It’s really heating up here in the Kingdom of the United. Friday was the hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury making its way up to a rather scorching 27ºC (that’s 80ºF to my American counterparts). I spent the day soaking up the sun at Wireless festival, enjoying the melodic tones of Pharrell Williams and the egotistical rants of Kanye West. Many people however, would have flocked to the coast to top up their Vitamin D levels on one of the countries many beaches.
I do love a good beach, but I must admit that I am not a fan of sunbathing – my short attention span makes sure of that (it’s so short, in fact, that it’s a miracle that I managed to make it to the end of that last sentence). Thankfully for me, Britain offers an array of coastlines ranging from the full-on seaside resorts, complete with candy floss, beach huts and donkey rides to the abandoned sand dunes of almost-forgotten beaches in the farthest corners of the country.
In this piece, I take a look at some of my favourite seaside perfumes. Fragrances that are evocative of the beach, whether that be the hot sands of an exotic getaway or the cold shingle of a British seaside town – there’s even a fragrance that conjures up the image of an alien landscape – a beach on the planet Venus. So pack your sunglasses and your bucket and spade, ’cause we’re going on a short summer holiday and a scented tour of the world’s smelliest beaches.
Sex sells, as they say, and the world of perfume is certainly no exception. We are constantly bombarded with hyper-sexualised images of men and women, gently caressing perfume bottles and writhing around in faux wind-machine-assisted ecstasy, all just to spur us to part with cash at our local branch of Debenhams. Some brands go even further and play with the naked form in a deliberately shocking way, like Tom Ford with his verging-on-the-obscene Terry Richardson ad campaign for Tom Ford for Men, for example, or even Yves Saint Laurent and their slightly more tasteful, but still completely full frontal print ad for M7 (both NSFW links courtesy of Mr. Ford’s artistic direction, FYI).
But what makes a perfume sexy? Well, one would think that the answer to this question is entirely subjective, and in reality I think that is most likely to be the case. I imagine our idea of ‘sexiness’ in scent to be similar to the appearance of love potions in the world of Harry Potter (bear with me here), where the smell that each potion exudes is unique to the individual that sniffs it, depending on what they find attractive in a person. To put it another way – one man’s sexy fragrance is another’s olfactory cold shower, and it would be true to say that many supposedly ‘sexy’ scents fail to deliver, whereas the most seductive scents seem to be those that aren’t necessarily billed as such – sexy surprises, if you will.
One fragrance that makes rather bold claims about being ‘hot’ is 4160 Tuesdays’ ‘The Sexiest Scent on the Planet. Ever. (IMHO)‘. Well, that’s what one would think from the name, but in reality this perfume, which was originally created by perfumer Sarah McCartney as a base for her Gin Garden scent and inadvertently named by a Tatler journalist, has a moniker that is served with tongue pressed firmly in cheek. The truth however, is that this fragrance is wonderfully executed, delicious and one of the easiest scents to wear on the planet. Ever.
4160 Tuesdays is an exciting niche brand, there’s no denying it. Perfumer Sarah McCartney successfully blends British eccentricity, good-quality ingredients and unique accords to create perfumes that are unusual, fun and unsurprisingly, rather beautiful. It’s hard not to fall for the charm of a perfume brand that is founded on the principle of not-wasting away one’s days and doing something different with those 4160 Tuesdays one has before reaching the ripe old age of 80 – I certainly have.
I therefore, could not resist an invitation to Sarah McCartney’s London studio this past weekend for ‘The Wall of Scent’, a regular event scheduled at 4160 Tuesdays HQ as an introduction to the world of perfume; it’s families, ingredients and masterpieces. It’s an informative day that allows one, no matter whether they’re an expert or a novice, to really get to grips with the way perfumes are made and some of the raw materials, whether natural or ‘synthetic’, that are used in making the perfumes one wears on a day-to-day basis.
It’s that time of year where we all start to put together our Christmas wish lists for Santa, or as I like to call him – ‘Nigel’. Being the perfume nuts that we are means that beloved family and friends can sometimes struggle to pick fragrances out as gifts for us, after all we’re a selective (read: ‘picky’) bunch by nature and nobody would want us to open up a gift that we would deem as unsuitable on the big day.
To mitigate the chances of a botched perfume purchase at Christmas I supply a perfume wish list to my partner and my father every year. The other members of my family family flatly refuses to buy me any perfume, stating that I have “too much” and it’s “bordering on an obsession”. Who knows what they’re smoking, but I can always rely on my dad and Nigel (if he’s in a good mood) to pick something from my carefully selected list.
Desert Island Sniffs may only be a fledgling series on The Candy Perfume Boy but it is already becoming this blogger’s absolute favourite. Exploring a life through scent is a fascinating way to understand what makes an individual tick and those that are working within the perfume industry live perhaps the most fragrant and intriguing lives of them all.
If you’re not familiar with the series (you can find other episodes here), the concept is simple; each month one prominent member of the perfume industry is asked to select 5 perfumes that they would take with them should they unfortunately be marooned on a desert island – their ‘Desert Island Sniffs’.
The perfumes they choose should be those that have had a significant impact on their scented lives and map specific points in their journey of olfactory discovery. In addition to their 5 Desert Island Sniffs one is kind enough to allow them to take a luxury item (only one, mind) and a ‘perfume bible’ to keep them company. By the end of this series there is going to be some rather fabulously smelling desert islands out there!
When spending a significant portion of one’s time reviewing new launches from both mainstream and ‘niche’ (a word that seems to mean less and less nowadays) houses, it’s not too difficult to find oneself craving something entirely new – perfumes that, unlike many, quietly assert themselves as genuinely fresh and interesting. Is it too much to ask for a breath of fresh every now and then?
4160 Tuesdays is a brand that feels different and approaches things from an entirely new angle. With a touch of British eccentricity, each of the 4160 Tuesdays perfumes tells a story – a series of olfactory novellas if you will – and believe me when I say that these are stories well worth listening to.
Created by writer, perfumer and ex-Lush employee (where she worked as head writer for 14 years) Sarah McCartney, the 4160 Tuesdays’ ethos is simple: “If we live to until we’re 80, we have 4160 Tuesdays. That’s all. Let’s not waste them“. Let’s spend that time making and appreciating the most beautiful things we can.
Two of the most enjoyable stories told by 4160 Tuesdays are Urara’s Tokyo Cafe (a scent made for a charity event held at the aforementioned cafe) and Sunshine and Pancakes (“the ideal 1970s British holiday at the seaside”). So, if you’re all sitting comfortably I shall begin to tell you about two captivating stories…