Monday 17 December 2018

Opening THE BOX OF DELIGHTS with 4160 Tuesdays

In 1935 John Masefield wrote a children’s book that would end up entertaining generations of youngsters, and also maintain a loyal following as they grew into adulthood. It was a dark fantasy that put the hero, Kay Harker, very firmly in his own “story”, and the book went on to be adapted for radio, television, and also the stage. The Box of Delights is a masterpiece of description that perfectly embodies the world of 1934 England but the one thing that it lacks is scent. To my mind there is only one perfume house that can possibly fill in this missing piece, and that is Sarah McCartney and 4160 Tuesdays.

The Box of Delights was first dramatised for BBC Radio’s Children’s Hour in 1943 and would regularly appear in the schedules right up until 1995. However, the most famous adaptation came in 1984 when it was shown for six weeks in the run up to Christmas. Directed by Renny Rye and staring Patrick Troughton, it featured thirteen-year-old Devin Stanfield in the role of Kay Harker and through him we went “small and swift” into a fantasy filled past. There are three points in the story that cry out for scent and 4160 Tuesdays perfectly produce the goods.

With a story that is set in 1934 we’re very definitely in the realms of mahogany sideboards, Tantalus trays, and pipe smoke. These scents can be wonderfully evocative when combined in the perfect proportions and you find this with The Lion Cupboard. The aroma of well polished wood is given aromatic notes thanks to touches of lavender and black pepper, but a crisp citrus blend of grapefruit and anise link beautifully with a patchouli and vetiver earthiness. A great perfume, and an excellent room scent, you’ll think that you’re spending Christmas with Kay Harker and the Jones children.

Much of the action in The Box of Delights takes place waist high in a blanket of crisp white snow. Once again, 4160 Tuesdays has the perfect fragrance to make you feel as though you’re right next to Kay and Peter as they witness the old Punch and Judy man getting "scrobbled". Tree Presence was created by Harry Sherwood in 2017 and is the ultimate room scent for Christmas. It playfully lists “permafrost” as an ingredient and you really do get the feeling of crisp snow. Add in tart juniper berry mixed with warm resins and you’ll definitely feel as though you're at Bottler’s Down in the thick of the action.

The character that I always remembered vividly as a child was Sylvia Daisy Pouncer, the girlfriend of the evil Abner Brown. In the TV series she was played by Patricia Quinn and, sporting furs and emeralds, was the epitome of the femme fatale. There can only be one perfume for Pouncer and that is Raw Silk & Red Roses. This stunning rose scent is given darkness with a hint of patchouli but naughtily offset with a touch of playful peach. Boasting a delicious sweet myrrh in the base, it is a wonderfully dangerous floral scent and I can easily see it turning the head of any of Pouncer's conquests.

The full range of fragrances are available from the website at and the DVD of the 1984 BBC Television production is available from priced at £3.99

[The Box of Delights graphic © Clayton Hickman]

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