Paradox by 4160 Tuesdays

The scent of hope for someone who could no longer enjoy perfume…

 Notes: Citrus fruits, Iris, Violet, Petitgrain, Woods and Musks

Today, British beauty and perfume blogger, Louise Woollam, is attending the Fragrance Foundation’s Jasmine Awards. She has been short-listed for three articles including one about the creation of Paradox Eau de Parfum on her blog Get Lippie. Two years ago, things were very different.


Louise Woollam

It’s not hard to empathise with just how traumatic it would be to have your sense of smell distorted so much that scents that used to make you swoon now make you want to be sick.

After what seemed like a pretty run-of-the-mill cold, Louise lost her sense of smell (anosmia). Then when she started to regain it, she experienced parosmia which made most food – let alone perfume – smell horrendously unpleasant. In her article for The Guardian, Louise wrote “I have had days when everything smells like faeces, making me retch. I thought I was losing my mind.”

During this disturbing time Louise went on a trip to the Osmotheque (which I also attended) during which she discovered she could smell violets and citrus the same way she always had. Sarah McCartney, perfumer of 4160 Tuesdays, then set out to work with Louise to create a fragrance based on these notes which she could actually enjoy.

Through a process of elimination and trying a few different combinations they hit upon a composition of bright yuzu and cubeb (a fruit of the pepper family), three different types of ionones (which smell like violets) and orris/iris to smooth out the citrus and amp up the violets.

The perfectly named Paradox was born.


The opening of the fragrance is a thicket of dense grass; the blades parting to reveal tart, yellow, citrus fruit.  The feel is cool and breezy as the violets come through. They aren’t the sweet Parma variety but the chilly, green kind.

The orris is very much in the supporting role of providing backbone to the violets, giving them even more of a bluish purple hue. When I press my nose in close I get deep green foliage. The base comprises clean woods and musk but as often happens, I don’t register this.


Last year, Sarah decided to make the fragrance available for sale with at least £5 from every bottle sold being donated to the charity Fifth Sense which provides support to those affected by smell and taste-related disorders.

Thankfully, matters are now much improved but Louise’s sense of smell is still far from what it was. She says that working with Sarah on Paradox gave her more than a perfume she could wear, it gave her hope that recovery was possible.



Filed under Perfume Reviews

13 responses to “Paradox by 4160 Tuesdays

  1. Thank you for this story Tara. I cannot imagine losing the sense of smell. Recovery is possible, gives hope!


  2. Omg! What s horrendous thing and how fab of Sarah to see if she could help. I loved that story Tara.
    Portia xx


    • Hey Portia!
      I think it’s not hard for us to put ourselves in Louise’s shoes. It’s such a random, horrible thing that could happen to anyone.
      Yes, Sarah really was a huge support to Louise. Our community is amazing.


  3. I’m reading Louise’s blog on and off, so I knew about her cold, anosmia, etc. but I didn’t know about Paradox – so thank you for telling the story. And I have an even deeper respect for Sarah McCartney now.


    • Ah, that’s interesting to know you read Get Lippie now and again.
      Yes, there is quite a story behind Paradox and I know from Louise that Sarah was a real lifeline during that dark time.


  4. What a fantastic post, Tara! I didn’t know the story behind Paradox and what Sarah did. I’ve been warming up to 4160 Tuesdays quite a bit recently and even more so now. I really love this post. Thank you. ❤


  5. I’ll join in the thank you chorus 🙂 I didn’t know this, although I know Louise’s blog. The perfume sounds a bit too pale for my liking, but I love what Sarah did.


    • I’m pleased you and others found it interesting.

      I find Paradox quite bright, especially at the start but yes, it’s far from your usual orientals and not dark in any way.


  6. I have learnt lots of beauty tips from Get Lippie and have followed Louise’s parosmia ‘journey’ (shoot me now!) for a while; I was really shocked to hear of some of the smells that assaulted her nostrils when the condition was at its worst. It is great that she is gradually getting some enjoyment from perfume and Sarah’s creation of Paradox is a fantastic gesture.

    And thanks to your review, I can imagine how Paradox smells! It might be a bit chilly and green for me but it is just so great that L can smell it and not recoil.


    • Hey V,
      Happy to hear you got a good sense of Paradox from reading the review.
      You can just imagine the relief and sense of optimism Louise must have felt once it came together. It must have been like seeing light at the end of the tunnel.


  7. Pingback: Parallel by 4160 Tuesdays and Get Lippie | A Bottled Rose

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