The Dark Heart of Old Havana

By 4160 Tuesdays

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    Sometimes we envy perfumers' ability to capture memories in scent. That's what perfumer UK Sarah McCartney has done with The Dark Heart of Old Havana, in which she recreates an evening walk through Cuba's Old Havana from the Hotel Sevilla to the Caseon del Tango for a dance lesson. "Wafts of coffee and tobacco, sweet, sugary desserts cooked with baskets of oranges and mangoes," Sarah remembers. "The scent of peaches beginning to turn overripe, and citrus peel going squishy in the gutter. From a dark doorway a handsome man in white whispers, 'Do you want a Cuban boyfriend?' and I speed up a little, squeaking 'No! Thank you very much for asking all the same!' And then the old Cubanos at the tango club greet us with smiles, songs, rum, and kisses." Notes include orange, peach, grapefruit, sugar, tobacco, bergamot, tonka, jasmine, vanilla, musk, and black pepper. 
  • We've met a lot of people in the perfume world, and Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays is one of our very favorites. Want to know why? Sarah, in her own words:

    "As a little girl, I did not make perfumes from rose petals. That was for softies. I made magic spells and wanted to be a witch when I grew up. When I was 16 I bought a bottle of Diorella. I studied maths and sciences, practised music and French, wrote books on brands and their evil twin—counterfeiting—and online marketing, and learned to dance Argentinean tango.

    For 14 years I was the head writer for Lush while the company grew from four shops—one in Poole and three in London—to 700 worldwide. I was writing 50,000 words every three months for the Lush Times, aiming to encapsulate the products' scents in their descriptions. During that time, I bought and read 200 books on essential oils and herbalism and learned the essential oils the founders gave me to educate myself.

    At the end of the 14 years, I took some time off to write a novel featuring a problem-solving perfumer. In it, I described the scents that she made and I wanted to have them available for people to smell. So I set off on a quest to see if I could buy them. This turned out to be impossible - and pretty expensive - because no one was making exactly what I wanted, so I started another quest to see of I could make them instead. Of course that turned out to be even more difficult, but once I'd started, I just kept going. 4160 Tuesdays perfumes is the result."


  • The Dark Heart of Old Havana was inspired by the perfumer's trip to Havana and the scents she encountered there.



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The Dark Heart of Old Havana has a rating of 3.6 stars based on 7 reviews.

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