoss
The Great Randello -
If you're after a gourmande fragrance - something that smells deliciously edible - then The Great Randello’s whiffs of strawberry crème brulée will fill the gap
The first version was inspired by the idea of Edwardian gentleman taking afternoon tea, surrounded by elegant ladies - cigar smoke, tea, coffee, cognac and English desserts, tiers of cakes, piles of sticky buns. It took on its burned toffee character when Sarah discovered a material called strawberry furanone, a molecule produced naturally by both strawberries and tobacco.
It's named after two people; Randello is Sarah's husband's nickname - and he loves a crème brulée so she made the final version with him in mind. Then we found out that there was another Great Randello. He sounded to us like an Edwardian circus performer, but he turned out to be a late 20th Century magician from Wales, Billy Randell. We picture him in a ringmaster’s outfit all the same.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Citral, Coumarin, Geraniol.
Perfumery dialect: gourmande chypre
top notes: strawberry/toffee/peach/mandarin
heart notes: raspberry/bergamot/lavender
base notes: oakmoss/patchouli/opoponax
Invisible Ben started as a 40th birthday present for a friend. It’s got his favourite things in it: a base of benzoin and musk, heart notes of sandalwood and fine cognac, with lashings of lemon, lime and orange.
It’s called Invisible Ben because it’s designed to blend nicely with the smell of a clean body, fresh from the shower, orange juice in one hand and coffee in the other. He's a very sporty person, and Sarah thought it would be lovely to give him a fragrance that smelled like he does, so he could put himself back on again after he'd showered. He tried to get her to stop doing these ridiculous things and go back to copywriting.
This is a cologne for men (mostly) who don’t really like fragrance, but they do love to look good, stay fit and smell good.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Citral, Farnesol, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol.
Perfumery dialect: Woody citrus
top notes: orange/lime/cognac
heart notes: sandalwood/cashmere/coffee
base notes: opoponax/resins
A Kiss by the Fireside* - not available in sample sizes.
What we have here is the fragrance of log fires, with a heart of spices and rose, and light top notes of lavender and oranges. It's a “sitting by the fireside eating home baked biscuits and smelling flowers cut fresh from the garden” scent. It appears in Sarah's novel, the one that accidetnally started off the whole perfumery, then it became real - the scent of sitting by the big fireplace in an old farmhouse kitchen.
Like many of ours, it smells more like a captured memory than a traditional fragrance. Recently, someone said it reminded her of a Belgravia mansion sitting room, but we’ll have to take her word for it...
(*We're down to the last few bottles of the original, pre 2013 regulations version of Kiss, and we're going to be reformulating, so if you can't live without it, please grab it now.)
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool Eugenol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Farnesol, Citral, Benzyl Cinnamate, Cinnamal, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Isoeugenol, Benzyl Alcohol.
Perfumery dialect: woody Fougère
top notes: oranges, lavender
heart notes: clove bud, guiaicwood, rose
base notes: vetivert, musk
Lady Rose Lion (Monkey Unicorn)
This scent started at an intriguing party, a celebration of the five senses, based on the Medieval tapestry series, The Lady and the Unicorn. (You’ll recognise them if you look it up.) There's a lawn, which would have been herbs not grass in those times, to release fragrance as people walked on it. There are fruit trees but you can't tell what the fruit are, so we used peach aldehyde and buchu - imaginary peaches and blackcurrant wine gums - to represent them (and to feed the mysterious allegorical monkey).
We added hay (for the unicorn) and leather for if we wanted to put a saddle on him and ride him, many roses - a servant woman was carrying them - woods, oakmoss and deep balsams. And so it became a magical, moving chypre (which ended up accidentally smelling almost exactly like a vintage chypre. We woudln't have nailed it better if we'd tried.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Farnesol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Eugenol.
Perfumery dialect: Deep floral chypre
top notes: basil, peach blackcurrant
heart notes: rose, woods
base notes: oakmoss, hay, resins
The Lion Cupboard
"The actual lion cupboard is a carved Victorian sideboard with lions’ heads as the door handles. My sister and I used to play with it when we were small, and our late father kept his hats, scarves and gloves in it. His scarves picked up the scent of the wood, and the wood absorbed mint, lavender, grapefruit, coffee - the things he liked most.
Our dad died suddenly in 2002 and we were left with things that we wanted to say but had never got around to. When she visited the house, my sister would put her head inside the Lion Cupboard to inhale the scent of a hug from our dad. Then one day our mother washed it with bleach and it was all gone.
So when I started to make perfumes to remind people ot happy times, my sister looked me right in the eye and said, "Make me the lion cupboard." It took three goes. Now she has the actual sideboard at her house, and the first thing she did was to spritz it with its very own scent. Now it's for everyone.
“Sarah named this wonderful scent after her father’s personal treasure cupboard – it’s redolent of tooth powder, cashmeres and silk scarves laid up in herbs against the moth, dark fragrant woods, leather-bound diaries, half-forgotten colognes and the assurance of the past. Mint, juniper oil, aniseed, patchouli and lavender on the shelves are as transient but powerful as memories, regrets and reminiscences. The ideal perfume for winter hibernation, comfort and reflection.” Lemon Wedge
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Eugenol, Geraniol, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Farnesol, Benzyl Salicylate, Isoeugenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citral.
Perfumery dialect: Woody herbal Fougère
top notes: mint/lavender/juniperberry/grapefruit/aniseed
heart notes: ylang/rose/cedarwood/sandalwood/black pepper
base notes: tobacco/vetivert/vanilla/cocoa
The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO)
It started life as the background for a bespoke fragrance event we did with The Gin Garden. It was specially designed to be smooth, unassuming, quiet, sensual and to stay close to the skin. (We would take this, then add the gin botanicals to make a gin inspired scent.) But then we did a special event for two VIP guests, and one was a journalist. She liked it on its own, as did many of the other visitors, and declared it, “the sexiest scent ever!” and so it came to be named. IMHO stands for in my humble opinion, and it's meant ironically.
In the world of perfumery “sillage” refers to the distance a perfume will travel from the wearer. The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO) - after the first waft of lemon meringue pie-like lickability - has hardly any sillage at all. You have to get up close to smell it. This is a good thing.
From The Candy Perfume Boy Blog:
"The Sexiest Scent pairs an Earl Grey-like bergamot note with cedar wood, vanillin and ISO E Super, a woody aroma chemical that adds lift and a plush texture. The result is an understated fragrance with a fuzzy texture that feels sparkly, smooth, and as the name would suggest, really quite sexy. It should be mandatory for everyone to have a bottle of this stuff in their wardrobe, even if it did result in a population increase…"
“The Sexiest Scent is a remarkable essay in restraint. It shows that something soft, subtle and relatively quiet can be phenomenally enjoyable and incredibly satisfying to wear. It’s one of those perfumes that wears as an aura with moderate sillage but excellent longevity and its addictive nature means that one finds themselves with their wrist firmly pressed against their nose for large portions of the day. In summary, this stuff is excellent, but I suppose you’re all wondering whether it’s sexy or not and I guess the only answer I can give to that question is – “hell to the yes”
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Citral, Limonene, Linalool.
Perfumery dialect: Woody oriental gourmande
top notes: bergamot
heart notes: woods
base notes: vanilla/ambergris
An Oriental fragrance, according to the world of perfumery, is not one which started life in the East. No, it’s a French early 20th Century vision of an Oriental woman, often Japanese. So when one of our friends wanted a real Eastern fragrance for a real Oriental woman, we went for something rather more unmistakably exotic.
Its amber base is made with sticky dark labdanum and soft vanillin. Then we throw the whole spice market at it: frankincense, patchouli, pink pepper, juniper berries, tangerines, holy basil, cedar, cardamon and cocoa, and the scent of freshly squeezed oranges.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Citral, Eugenol.
Perfumery dialect: Amber Oriental
top notes: basil/tangerine/juniperberry
heart notes: Atlas cedarwood/pink peppercorn/cardamom/frankincense
base notes: amber/patchouli/cocoa absolute
Sunshine and Pancakes
Sunshine and Pancakes is the scent of sun on your warm skin towards the end of the day on a British beach, when you’re packing up the buckets and spades and walking to the pancake shop.
In perfumers’ terms, Sunshine and Pancakes is difficult to define as there’s nothing else quite like it. It might be an Oriental fragrance, with its benzoin and vanilla base; it’s soft but not that sweet. And it doesn’t smell the slightest bit eastern.
It has a heart of rosewood, Australian sandalwood and sacred jasmine, to capture the scent of warm skin. The woods are there for the effect though, not as a feature, and it doesn’t really smell of wood.
Then the pancakes: lemon and orange and real honey absolute for a fresh, tasty top note that makes you lick your lips. So perhaps it’s a gourmande – a scent that smells of tasty food - but the pancake bit is quite subtle – plus they are British pancakes, the sort with no sugar in the batter.
Oh who are we kidding? Really it’s all about warm bodies. We pretend it’s about pancakes, but it’s about the sensuality of sunkissed skin. Oops, we said that out loud.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Farnesol, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate.
Perfumery dialect: Woody citrus gourmande oriental?
top notes: lemon/orange
heart notes: Australian sandalwood/rosewood/jasmine
base notes: vanilla/honey/musk/benzoin
Tart's Knicker Drawer
Tart’s Knicker Drawer is a supremely sophisticated floral amber oriental of the old style. Powder, lipstick and cocktail dresses. Women can wear it too.
One day in the lab we were filtering six different fragrances at once. Sarah tweeted, “I’m about to get in the E3 bus smelling like a tart’s boudoir”. The replies came back, “You should make it!” “I’d like to smell that one” “Can I buy some?” so the next day, she sat down and blended some versions of all six. One of them was a sophisticated smooth rather grown-up powdery perfume. That’s the one we chose, and the name is the phrase her gran used to describe women wearing too much scent. The sort who went out after seven o’clock at night and were obviously up to no good. Absolutely.
At the same time, it’s our most complex, but probably the most easily wearable.
Ingredients: Farnesol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Benzyl Cinnamate, Eugenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Isoeugenol.
Perfume dialect: floriental amber
top notes: bergamot/orange/grapefruit/pink peppercorn/
heart notes: raspberry/rose/jasmine/sandalwood/cedarwood/violet/tuberose/guiacwood
base notes: amber/musk/vanilla/benzoin/tobacco
Tokyo Spring Blossom
(the perfume also known as Urura's Tokyo Cafe)
The scent of a warm spring breeze blowing through blossom. We first made this for a charity event in Tokyo at Urura's tiny Green Ginger Cafe and it turns out that her name means exactly that – the breeze through spring blossoms.
You’ll smell citrus top notes – pink grapefruit and tangerine - deep warm opoponax, tolu balsam, and raspberry jam at the base, rose, violet and woods at its heart, but all blended so smoothly that it's hard to separate them.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Farnesol, Citral, Benzyl Cinnamate, Cinnamal, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol.
Perfume dialect: floral fruity oriental
top notes: pink grapefruit/mandarin
heart notes: violet/rose
base notes: raspberry leaf/opoponax
What I Did On My Holidays
What I Did On My Holidays is the story of a day at the seaside, but this time it’s summer holidays in Scarborough or Brighton or St Anne’s – somewhere with an amusement arcade, mint rock shop and a candy floss stand.
Suntan lotion and rock pools, in and out of the sea all day until the wind gets too strong, the waves are too high and you put your shorts and T-shirt back on, over your slightly damp cooling skin, and head for the café.
Lavender and coconut lotion, seaweed and fresh sea air, a waft of peppermint as you pass the rock shop. There’s candy floss - as you walk through the funfair - and it all settles down to nice vanilla ice cream.
“Take a pierrot line of melting Neapolitan ices, creamy whorls of dusty pink, pistachio, gold and vanilla. Then fold in green cucumbery notes of sea breeze, rock pools and crab teas; pink sticky watch-your-fillings peppermint rock; coconut suntan oil from the pre-SPF era; and the yellow haze of sunshine filtered through Bank Holiday traffic fumes and serenaded by the melancholy Sunday afternoon chimes of the Mr Softee van. Does this have you reaching for your purse? I’ll take two, please!” Lemon Wedge blog
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate.
Perfume dialect: Gourmande aquatic fougère (possibly?)
top notes: mint/coconut suntan lotion/sea air
heart notes: lavender/candy floss
base notes: vanilla
Fruits of the Tree of Knowledge
(the perfume formerly known as What Katie Did on Friday Night)
A rich fruity fragrance which we've only just realised smells just like cherry jam. We've been smelling it and driving ourselves nuts trying to put our finger on it. It took scent fan and perfume blogger Maria Angelidou to point it out. A big vat of simmering cherries, deeply fruity, slightly tart, with a light freshness on top.
That's the thing about making perfume. What you put in isn't what you get out, not if you do it right.
We've released three different versions of Katie, after our friend comissioned a bespoke perfume for his girl. This is the one we're happy with, so happy that we've also made the deeply jammy extrait version and the lighter, fresher eau de toilette.
So how do we create a cherry jam fragrance? Not with cherries. It's not yet possible to squash and bottle them to use in perfume. (Although one company had a go then gave up.) What we did was to blend citrus essential oils, flowers, woods and raspberry. We're pleased with its scrumptiousness.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol.
Perfume dialect: fruity floral
top notes: grapefruit/lemon/yuzu/cucumber/watermelon
heart notes: cherry/rose/violet/raspberry
base notes: sandalwood
Who Knew? started its life as an adventure, exploring perfumery materials which aren’t generally used together, just to see what happens. This one has been a slow burner. It’s not got one of the terrifically catchy names, and it doesn’t stand out as something that everyone needs to try. There are lots of dark rose fragrances out there. Suffice to say, ours is different, mostly because of the deep dark green tea absolute. People smell this, ignore it, come back to it then fall head over heels in love.
Katie, whose perfume this is, said she’d try anything except roses, because she really didn’t like roses. Except it turned out that she does – if you use them the right way - hence the name.
The base is smoky vetivert, benzoin, a touch of vanilla and that green tea absolute we mentioned, which smells a bit like chocolate. The effect is rose petal lapsang souchong tea.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Citral.
Perfume dialect: Smoky roses.
top notes: strawberry/cut grass
heart notes: rose/geranium
base notes: vetivert/vanilla/green tea/lapsang souchong
The Vintage Cities
A collection of perfumes, made with materials that were around at the time we’ve dated them.
(With the occasional animal, threatened, endangered or banned ingredients replaced with friendly ones of course.)
For London 1969 we made three blends: Hyde Park, King’s Road and Soho. Hyde Park is open, light, sunny and smooth, and uses the new – at the time – synthetic “Hedione” named after hedonistic pleasure; it makes up about 16% of jasmine’s natural fragrance. Our groovy, optimistic King’s Road is full of citrus fruits and eastern influences. Soho is London’s darker side, with animalic notes of ambergris, patchouli and musk.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol.
Perfume dialect: fruity woods
Top notes: orange/lemongrass/grapefruit/mandarin/cedrat
Heart notes: Moroccan cedarwood/sandalwood/incense/lavender/violet
Base notes: Indian patchouli/labdanum and musk.
New York 1955
One of our favourite vintage 1950s scents was Coty’s Chantilly, named after the French town famous for its whipped cream and intricate lace. It’s a soft strawberry and cream perfume, decorated with crystalised rose and rich with soft sweet musks.
For New York 1955 we’ve transported the desert theme over the Atlantic to a New York milk bar, turned up the volume, piled it with vanilla ice cream and raspberries, loaded it with candy floss, crystalised roses and violets, and smoothed it with soft, huggable musks and ambergris.
“New York 1955 is very nicely done and I personally find it incredibly satisfying to wear. The gourmand facets of rose and violet are perfectly presented, and manage to be ditzy and sweet whilst never becoming cloying or puerile. It also has a distinctly retro vibe that is instantly evocative of squeaky-tiled ice cream parlours filled to the brim with bright neon signs and dish upon dish of pastel-shaded sundaes. Everything about New York 1995 is fun and delicious – so much so in fact, I’d happily sit down and enjoy two great big scoops rather than one. After all, pleasures like this are best enjoyed without measure.” Candy Perfume Boy
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citral, Limonene.
Perfume dialect: floriental gourmande
Top notes: candy floss.
Heart notes: raspberry, rose, violet
Base notes: vanilla, musk
So many of the great chypres – all made with a blend of oakmoss, patchouli, bergamot and other deep naturals - have disappeared, too expensive or complex for today’s tastes. They’ve also been described as ‘too dirty’ for the US mass market (surely a good thing?). Here’s one inspired by the Paris masters - working in the late 1940s as their industry was able to start creating once again - with rich heart, a fruity top and a soul of pure oakmoss.
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss) Extract, Farnesol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate.
Perfume dialect: classic chypre
Top notes: peach, grapefruit, basil
Heart notes: rose, cedarwood, orange blossom, rosewood, honey
Base notes: oakmoss, hay, musk, labdanum
White flowers are the tiny ones which fill the air with fragrances after sunset, with their languid sensual scents that attracts creatures of the dark. For Rome 1963 we worked with Italian stylist Silvia Bergomi to create her fragrant vision of a perfume Guiletta would wear in Fellini’s film Giulietta degli Spiriti, chic and sensual. Watching the film, in which two elegantly dressed and made up women take their bicycles into the pine woods, and are raised into a tree house to sunbathe naked with beautiful young men, it seems to capture the mood rather nicely. Men and women both like this, on themselves and on each other.
"Rome 1963 feels undeniably feminine, but never too sweet, just knowing and pleased of its own particular beauty. I have been wearing Rome 1963 almost every day since receiving it, and I absolutely adore it. It feels almost secretive and purely for my own enjoyment or whomever I feel worthy of sharing it with. It stays very close to my skin almost throughout, but I continue to catch glimpses of its white floral beauty for hours after first applying and I can never resist taking a moment to myself to my wrist to savor it.” BGirlRhapsody
Ingredients: Alcohol, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Farnesol, Geraniol, Benzyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Isoeugenol.
Perfume dialect: white flowers and woods
Top notes: bergamot/chocolate
Heart notes: tuberose/ylang ylang/jasmine/cedarwood
Base notes: tobacco/patchouli
Sarah McCartney | perfumer | 4160Tuesdays
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