I was looking at some iPhone photos and videos on the TV last night with the family when a photo of our old terrace on our 13th floor apartment in Montenegro came up on the screen. Obviously taken as the sun was going down, two little sweaty faces beamed up at the camera, the heat so strong that it seemed to radiate off the 3 year-old photo and straight into our living room.
For a moment, there was silence as we all gazed rapt at the screen. Then, from deep within me, came a noise halfway between the groan of a dying cow and a barely-suppressed sob. “Mama, don’t,” hissed my 7 year-old son.
Too late, son, too late. Time for my daily rant. The weather in Ireland is awful. The rain goes sideways. That’s not natural, right? Our rain defies the laws of physics. And it’s always raining. It’s cold, too. It’s so cold that my body thinks the Ice Age is coming and starts to pad out my hips and butt until I’m as insulated as a sumo wrestler. There are 102 words as Gaeilge for rain, and 1423 ways of combining those words to mean that it’s raining. Calling the 1st February the start of spring is an extra special kind of bullshit to which I cannot subscribe. In fact, if Ireland was a newsletter, I’d have unsubscribed ages ago. I want to move to Gran Canaria.
Eh, I’ll be ok – I usually stop whining when the temperature hits the national average summer temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. But there’s no denying that this winter has been particularly brutal. And long (it began a good six months ago). This is the time of year when the transportative power of perfume is most important, I think, helping us to bridge that lull between the thawing of the ice and the bursting forth of new growth.
4160 Tuesdays’ new fragrance, Freeway, an exclusive composition for Luckyscent to help celebrate its 15th anniversary, is the perfect antidote to these seasonal doldrums. Featuring an unusually well-calibrated orange blossom note – pure, bright, fizzy, and almost minty – over an interesting black rubber, it has a decidedly urban edge that places it in the same wheelhouse as Lush’s Kerbside Violet and Comme des Garcons’ Gosha Rubchinskiy. In all three of these fragrances there’s a nod towards hot pavement, asphalt, or the turn of a sneaker on hot tar, that serves to “corrupt” the other more innocent notes.
What this urban element does for orange blossom cannot be praised enough. It takes the sugary, almost childish loveliness of orange blossom and scuffs it up a bit, so that what you finally smell is a single flower pushing its way up through cracks in a pavement, cross-pollinated by tarmacadam. It doesn’t smell ugly or dirty, though – it’s a hint of the city rather than the full high-rise.
Sarah McCartney’s signature fruity fizz is present, giving the scent its sense of fun and playfulness. Her vision for Freeway was a time in the future when “all cars are solar powered and the Freeways have cycle lanes, orange groves, jasmine hedgerows, and picnic areas.” Unusually, I can smell every single bit of her inspiration in the scent itself. It smells as sunnily and juicily optimistic as one imagines hedgerows of orange blossom might be in the warm Californian sunshine, but there are also interesting wafts of rubber and car exhaust.
Clear images of who might wear this jump to mind: a group of kids (and kidults) hanging out at the skater park – they’re a bit punk (or at least pretend to be), have interesting tats in interesting places, and prefer graffiti to flowers.
There’s a wonderful ice-cream note in the drydown that whips me away from LA and towards Old Europe, and specifically, a small ice-cream parlor in Uzès, France, where in 2011, I worked my way steadily through a selection of gelato made with flowers from Grasse – rose, lavender, orange blossom, and jasmine. The drydown of Freeway reminds me very much of the orange blossom gelato, crossed with a suggestion of Le Gibassier, a sweet broche style bread doused with orange blossom water and sugar while it’s smoking hot. The mixture of the floral and the edible is great. Mix in a bit of the rubbery, sweet leather from Bvlgari Black, and you have me where you want me.
See? Even writing about Freeway puts me in a good mood. It’s freezing outside, but I don’t care. I got that sunshine in my pocket, got that good soul in my feet, sings Justin Timberlake, and this could be the theme tune to Freeway, easily. Freeway feels cheeky to me. It takes the relentless optimism of orange blossom and tones it down with hot rubber, eau de biker jacket, and melting ice-cream, tossing in a hint of plimsoll for good measure. I’m not sure it’s enough to stop me wanting to move to Gran Canaria, but it’s making me feel about 60% better about living on this Godforsaken, rain-battered excuse of an island. And right now, that’s enough.
Freeway by 4160 Tuesdays is available exclusively through Luckyscent (here), which is where I obtained my sample.