Monday 6 November 2017


I’ve said before that the constant quest for “newness” means that many perfumes are overlooked in favour of the latest, the biggest, the brightest and the loudest new releases. Companies have fragrances that gather loyal followers but sometimes these scents get overlooked in later years. One of these is Dark Heart Of Old Havana by 4160 Tuesdays. Roullier White described the company as putting “the fun and the feeling back into British perfume” and, with a whirlwind of a founder at the helm, this is a perfect description. So, four years after it launched, let’s revisit the dangerously seductive Dark Heart Of Old Havana.

Sarah McCartney is the wonderfully outspoken and incredibly knowledgeable founder of 4160 Tuesdays. This independent perfumery based in East Acton has released some incredible fragrances since they first launched in 2011 and is never afraid to experiment with ingredients, style or inspiration. This creativity resulted in nominations for the 2016 Fragrance Foundation Awards with Maxed Out and Midnight In The Palace Gardens, both part of the Crimes of Passion series, and then again in 2017 with Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters. Sarah’s free-spirited approach to creation is what truly sets her apart from other independent perfumers, and why I’m such a big fan.

Sarah first started working on Dark Heart Of Old Havana back in 2011 and took her inspiration from a visit to Cuba. She wanted to capture the impression of a city in its darker hours and everything that contributed to the sexy evening rituals. Dancing, smoking, body contact, heat, and excitement … it’s all in here and is intoxicating. Lee Kynaston wrote in Men's Health magazine that it was the “best for Tinder dates” and I would definitely agree that it’s the scent to reach for if you want to add a dose of sensuality to any occasion.

Sarah McCartney described it on its launch in 2013 as “dark, fruity, decaying decadence. It’s the smell of a walk through Old Havana in the evening, from the Hotel Sevilla to the Caseon del Tango. Wafts of coffee and tobacco, sweet, sugary desserts cooked with baskets of oranges and mangoes. 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?” Sarah has a great gift of storytelling when it comes to describing her fragrances but does it match my impressions?

Straight away you get the citrus burst that Sarah promises. The peach is wonderfully dominant but underneath you’ve got the orange and grapefruit mixing with a good dose of vanilla to give that patisserie vibe. The emerging combination of dry tobacco and jasmine takes the fragrance in a decidedly darker direction and does much more than just hint at sensuality. The black pepper seems to play off the tonka, beautifully bringing out the almond quality rather than the sweetness, and a musk note adds that final touch of refinement amongst a delicious debauchery. Doesn't everyone deserve a little excitement now and then?

Dark Heart of Old Havana is available from Roullier White or by visiting the 4160 Tuesdays website at

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