“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.”
– Sarah McCartney
It’s descriptions like the one above that affirm my love for London-based indie perfume house, 4160 Tuesdays. Any fragrance that can be described as “graceful, yet practical” and pairs vintage couture with wellington boots is a winner in my book, and its a style of fragrant inspiration that is the DNA of 4160 Tuesdays. The scent in question is Doe in the Snow, an incredibly special fragrance created for the wedding of “purveyor of olfactory adventures”, Odette Toilette.
Seeing as Doe in the Snow is indeed, very special, I thought I would dedicate my final review of the year (where has 2014 gone, people?!) to what is a gorgeous fragrance, and one that perfectly captures the wonderful image Sarah describes in the quote above. Doe in the Snow is further proof that there is a serious amount of magic happening within the London studio of 4160 Tuesdays. Wonderful magic that is enchanting many a nose and keeping the perfume industry an inspired, and interesting place.
Top: Grapefruit, Cedrat, Yuzu, Peach Aldehyde and Snow
Heart: Cedarwood, Rose, Jasmine and Oak
Base: Opoponax, Oakmoss, Leather and Green Tea Absolute
How Does it Smell?
Doe in the Snow opens with a chilly blast of fruits and aldehydes. Right from the word go there’s a clear tension between the bracing quality of latter and the peachy softness of the former. Everything is painted in muted, pastel shades and truly gives the impression of glistening snow crunching crisply underfoot. The fruit itself is abstract, boasting fuzzy peach facets amidst more bitter yuzu and sparkling grapefruit nuances, and never speaks as one specific fruit, instead evoking the idea of something new.
The heart is floral, but not overtly so. Again, this is a fragrance that celebrates abstraction as opposed to photorealism. At times the sweetness of rose sings out in isolation, at others the boldness of jasmine comes through, but on the whole the impression of the floral blend is of pastel flowers covered in soft sleet. That sounds rather pretty, doesn’t it? And it is.
In the base, Doe in the Snow doesn’t fall in to the clichéd chypre trap of sharp mosses and heavy patchouli, instead it displays a surprisingly light and transparent bed of supple floral leather and vibrant green tea. Surprising twists are the bread and butter of the 4160 Tuesdays oeuvre and Doe in the Snow successfully matches the familiarity of the chypre structure with something a little less expected later on. It’s twists like these that make the world of perfumery exciting, and right now there is nothing more thrilling than Sarah McCartney’s work for 4160 Tuesdays.
As promised, Doe in the Snow has a distinct vintage vibe, bringing to mind the image of those chypres from yesteryear that Sarah mentions. But that’s not to say that this fragrance feels old fashioned our out dated, far from it in fact. This is a friendly type of chypre – the kind that is likely to bring you into its bosom for a warm hug rather than send you out into the cold in a standoffish manner. Doe in the Snow may be a chypre set in a winter wonderland, but boy does it have a warm little heart.
Doe in the Snow is available in 4ml (£6), 7ml (£10), 30ml (£40), 50ml (£60) and 100ml (£90) Eau de Parfum.
I should note that, at the time of posting, Sarah is offering the 30ml size of any of her fragrances on sale for £28!
Sample, image 2 notes and quotes via 4160 Tuesdays. Image 1 via backcountrygallery.com.