Our Modern Lives is a fragrance project by Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. So what it is? Well, it’s a line of 7 natural botanical-based fragrances and 2 “gentle” synthetics. What I like about it, is that it’s not born out of some marketing scheme disguised as some moralistic “chemicals are bad” propaganda. It’s from demand. Customers wanted naturals and “hypo-allergenic” fragrances so she created a line for them without confusing it with her established, mixed medium 4160 Tuesdays brand. The synthetics are there to be layered with the naturals to increase longevity or to be worn alone. But, what I like is that it is up to the consumer to decide if they would like that or if they’d rather stick to the naturals.
Anyway, this line is an extension of a project that Sarah did years ago where she merged her background as a yoga instructor with that of being a perfumer. She created “yoga room sprays”. That’s why you’ll see these perfumes available as personal fragrance and/or environmental scents.
Here’s my quick reviews:
These are the all-natural botanicals that customers were asking for. I’m going to let you know that like so many naturals that I have tried over the years, that projection and longevity are below average in comparison to synthetic and mixed-media perfumes. There’s seven of these and they cover a rainbow of shades.
Harvest – Red – Gratitude
Notes of pink peppercorn, pink grapefruit, hazelnut, hay, Turkish rose, raspberry leaf, oakwood, labdanum, wine and davana.
I tested all of these before reading the note lists. My notes were just “fruity wine”. And that’s what it is supposed to be! It’s like a sangria. It has berries, citrus and red wine. It smells like sunny summer days. It’s one of my favorites from this collection.
Sunset – Orange – Peace
Notes of neroli, rose geranium, Virginian cedar, honeybush, vanilla, peach, blood orange, bergamot, carrot seed, cocoa and bran.
With the orange packaging and name, I expect for this to smell like oranges. It does! It smells like those orange gummy candies that look like orange slices covered in sugar. it eventually becomes a tangy neroli with a hay-like base.
Sunrise – Yellow – Hope
Notes of clementine, yellow mandarin, blood orange, cedrat, sweet orange, lemon petitgran, fennel, cardamom, narcissus, cabreuva and coffee
Like many people, I expect for a yellow perfume to smell like citrus. This one does. It’s a really bright citrus with lemon and oranges. But, this doesn’t smell like the typical “eau de cologne”. It has an expected sweet, earthiness from coffee and fennel in dry-down. It’s a fresh, happy fragrance and it’s super creative. It’s all these usual “fresh, happy” notes but paired with stuff they’re rarely paired with (like coffee and fennel).
Leaf – Green – New
Notes of bergamot mint, jasmine tea, green mandarin, Calbrian bergamot, cucumber and spinach.
Green, as expected, is verdant. It’s like a perfume equivalent of “green juice”. It’s minty cucumbers, lemon and dark, leafy greens. That may sound weird for a perfume, but I’m actually really drawn to this one because it smells like gardens and green juice. It’s my favorite out of the collection.
Waves/WiFi – Aquamarine – Clarity
Notes of English lavender, white grapefruit, rosemary, olive fruit, jasmine sambac, blue hemlock, jasmine tea and seaweed.
In my opinion, this is the weirdest one. It smells like seaweed and vinaigrette (olive oil, salt and rosemary). It eventually smells like a heady jasmine. I’m still trying to wrap my head/nose around this one. It’s weird but that’s good! This is why I love indie perfume so much.
Blue Screen/Blue Horizon – Perspective
Notes of English lavender, bergamot, frankincense, lavender, vetivert, eucalyptus mint and patchouli
I mostly get lavender and vetiver from this one. My notes also said “green peanuts”. And once I picked up on green peanuts (for those of you that are Southern like myself, think boiled peanuts), I couldn’t “unsniff” this aspect of the perfume. But, then I started to love it for this.
Indigo – Into the Night
Notes of cognac, black tea, osmanthus, blackcurrant bud, Atlas cedar, jasmine sambac, labdanum and rum
Out of all of these, Indigo is the “darkest”. It reminds me of coconut water and fancy, fruity liqueurs. The jasmine sort of comes across like a plum syrup. Anyway, if this was interpreted as a rum-based cocktail, I’d happily drink it. Out of all seven of these, Indigo has the most swagger.
Overall, these smell “natural” (duh), but are different than a lot of natural brands I’ve tried. It seems that the palette expands past “aromantherapy” and there are some interesting interpretations of the rainbow hues here. My favorites as a personal fragrance are Green and Red. My personal favorites for a room spray include Aquamarine and Indigo.
These are the hypo-allergenic layering bases. Basically, these are described as “gentle” and even though it’s completely possible to be allergic to these, there’s less of a risk in comparison to naturals. That’s one thing that doesn’t get talked about that much in perfumery. Most of the times if you are allergic to something in a fragrance (develop a rash, etc.), that something was most likely a natural. Nature has to always “one up” us humans! Anyway, Sarah made these in response to those asking for a “gentle” fragrance. So, here they are: stripped down synthetics with a positive track record.
A woodsy amber
This is a woodsy amber that smells like the base of a lot of perfumes. It’s that sharp woods that I smell in a lot of mainstream masculines. It’s not my thing but I can see it working for people that like Escentric Molecules.
Musk and woods.
I can barely smell this one at all. I can tell it’s musk but that’s about it. It’s like the epitome of “skin scent” in that you can’t really smell much of it. If anything, it reminds me of iced vodka and some airy musk.
I think it’s a good idea and I like how the brand responded to customers wanting naturals. There’s a lot of transparency with these. I like seeing them presented as not something like good/bad (like a lot of “clean beauty” marketing). Like you have to comply to IFRA’s standards in Europe. Aromachemicals have already been evaluated for safety, etc. But, that doesn’t mean that a person may not be allergic. There’s a misconception that “natural” equates to safe. This brand helps to address those misconceptions but also gives customers botanical perfumes. It’s not that one is better than the other, it’s just sometimes you do want something that seems different. And I think in this case, these seem less “corporate” and more creative…and seven of them just happen to be natural too.
Currently the brand is available at 4160 Tuesdays. Full-sizes and discovery sets are available for purchase. There’s also an environment/room spray that can also double as a light personal fragrance.
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*Disclaimer – Samples provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own. Product pics from Fragrantica. Pattie Boyd, Kellie Wilson and ? by The Fool Design Collective pic for Vogue UK 1968 from pleasurephoto.wordpress.com.