One of the hardest working and most creative perfumers out there is Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. She and her small team have kept the perfume coming throughout this lockdown, in very innovative ways, from using social media (they have a great Facebook page!) and Patreon, to doing online perfume workshops and scent kits. She has a book coming out in September (pre-order available now), co-authored with one of my favorite bloggers, Sam of I Scent You A Day.
My scent of the day today is 4160 Tuesdays’ Both Sides of Clouds. The original Clouds and its sibling, Clouds Illusion, came out in 2019. They were inspired by Christi Long, founder of the Facebook group and very nice online community “Eau My Soul” and her love for Joni Mitchell’s song “Both Sides Now”:
Essentially the same fragrance but made with different materials. Clouds (and Clouds Illusion) was inspired by the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell. A contrast of both happiness and sadness, with both gloomy and sunny elements, Clouds represents the sun peaking through gray clouds — a message of hope. Christi suggested the idea to Sarah along with certain fragrance notes which capture the mood. While Clouds has orris butter, vanilla absolute, hay absolute, narcissus absolute, Indian sandalwood essential oil, tonka absolute and citrus fruits including organic bergamot, the second version, Clouds Illusion, replaces some of the expensive naturals with high quality synthetic replacements which offers a more affordable option of the same fragrance.”
The fragrances were crowdfunded, another innovation of Sarah’s, though pre-pandemic; I took part in this particular project, and enjoyed it so much! You can read my review of Clouds Illusion eau de parfum here. I should confess that while I appreciate Joni Mitchell’s sheer genius, the version of the song that I greatly prefer is that by Judy Collins, who was actually the first to release a recording of “Both Sides Now” on her album “Wildflowers.” What a lovely voice she had!
The latest variation on Clouds is 2020’s Both Sides of Clouds , a finalist for the Fragrance Foundation’s “People’s Choice” Award, sponsored this year by Perfumist, an app for reading about fragrances and keeping track of those you own or hope to own (very handy). (If you’re interested in voting for any of the finalists until May 23, when voting closes, follow these steps: Download Perfumist: https://buff.ly/3tLJp54. 1. Download the app. 2. Search for The Fragrance Foundation UK in community. 3. Like your favourite fragrance!). Sarah describes it as a “floral citrus chypre with a light gourmand touch.” She further explains:
Clouds was (for us) quite scarily costly to produce as we used natural absolutes. Clouds Illusion – which we think smelled equally fabulous – was less expensive as we used vanillin, coumarin, and top quality but less expensive recreations of the flower absolutes. Just to confuse everyone thoroughly, we made both Edp and parfum concentrations. Both Sides of Clouds is the 2020 remix. Sarah blended both naturals and recreations to make the final edition.
Notes for the originals include (in Clouds): citrus top notes (lemon and bergamot), orris butter, vanilla absolute, hay absolute, narcissus absolute, Indian sandalwood, tonka, oakmoss, and other naturals. Clouds Illusion has synthetic recreations of some of those florals, plus bergamot, lemon, vanilla, coumarin, and oakmoss. Honestly, Clouds Illusion smells very, very similar to Clouds and is obviously more affordable; it is a bit lighter than Clouds. Both have excellent longevity, i.e. still going strong, though closer, at ten hours since I sprayed.
Both Sides of Clouds is just beautiful. It is an eau de parfum that falls somewhere between its two predecessors: slightly less plush than Clouds, slightly more so than Clouds Illusion. As intended, it is sunny with its citrus opening notes, with some fleeting cloud shadows in the heart phase conjured by iris, oakmoss, and lavender, culminating as a warm, cozy, soft fragrance close to the skin with what Sarah describes as “vanilla and tonka ganache” with a bit of patchouli (which I don’t really smell). It is not overly sweet, though; “light gourmand touch” is accurate.
I love all three versions and I’m lucky enough to own all three (and a bit of the parfum). Have you had a chance to try any of them?