For all of you who are regular readers, you will know that I am at the stage in my perfume journey where I become infatuated with scents on a regular basis. I believe it is a phase that all perfumistas go through, before the sheer number of new releases begins to wear a little thin. I am enthusiastic by nature, so when I come across a fragrance that challenges me and fuels my imagination I write as I feel. The thrill of discovery is still providing me with the rush that I crave. Give me another year and maybe I’ll be a little more picky with my adoration.
I am self aware enough to realise that although the experience of a perfume may be intense at the time, it is unlikely that I will be wearing said perfume on a regular basis. I think I know straight away, the moment a scent touches my skin whether it’s going to push all my buttons. A little like visiting an art gallery, you appreciate the art, become involved in the experience, but you know which pieces you’d take home to hang on your wall. I only review perfume that engages my interest in a positive way, but of the twenty odd fragrances I’ve written about so far, there are only five or six that I love enough to wear.
These perfumes I love for different reasons. They provoke memories, they give me confidence, they clothe me like a costume. They relax me, or invigorate me, or help me to think. Each scent has a purpose, fits a mood, suits an environment. For me choosing perfume has become just as important as choosing clothes. I am an epic over thinker, my inner monologue is constant and at times intensely irritating. Everything becomes a fairy tale in my mind, it’s why I love to write, but sometimes something just is what it is. Simple beauty is a concept that rubs my mind up the wrong way, but my soul rejoices in it because the opportunity to silence the incessant chattering is right there for the taking. Just experience and enjoy. It’s something I do not do enough.
This brings me to the subject of this review, a perfume called ‘Sunshine and Pancakes’ from a wonderfully fresh and inspiring London based perfume house named 4160 Tuesdays. For your information, 4160 is the number of Tuesdays we will have if we all live until we are eighty. Sarah McCartney, founder and perfumer, believes we should be making the most of them. Previously head writer for Lush, hers are words that I have been reading faithfully since I was thirteen years old. Since retiring from ‘solving other people’s problems’ as her Lush Times alter ego Auntie Pamela, she has been writing novels and making perfume for loved ones. At some point she must have realised she was damn good at it, and 4160 Tuesdays was born.
I chose ‘Sunshine and Pancakes’ for review because I’ve had an experience with this perfume that until now I have been lacking. An experience of pure joy. I have actually struggled to find words to express the way that this perfume makes me feel, not because it is overly emotional or complex, quite the opposite really. This perfume doesn’t trigger any scent memories or conjure up a story for me to tell you. When I dabbed it onto my skin and sat with my nose pressed to my wrist, I just felt really, really happy to be smelling it. Six hours later I was still just so enchanted by it, I wanted to put it on like a wooly jumper, or climb into a bed with it, or run through a field full of it. I wanted to eat it, shower in it, spray everyone else with it. ‘Sunshine and Pancakes’ is simply lovely.
I suppose you’d like to know how it smells. Well that’s very simple too. It opens with a tart lemon zing of freshly squeezed juice, tangy sharp and sunny yellow. This goes on for a while and you think “oh this is nice, this is fresh.” Then the scent becomes a little honeyed and sweet, still very light. Again this continues for a while, warm sunshine through the curtains on a summers morning.
Vanilla arrives all melting and mouthwatering, not too much, never too sickly. Jasmine floats through the window on the breeze, smelt from a distance, the animalic, sexy thrust of it’s concentrated form filtered by the citrus and vanilla into gauzy prettiness.
Then all of a sudden a heart of cedar opens in the airy brightness, settling the perfume into delicious, warm, woody sweet joy that stretches on and on for hours. I continually caught whiffs of scent through the whole afternoon, my husband came home and said that the house smelt yummy. I kept raising my wrist to my nose and the only word that came was “good. I smell good.”
I put more on. I could happily have continued to cover my entire body in it until the little sample vial was empty. Only the fact that I wanted to wear it again tomorrow held me back. Yet more happiness comes in the form of the price tag. At £40 for a 30ml bottle, I can own this perfume as soon as my next pay check arrives. And I shall own it to be sure. I might just pull off the top and empty it over my head in one go, then order another one.
I am thrilled to have discovered ‘Sunshine and Pancakes’. Part of it’s joy is that is so accessible. I feel no pang of resentment that such beauty is out of my reach, as I have with other, ludicrously expensive niche perfumes. Sarah McCartney had created something here that ticks every single one of my boxes, although on paper I initially thought I would find it a little dull. How wrong I was. How speechless I have been rendered. Her voice, that I have heard though the pages of the Lush Times for so many years, has acquired even more strength and individuality in the form of her fragrances. Sarah McCartney should be applauded for setting herself completely apart with such fresh, beautiful scent making. I believe that she has an understanding of human nature that is rare. We all need perfume that makes us feel good in the most uncomplicated way, it reminds us to stop occasionally and just be happy. To cater for the simple pleasures in life rather than making a bold, artistic statement is brave in the ever expanding market of ‘niche’ perfumery.
For me in particular, coming across 4160 Tuesdays has reminded me that serious and complex doesn’t always equal successful. Sarah McCartney’s perfumes are by no means gimmicky or contrived in their lightheartedness. This is scent packed with genuine and intelligent humour, presented with a smile.
In retrospect, ‘Sunshine and Pancakes’ does remind me of something. My daughter. She will be one year old in a few weeks and when I look at her little face I see pure joy shining back at me. If she remembers me smelling of this perfume then I hope her earliest memories of me will be as filled with happiness as mine are of her. Now pass me a tissue.