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  1. We're at two pop-ups at the moment, one in Belgravia at 6-7 Motcombe Street, right by a very handy Waitrose we didn't know was there, and another at the top end of Regent Street just by the BBC. 

    The first is with our friends at Lone Design Club, champions of the indie brand, from jewellery to jackets, shoes to soap bars. It's a lovely light airy space and Motcombe Street is a pedestrian area now, with cafes and rather posh shops to stare at.

    The second is with Brityard, new to us, champions of quality British stuff. Their place also has a cafe and a cheese bar so obviously we plan to move in. You'll find it at Remo House, 310 to 312 Regent Street, London W1, and we're there for at least the next three months. We don't have the entire range at either shop, but we have Taster Sets and our book for presents, and eight of our most autumnal fragrances for you to cover yourselves with, and for gifts if you're feeling spectacularly jealous.  

    Some of you might know already that getting into shops in the UK with an independent perfume brand is a noghtmare, so we love a pop-up. Only yesterday our marvellous accountant wanted us to reassure him that we would never, ever open a shop, so this is the perfect solution for us. If you can't make it to our temorary gigs, you can always come to see us at our Hammersmith home, as long as you check first that we're going to be in. 

    If you plan to visit either Motcomb Street or Regent Street, let us know and we'll aim to get there to say hello.20231026_184657

  2. Screenshot_20231024_221115_LinkedIn

    Over the last four months we've had the most bonkers project in the history of 4160Tuesdays, making four car fragrances for Dacia, the Romanian car company with a sense of humour.

    Here is the whole story on the Dacia website. It's really worth watching the spoof commercial.

    Anyway, two weeks ago they sent over three top notch press photographers; they entirely rearranged the studio and asked me look alternately serious and smiley, and somewhere in between, like this one, which is my favourite. Me looking baffled, with a 1950s analogue balance on the left (which I keep ready for the apocalypse) dropping Silk, Lace & Chocolate Eau de Parfum over and over into the same flask. Also, they hadn't told me I was going to be in the photographs which was just as well, or I might have worried in advance.

    I was sworn to secrecy, so I could only hint about what we were up to; in fact I had to make four fragrances to scent printed pieces of board the size and shape of your average beer mat but not as absorbent, then devise a formula that would stay in place. Then we had to apply it to 4 x 1000 of them. Currently the studio pretty much smells of Calone, thyme and cheese and I'm going to have to replace the table coverings.

    But not to worry, I ended up in the Shropshire Star, so there's one more life goal achieved! 

    Now I am back in the lab doing normal perfume things again, but creating The Jurassic Coast with fossils and ice cream, The Highland 500 with haggis, the Coastal Path with seaweed, or the Cheddar Gorge with cheese was an adventure.

    I would like to say that this is not the normal life or an indie perfumer, but I have started to redefine normal. 

    Ten years!
    🇮🇹 🇮🇹 🇮🇹 🇮🇹
    October 2013. We had just moved into our Acton studio and I got a call about making a perfume for Perroni Nastro Azzurro's 50th Birthday for the House of Italian Style.
    At the time, this was the ultimate brand experience, a takeover of the Institute of Physics in Regent Street (a few bemused physicists were found wandering through the cocktail bar, which was usually their library).
    I had a day to make a perfume with the wonderful Italian stylist @silviabergomi who was invited by Peroni to be the creative director. I admit I'd been a bit scared, until Silvia arrived and announced that this was her dream come true.
    The fragrance was to be based on a scene from Fellini's Giulietta degli Spiriti, featuring tuberose, ylang-ylang, tobacco absolute and cedar. A hot day in a pine forest, with a secret tree house love nest.
    It was displayed in a Venetian blue glass bottle with a long long stopper.
    "Don't buy it," I said, "It'll get broken." They ignored me and it was smashed in less than 24 hours. A litre of fragrance soaked into the Institute of Physics carpet. It probably still wafts reminiscences of Suzy and her seductive ways.
    And so Rome 1963 came to be. At the time is was pretty unusual, but in the last 10 years adventurous perfumery has become less of a surprise. I made it with materials which were all available in 1963, so it could have been made then - vintage style, with authentic ingredients.
    Batch 3 has been sitting there gradually getting smoother. Whenever you're ready for it, we'll bottle some for you.
  4. There are so many conspiracy theories bouncing around the internet about how perfume contains some dreadful  secret ingredients which are going to murder them in their beds. Usually they are started by brands who want to sell something new, and think that the way to do it is by spreading fear about their rivals' products. 

    It never seems to cross those people's minds that everyone who works in perfumery wants their customers to be safe and happy, and to live long, healthy lives. Nor do they bother asking if perfumers - who work with these materials every day - are mysteriously dropping like flies from unidentified ailments. (We aren't.) But yet, they spread silly stories about "chemicals" and "toxins" when we're all made of chemicals and toxins are made by plants.

    So Arthur and I made a film full of facts, and some opinions too, which you might like to watch when you've for a spare moment or several.

  5. The first part of this post is the scientific "we're doomed" bit and the second part is the "mustn't grumble", let's make the best of it and crack on with the new arrangements. Feel free to skip straight to part two.

    We're doomed!

    It's all very well our leaders telling us that it's fine to go outside now as long as you stay alert. It's not. That's like telling us it's fine to go tightrope walking if you like, as long as you try not to fall off, when the people holding both ends of the tightrope can't be relied on not to let go.

    I'm a fully fledged paid up nerd. I studied applied maths and statistics at A Level and I know what an R level is. I also know that it's only below 1 because lots of us stayed indoors for two months. As soon as we all go out, it's predicted to go back up to 5.7. Everyone I know who was shielding is staying shielded. (In my other life, we're probably going to be doing online yoga until at least 2022.)

    It's still not safe, and the more people try to do things the way they used to, the less safe it gets; we need to consider that 4160Tuesdays will never go "back to normal" so we're looking at this constructively, and planning ways to go "sideways to different", or "forward to unusual". It's just not going to be back to normal because there is no normal and time can't go backwards.

    The big picture is that this won't be the only pandemic, and probably not even the only coronovirus. The more the human race digs up rainforests and encounters animals we've not met before, the more likely we are to catch and spread previously unknown diseases. Unless we stop that, there's going to be another. That's not speculation; it's probability.

    The practicalities are that our studio is small; we could in theory have four people in for a workshop while social distancing, except that this doesn't really work over time. If you're in the same room for four hours, it doesn't matter how far apart you sit. We couldn't serve you tea, you coudn't touch any shared spaces or objects, and we'd all have to wear face masks. You can't wear a face mask and smell a perfume. It's not possible.

    If someone who had been there turned out to be carrying the Covid-19 virus, then we'd have to close the building for 14 days, keep everyone isolated, contact all the visitors and get them (and their families) to isolate for 14 days too. 

    Someone asked this week when we're going to reopen for events, saying they don't think there will be a second wave. It must be lovely to believe that, but there will be a second wave and we're not going to be part of spreading it it we can help it.

    Mustn't grumble!

    We've spent the last few weeks making films, bottling materials and rewriting our workbooks, so that all our perfume making customers can have their classes at home instead of our upstairs space at 42A Raynham Road.

    If you've been to one of them you'll know that our workshops are interactive, chatty, enquiring and creative. You use our professional quality materials - the ones we use to make our own fragrances - and you find out exactly what's in what you make.

    Unlike some perfume-making experiences, we don't restrict you to ready-made blends which will all combine easily to make a pleasant aroma. We set you free to have an adventure if that's what you want, and guide you towards making something beautiful and usual. We don't have a strict "three from the top, three from the middle, three from the bottom" structure because that's not what happens in real perfumery. I'm tempted to think that some of the Grasse perfume houses who developed this method did it to bury the secrets of perfumery even deeper under layers of obfuscation.

    This means that getting ours together online has been much trickier than the highly structured versions, but I think we've cracked part one. It's a collection of 11 materials including citrus and woods with vanilla and neroli, as these are by far the popular materials used in our classes. Each kit contains enough to make three x 15 ml of fragrance, so it's good for a small group get-together. The second one up will have materials to make 6 x bottles of perfume, and plenty left over to practise your smelling skills.

    First we're offering the kits to people who had already booked workshops, and next we're letting them out to people who were planning to book, but then had the rug pulled from under their feet.

    We're also running Brick Walls & Flaming Hoops online, for people who are planning to set up their own perfume brand. I'm even taking to Zoom for that one. 

    I'm sorry to say that it doesn't look as if we'll see you in person for a while, but I hope you'll join in with one of these. We also have our Scenthusiasm online scent community on Patreon, of course, for people who want to learn about perfume all the time.

    I hope you're all looking after yourselves. Waving you fragrant wishes from Hammersmith.

    Sarah & Team Tuesdays


    PS Our dad went to school in Barnard Castle in the Bowes Museum, because Middlesbrough High School was evaculated there during the war. All the same, I'm not planning to visit any time soon.