New Perfume Review 4160 Tuesdays Dark Queen- The Snake Inside

One of the many interests Michelyn Camen and I share is the genre of fiction called urban fantasy. When we needed to take a break from talking about CaFleureBon things we would spend some time sharing our favorites. One series she made me aware of is written by author Faith Hunter featuring Jane Yellowrock. Jane is a Cherokee vampire hunter who hides the secret that she is a skin walker. That is a supernatural who can shift into any creature. What I enjoy about Ms. Hunter’s mythos is for Jane to turn she requires the bones of the creature she will turn into. By aligning her powers with the DNA within, she shifts. Her Cherokee ancestors called finding the DNA “the inner snake”. Throughout the series Jane shifts into many animals all by finding that coiled strand of genetic material.

Michelyn Camen

Ms. Camen commissioned four perfumes to celebrate the 10th anniversary of CaFleureBon. Of all the ones I read about there was one which interested me most, 4160 Tuesdays Dark Queen. Because it was based on Ms. Camen asking perfumer Sarah McCartney to use Jane Yellowrock as the titular dark queen which she becomes later in the series. In the CaFleureBon post announcing the perfume Ms. McCartney writes about how making a perfume focused on animalics was different for her. This is where creative direction for an independent perfumer can be so valuable. Ms. Camen knew what she wanted in a skin walker animalic. By nudging Ms. McCartney into a different style of perfume composition than she is used to, she had to find her own “inner snake”.  Dark Queen allows for her to shift into a different style while staying wholly true to who she has always been as a perfumer.

Sarah McCartney

The setting for most of the novels is New Orleans which meant this was a perfume which had to capture humid bayou nights. That is when the vampires, werewolves, witches, and skin walkers play their games. As you walk the Vieux Carre you sense the creatures around you. Your own change begins as you search for the “inner snake” of the beast within. To wear Dark Queen is to be right there.

Ms. McCartney first sets the New Orleans milieu. If you have ever spent time in the city there is a weight to the air. It amplifies the indigenous scents. Ms. McCartney evokes that as the smell of a fruity cocktail in the hand of a tourist is contrasted by the smell of the old stone of the street. Incense swirls from someplace, or someone, unseen. There is something out there you sense it. Inside you react, the beast within warns of danger. A sense of fur begins to slide through your skin. Ms. McCartney forms a brilliant accord of styrax, leather, a pinch of oud, and musks to signal this. This is where Dark Queen grabs me every time I wear it. Ms. Camen and Ms. McCartney bring the literary source into olfactory life. It’s alive! The sense of transformation into something which growls is complete. The remainder of Dark Queen stalks through an ambery woody resinous base accord. Another predator prowls the bayou.

4160 Tuesdays Dark Queen has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

In the announcement of Dark Queen Ms. McCartney writes, “it’s a fragrance that made me dig down into areas that I didn’t want to explore. I developed it reluctantly, but I’m so glad I did.” This only happens through the creative direction of Ms. Camen. I am hopeful that now that Ms. McCartney has discovered her “inner snake” for animalic styles of perfume she might choose to shift again in the future. Dark Queen is everything I could have desired from a perfume based on one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review 4160 Tuesdays Meet Me on the Corner- Deep Connections

Independent perfumer Sarah McCartney has captured specific places in many of her perfumes. Her latest release, 4160 Tuesdays Meet Me on the Corner, captures a time in olfactory amber.

Sarah McCartney

Ms. McCartney grew up in Newcastle, England during the 1970’s. Meet Me on the Corner is named after the 1971 song by the band Lindisfarne. The name is also meant to capture a day before we were all connected via our digital networks. Back then you hung out at a predetermined spot. I knew the general area my friends would be on any given night. If I was going to interact with them, I had to get to where they were. In Ms. McCartney’s case it was the corner by the local firehouse. In my case it was a couple of friend’s houses. It required you to be out in the world. It was a less-connected time but the connections that were made were deeper. Those friends I hung out with in the 70’s are still my friends over forty years later. At a guess I would assume the same is true for Ms. McCartney. That is why I found Meet Me on the Corner a perfume of deep connections.

Ms. McCartney mentions on her website that she wanted to start with the citrus chypre style of perfume popular in the day. That is a tricky thing to pull off today because you can’t use some of the key ingredients that were used back then. What happens in the hands of a talented perfumer is to take something like citrus chypre and modernize it.

It opens on an expansive opening of fresh lemon given a transparency via the jasmine of Hedione. This opening is all 2020. It is the current trend of opacity to a tee. The floral quality deepens through magnolia. It makes for a more substantial floral effect as the perfume moves backward to those 1970’s styles. It completes the trip when violet tints it purple as if under a black light causing the magnolia to glow. Now we are on the corner hanging out. Listening to music on the radio not our phones. The chypre accord straddles both time periods. Moss, patchouli, and sandalwood are the traditional components, but these are modern versions. It makes for a chypre which remembers the 70’s but lives in the present day.

As I wore Meet Me on the Corner I wasn’t so reminded of the 70’s as I was the current day. This is a modern chypre no matter the inspiration. I also was thinking of those friends who have lived through the years with me. We’ve changed into modern versions with hints of what we used to be still apparent. Meet Me on the Corner captures that ideally.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review 4160 Tuesdays Over the Chocolate Shop- Wonka-licious

One of my favorite movies is “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” I like both versions near equally. Both have visuals of the interior of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory that fire the imagination of where candy comes from. Not dreary machines and conveyor belts. No! In the Wonka world there are things like chocolate rivers where the candy bars come from. There is a fallacy that the smell of chocolate is overwhelmingly sweet. Whenever I see that river in the movie the nose in my mind’s eye doesn’t smell milk chocolate. It is rich Dutch process cocoa powder which is on my mental Scratch N’ Sniff card. That overwhelming sweetness is where way too many perfumes inspired by chocolate fall apart. The nose isn’t as gluttonous as Augustus Gloop shoveling chocolate into his mouth. Independent perfumer Sarah McCartney gets this because 4160 Tuesdays Over the Chocolate Shop is one of the best chocolate perfumes I’ve ever tried.

Sarah McCartney

Ms. McCartney was inspired by the smell of her friend’s apartment who, wait for it, lived over a chocolate shop. Early in her career at 4160 Tuesdays she made a very limited edition of Over the Chocolate Shop. It had gained a near-legendary status on the gourmand discussions within the Internet. I had chalked it up to one of those small-run productions that I was destined not to encounter.

At the end of the summer Ms. McCartney announced Over the Chocolate Shop was returning in a non-limited edition. Looked like I was going to get a chance to try it after all. What had always piqued my interest is those who had tried it, from the original release, mentioned how it was rich without being too sweet. It also displays much of what sets Ms. McCartney out among her independent perfumer peers.

If you’ve ever smelled cocoa powder it has a desiccated richness which I have not seen replicated in a perfume until the early moments of Over the Chocolate Shop. Ms. McCartney starts with that. It becomes more liquid as the mixer starts to transform the powder to thick liquid. This is a subtle inflection from powder to liquid which is enticing on my skin. At this point things could have started off down a sweet onrush to the end. Ms. McCartney blunts that momentum with the use of two nutty ingredients of praline and hazelnut. It slows the development down as both ingredients provide a toasted nuance to the chocolate which still predominates. This is where I admire Ms. McCartney’s restraint; this would have been easy to be just another too-sweet chocolate perfume. She finds a way to stand apart. In the later going the bitterness of black coffee provides another bit of nuanced contrast.

Over the Chocolate Shop has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

The gourmand sector of perfumery has still not been populated with a lot of stand-out perfumes. It is an emerging area for which I expect more to come especially over the next couple of years. Those future perfumes will have a high standard to live up to if they want to use chocolate as their keynote. Over the Chocolate has no equals in its Wonka-licious chocolatey goodness.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review 4160 Tuesdays Freeway- Driving a Block for Sorbet


I grew up in South Florida where people would drive two blocks instead of walking to the store. I have never lived in Southern California but I’ve been told it is the same. It is a silly thing, of course, to live somewhere for the weather only to avoid it by finding ways to stay out of it. On a visit to Scent Bar, in Los Angeles, independent perfumer Sarah McCartney seemed to also pick up on this. Which then turned into a perfume, 4160 Tuesdays Freeway.

Throughout 2018 in celebration of their 15th anniversary Scent Bar/Luckyscent has been commissioning a number of perfume brands to create something new. Ms. McCartney on her visit was interested in trying to capture the intersection of orange blossom and hot asphalt for Freeway. Which is a good description for the first two-thirds of Freeway. The final third turns out to be the ice cream shop nearby.

Sarah McCartney

Freeway opens with a mandarin petitgrain out front. This is not the typical lemon-tinted petitgrain which most are familiar with. Manadarin petitgrain has a completely different scent profile it comes off as a focused style of fruitiness with a bit of turpentine in the background. As Ms. McCartney allows the orange blossom to blend with the mandarin petitgrain she creates a kind of LA orange blossom accord of brilliant sunlight, orange blossom and the smell of car exhaust. The heart is composed of a sun-warmed leather car interior. Ms. McCartney uses a nice refined leather accord which she scorches with some cigarette smoke. As the top and heart accord combine the exhaust and cigarette smoke provide the hot asphalt accord. There is a pungency over the middle part of the development that is going to be off-putting to some. I am a sucker for these kinds of urban accords when done well, which it is here. What really captured my attention on the days I wore Freeway is the final accord as we have driven to an ice cream shop which only exists in LA where they make boozy fruit sorbets. Ms. McCartney adds in vanilla, rum, and more orange blossom to form a crazy so-good I hope it exists rum orange sorbet accord. This goes from urban sprawl to hipster foodie in an LA minute.

Freeway has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

A word of caution especially if the top and base accords are whetting your appetite for Freeway. The middle accord is a classic indie perfume unique accord. It was mentioned by two different people on the days I wore Freeway that I smelled like a used ashtray during the time the heart accord is on display. When it was mentioned, I sort of get that but it still felt like hot pavement to me. This is one to definitely test to see what you experience. For me it was a perfect pivot from intensely floral top to the decadent sorbet base just a couple blocks away.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Sarah Baker Perfumes Tartan- True Cedar

My days of chopping wood are long behind me but on the few occasions that I did take on that task there was a scent which I enjoyed. When you take pieces of wood which you will be drying out and quarter them with an axe there is a smell I would call “raw wood”. It still has some life to it which means there is some green quality. There is also a kind of mentholated grace note which also arises off the wood. It has a kind of energetic scent of wood. Weeks later when I would go get the dried-out pieces there was hardly anything of that left until it got tossed into the fireplace which released just the woods. The smell of a fireplace is why we still set a fire or two here in Poodlesville. There aren’t a lot of perfumes which remind me of both the raw wood and the fireplace, but Sarah Baker Perfumes Tartan manages to complete that.

Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker is a London-based artist who expanded to perfume releasing her first two in 2016 working with perfumer Ashley Eden Kessler. In 2017, she would team-up with Sarah McCartney to add two more to the line. The entire line shows a creative direction of immersion into specific themes. When I say immersion, I mean it. These are all big evocative fragrances which are geared to those who enjoy the keynotes. Tartan attracted me with its overdose of cedar. Ms. Baker and Ms. McCartney are looking for a Scottish Highlands feel but my overwhelming evocation was sitting in a leather chair next to a fieldstone fireplace.

Sarah McCartney

It is cedar which opens Tartan as Virginian and Atlas cedarwoods are combined. In this kind of concentration, it passes through the more common comparisons of pencil shavings into something with more character. I like it when cedar is used in this way. To give that raw wood feel Ms. McCartney threads through some cedar moss. After the first blast of cedar that moss forms a green network within the cedar. Then as it dries out and the cedar begins to lose some of its fresh-cut quality, leather and tobacco provide some of the fireside milieu. The cedar logs burning return with a slug of timbersilk which causes the cedar to flare up yet again as the flames rise high. A bit of labdanum provides a hint of smoke.

Tartan has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Tartan is a perfume for those who love cedar. Ms. McCartney manages to explore all there is in cedar in Tartan which turns it into a true cedar experience.

Disclosure: This review was based on sample provided by Sarah Baker Perfumes.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur 2016 Year-End Review Part 1- Overview


2016 will probably go down as a pivotal year in the perfume business. As an observer of much of the field this year I have seen change in almost every place I can see. Which leads me to believe it is also taking place behind the scenes where I am not able to know the entire story. Change like this can be unsettling which has made for some worrying trends but overall I think it has contributed to another excellent year. I smelled a little less this year than last year; 680 new perfumes versus 2015’s 686. Surprisingly the amount of new releases has also plateaued with 1566 new releases in 2016 versus 1676 last year. Maybe we have defined the amount of new perfume the market can bear. Over the next three days I will share my thoughts on the year coming to an end.

We are told in Ecclesiastes, or by The Byrds if you prefer; “To every thing there is a season” and so it is in perfume as the season of the Baby Boomers has ended and the Millennials have taken over. This younger generation is now larger, has more discretionary income, and is spending more on perfume than the Boomers are per multiple sources. While the public at large was made aware of it this year the industry could see the change coming a year, or more, prior. What that meant for 2016 as far as fragrance went was every corporate perfume entity was on a fishing expedition to see if they could be the one who lured this group of consumers towards them. The drive for this is huge because lifelong brand loyalties can be formed right now within this group. Certainly, the enduring trends of the next few years in fragrance will be determined by where they spend their money. All of that has made 2016 fascinating because at the end of the year that answer is no clearer than it was at the beginning. The prevailing themes, based on what was provided to them, is they want lighter in sillage and aesthetic, gourmand, and different. That last category is the ephemeral key I think. The brand which can find them in the place where they Periscope, Snapchat, and Instagram is going to have an advantage.

Christine Nagel (l.) and Olivier Polge

There was also generational change taking place at two of the most prestigious perfume brands, Hermes and Chanel. The new in-house perfumers for both took full control in 2016. Christine Nagel released Hermes Eau du Rhubarbe Ecarlate and Galop D’Hermes. Olivier Polge released Chanel Boy and Chanel No. 5 L’Eau. This shows both talented artists know how to take an existing brand aesthetic and make it their own.

Cecile Zarokian, Quentin Bisch, Luca Maffei (l. to r.)

The next generation of perfumers exemplified by Cecile Zarokian, Quentin Bisch, and Luca Maffei loomed large this year. Mme Zarokian did thirteen new releases in 2016 all of them distinctively delightful from the re-formulation of Faths Essentials Green Water to the contemporary Oriental Puredistance Sheiduna. M. Bisch brilliantly reinvented one of the masterpieces of perfume in Thierry Mugler Angel Muse. Sig. Maffei released ten new fragrances with Masque Milano L’Attesa, Laboratorio Olfattivo MyLO, and Jul et Mad Secrets du Paradis Rouge showcasing his range. 

There were also fascinating collaborations this year. Antonio Gardoni and Bruno Fazzolari contributed Cadavre Exquis an off-beat gourmand. Josh Meyer and Sam Rader conspired to create a Northern California Holiday bonfire in Dasein Winter Nights. Victor Wong the owner and creative director of Zoologist Perfumes was able to get the most out of independent perfumers like Ellen Covey in Bat and Sarah McCartney in Macaque.

Some of the independent perfumers I look to surprisingly released perfumes which did not please me. Thankfully there were new ones who stepped up to fill in the gap. Lesli Wood Peterson of La Curie, Ludmila and Antoine Bitar of Ideo Parfumeurs, and Eugene & Emrys Au of Auphorie did that. Chritsti Meshell of House of Matriarch made an ambitious economic move into Nordstrom while producing two of my favorites from her in Albatross and Kazimi.

The mainstream sector had another strong year as the mall continues to have diamonds hidden amongst the dross. In 2016 that meant Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon, Alford & Hoff No. 3, SJP Stash, Prada Infusion de Mimosa, Thierry Mugler Angel Muse, and Chanel No. 5 L’Eau were there to be found.

If the beginning of the year was all about rose the overall year was a renaissance for neroli perfumes. Jean-Claude Ellena’s swan song for Hermes; Eau de Neroli Dore. The afore mentioned Green Water along with Jo Malone Basil & Neroli and Hiram Green Dilettante showed the versatility of the note.

The acquisition of niche brands continued with Estee Lauder buying By Kilian and L’Oreal doing the same with Atelier Cologne. The acquisitions of Frederic Malle and Le Labo, two years ago, seem to have been positive steps for both brands. Especially seeing Le Labo in my local mall getting such a positive reception made me believe that if the good niche brands can become more available the consumer will appreciate the difference.

Tomorrow I will name my Perfume, Perfumer, Creative Director, and Brand of the Year

The next day I will reveal my Top 25 New Releases of 2016.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review 4160 Tuesdays Maxed Out- Hard Day’s Night


After reviewing independent perfumer Sarah McCartney’s collaborative Zoologist Macaque yesterday, I thought I’d review one of her fragrances for her own brand 4160 Tuesdays.

Ms. McCartney has been making perfume for about five years now. The name of her brand comes from the idea that if you live to be 80-years old you will see 4160 Tuesdays. Ms. McCartney has admirably crated a brand which is eclectic in all the best ways that adjective can be applied. She has no hesitation to take risks which also allows for her to find really great combinations in the unexpected. I had fallen behind on her latest releases because she is a prolific perfumer, too. She kindly sent me a bunch of samples to catch me up. The one I liked best was last year’s Maxed Out.

Maxed Out is a tribute to Ms. McCartney’s friend Max Heusler a perfume vlogger from New York City. Mr. Heusler had allowed perfume to replace his hard partying days as a younger man. Ms. McCartney wanted to design a perfume which reminded him of those hard charging over-the-top nights. To that end she chose to make Maxed Out an overstuffed night out.

sarah mccartney

Sarah McCartney

Maxed Out opens with a rum cocktail cut with coconut and lime. Ms. McCartney wanted Maxed Out to be decadent and right from the first moments she accomplishes this as the rum accord burns with intensity, what goes with a drink at the bar is something to smoke. Ms. McCartney provides both options as a honeyed tobacco mingles with cannabis accord. Like a snowball going downhill they pick up the rum and head for the base. There they are met with a piquant sweaty accord of musk, cumin, and black pepper. My favorite part is the final moment is a wonderfully sly wink of a coffee note to remind you of every cup at a diner just before the sun comes up.

Maxed Out has 10-12 hour longevity and as an extrait has low sillage.

Maxed Out is of a class of perfume which is almost like tossing a kitchen sink worth of notes together. It takes a lot of patience to keep all of these notes working towards an effective cohesion. Ms. McCartney does make it happen seemingly effortlessly. Ms. McCartney is one of those recent additions to the ranks of independent perfumers who blazes her own path fearlessly. I continue to look forward to what comes next.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by 4160 Tuesdays.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Zoologist Macaque- Pushmi-Pullyu

One of the great things about independent perfumery is the ability of talented people to literally follow their nose; wherever it takes them. For the most part this method leads to incredibly unique compositions. On the other hand, I am a big supporter of the advantage an active creative director can bring to a final construct. This year I have received a number of disappointing releases from some of my favorite indie perfumers. I have been wondering if they have painted themselves into a corner which they can’t see. I have also been wondering if they could benefit from a strong voice which could maybe point out that they are in a corner while offering a path out. It is mostly a rhetorical question but there has been one brand which is displaying that once in a while having another person involved in the process might be beneficial. That is Zoologist.


Victor Wong

Right at the new year founder and creative director of Zoologist, Victor Wong, provided one data point with the release of Bat where he worked with Ellen Covey. Mr. Wong and Dr. Covey formed a real partnership which lead to one of the best perfumes of this year. It was with great interest to see if Mr. Wong could do this again. The new release Zoologist Macaque shows he can.


Sarah McCartney

For Macaque indie perfumer Sarah McCartney, who works under her own brand 4160 Tuesdays, she contacted Mr. Wong to see if she could add her own fragrance to the menagerie. As she and Mr. Wong discussed what it should be she went back to her fascination with primates as a child along with her study of primatology in college. In the end they decided to render the playful Macaque as their inspiration. This is a great choice because while Ms. McCartney’s work for her own brand is fun Mr. Wong elevates Macaque to a joyful piece of perfumery.

Macaques are often found nearby temples in Asia. The most solemn of ceremonies can be witnessed from the heights of the jungle canopy while the monkeys chew on a piece of fruit cadged from a tourist. All of that has made it into Macaque. Ms. McCartney has made a mixture of fruit, resins, woods, and teas which comes together in stages.

The first stage is the fruit as apple and red mandarin form the top accord. This is the snap of red apple matched with a tart juicy mandarin. Ms. McCartney uses cedar to help define both of the fruity notes. The green of the jungle is set up by galbanum while frankincense matched with jasmine tea forms the basis for the ceremonial. The tea note turns towards a more acerbic green tea while the cedar-like white oud recapitulates the cedar from earlier. It finishes with a furry musk as our monkeys move along to a different part of the temple.

Macaque has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I enjoyed my days of wearing Macaque I got to thinking about one of the fanciful creatures from Dr. Doolittle called a Pushmi-Pullyu. It is a creature with two heads at either end. While that might seem like it could end up as a stalemate; if both ends can trust the other to take charge for short periods of time real progress can be made. With Macaque it seems as if Mr. Wong and Ms. McCartney didn’t let the presence of two heads lead to inertia instead they used it to build up momentum as they both rose to the occasion with Macaque.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Zoologist Perfumes.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review 4160 Tuesdays Pillow Talk- Intimate Whispers of Expectations

There is a subset of independent perfumers who work very strongly towards a stated brief. As a rule when these free thinkers of fragrance connect perfume to imagination they become some of my favorite perfumes. One of those independent perfumers who has achieved this repeatedly for me is Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. I reviewed three of her beach-themed perfumes a little over a year ago. I found her ability to modulate a similar theme to be one of her strongest attributes as an independent perfumer. Recently she has added two new perfumes to her The Sexiest Scent on the Planet (IMHO) to form a relationship trio. If The Sexiest Scent etc. was for the all-important third date. The two latest releases Pillow Talk and Sleep Knot are about the next phases of the relationship.

Sleep Knot is for that part of the relationship when the two of you fall into a tangle of limbs while sleeping deeply. It is a jasmine and ylang-ylang floral heart over a sweet woody base of sandalwood and cedar. It is a nicely done perfume but it felt a little too safe to me. As if the relationship could be very set in its ways. On the other hand Pillow Talk is meant to capture that exciting moment when a couple is in bed facing each other talking about their hopes and dreams. Those conversations are intimate and spoken sotto voce. The perfume Ms. McCartney has designed around that theme whispers of hopes and dreams for a future beyond the pillow.

sarah mccartneySarah McCartney

Pillow Talk has a beautifully presented energy in the top notes as yuzu and bergamot provide that moment as lovers lock eyes with excitement. They can’t wait to share their emotions and it all comes out in a rush. The yuzu has that feeling as the tart citrus energy represents that. The heart is a conversation of florals whispering different visions. The sweet motion of orange blossom. The outsized dreams of ylang-ylang. The carnality of jasmine. Ms. Mc Cartney uses natural sources for all of these florals which adds a lot of nuance. I imagined it as the body language beneath the words. The foundation of this relationship is built on a sturdy sandalwood and cedar with vanilla and black peeper added in. This base is shared across all three of the relationship fragrances. If you’re not fond of sweet synthetic woods this is what persists the longest while wearing any of these.

Pillow Talk has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Ms. Mc Cartney’s perfume names have a natural ability to already steer my mind and emotions towards an expectation before I even get a chance to sniff the fragrance. In the case of Pillow Talk I felt like we had a conversation meant for two even though we are separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Pillow Talk is definitely one of my favorites of the entire 4160 Tuesdays line.

Disclosure; this review was based on a sample provided by 4160 Tuesdays.

Mark Behnke