Pin-Up Perfume – Review: 4160 Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer

By Tara

British brand 4160 Tuesdays has quite a number of fragrances that are brim full of wit. In a world where perfumers can be painfully pretentious or rudely arrogant, the approach taken by indie perfumer Sarah McCartney is refreshing.


A perfume called Tart’s Knicker Drawer can’t fail to amuse and happily the scent itself is just as playful. It smells exactly the way I thought (and hoped) it would.

I think Sarah McCartney is particularly talented at creating vintage inspired scents, such as Doe in the Snow which is a 70s-style fruity chypre. Tart’s Knicker Drawer also has a definite retro feel. It’s a powdery cloud of gorgeousness with a silky, ambery base reminiscent of the full-bodied perfumes of the past.

Released in 2014, Tart’s Knicker Drawer actually came into being by pure chance. After a day of filtering six perfumes at once, Sarah remarked on Twitter that she smelt like “a tart’s boudoir”.

The positive reaction encouraged her to experiment further and refine the combination. The result is an incredibly smooth, complex yet easy to wear fragrance.

Tart’s Knicker Drawer contains the following notes:

Top notes: Bergamot, orange, grapefruit and pink peppercorn
Heart notes: Raspberry, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, cedarwood, violet, tuberose and guiacwood
Base notes: Amber, musk, vanilla, benzoin and tobacco

I would recommend not dwelling on the notes too much because it’s an exceptionally well blended, abstract perfume. But to give you an idea, I’d say it’s a raspberry swirl over rose/violet powder with a satin ribbon of jasmine – all on a plump pillow of amber and vanilla.

The fact that it is sweet but not syrupy, makes it womanly rather than teenage, which I love.

The woman we’re talking about here is feminine and voluptuous. She is more cheeky than outright tarty; there’s no filth hidden behind the scenes. She enjoys getting ready for a night out as much as the evening’s entertainment itself. She loves the ritual of applying full make-up, scenting her skin and dressing-up in sophisticated yet figure-hugging clothing.

Tart’s Knicker Drawer is all about the boudoir mist of old-style lipstick, face powder and perfume. This concoction ends up clinging to silk stockings and satin undergarments.

Its coquettish, vintage style is very fitting for a Varga Girl.


Painted by the most famous pin-up artist of all, Alberto Vargas, the 1940s Varga Girl portraits are glamorous, flirtatious and fun, just like Sarah’s scent.

During World War II, many U.S. servicemen chose to adorn their aircraft, ships and even uniform jackets with Varga Girl images copied from the pages of magazines and calendars.

I find Tart’s Knicker Drawer in Eau de Parfum strength lasts remarkably well with lovely soft focus sillage.

I’d very much like to experience the Extrait, not least because Sarah says “It lingers, like a fond memory of naughty things which happened in secret.”

Have you tried Tart’s Knicker Drawer? Do you like any boudoir scents? Please let me know in the comments.


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32 Responses to Pin-Up Perfume – Review: 4160 Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer

  1. Fab review, Tara! I love the Varga Girl connection and imagery. I bought this for my mother this Christmas and she loves it!

  2. Joan says:

    I dunno, but this sounds awesome!

  3. laniersmith says:

    What a great review and intriguing house. Love the idea behind this one….no pun intended…well not much anyway. But lovely and wonderful to read. Must try it when I am feeling particularly voluptuous and Vargasy.

  4. Vanessa says:

    Echoing what Thomas said about the perfect link with Varga girls. The ethos of this scent also reminds me of the Benefit cosmetics packaging. I like Tart’s Knicker Drawer a lot and you have captured it to a ‘T’. (There’s a clue in your name! 😉 ) I am also partial to several of the Agent Provocateur range, and to JHAG Lady Vengeance, which are in this boudoir kind of vein.

  5. Sabine says:

    I don’t think I have tried this one, but I love the Vargas image for it. There is always some surprise with Sarah’s scents – the given notes do not mean much, because what she does with them is often so unusual. That goes both ways of course, and I would strongly advise to buy before you try. Easily done thanks to her lovely sample packs.

    • Tara says:

      Completely agree, Sabine. Blind buying is rarely a good idea but probably even less so with this house. Although technically an oriental, Tart’s Knicker Drawer comes across as a chypre to me.

      The sample packs are good value and the labels have pretty colours too 🙂

  6. ringthing says:

    Powdery lipstick scents aren’t usually my cup of tea but your review is positively irresistible, Tara! Love the Vargas girl illustration. I’ve read many positive reviews of this line but haven’t sampled any yet. I think they might be difficult to find in the States? (I could be completely wrong on that). There are just so many perfumes to chase!

  7. cookie queen says:

    This is absolutely on my July England Trip Perfume List of things to try. Boudoir scent? Whatever I go to bed in. ;). xxxx

  8. I have to say, I love the name. Boudoir, satin, silk… sounds great, I could do with this one to compensate the way I am. 😉 Sometime ago, I was ready to order some samples and other stuff from 4160 Tuesdays but at the check out, I got freaked out by the postage. So I haven’t tried any of theirs yet.

    • Tara says:

      Oh that’s too bad, thinkingmagpie. I hate it when the postage puts you off ordering samples.
      I’m rather fond of the name too 🙂

  9. spe says:

    These types of scents are fun to read about, but in real life? I tire of them within the first sixty minutes. Too much stereotype association for my preference.

  10. Sandra says:

    Great review Tara. Will try it this weekend. 😄

  11. Asali says:

    Great review, and I’ll repeat that the Varga girl image is perfectly suited to the review and the fragrance. I liked the perfume but felt it wasn’t the right time of year to wear it as my cold skin wouldn’t hold on to it, so I’m looking forward to trying it again soon in milder weather. For Boudoir scents I think this one, as well as the agent provocateurs, are a bit too nice perhaps? I think more something like VW’s Boudoir which I can’t wear and Opus V, that Suzanne wrote a great review of, has a nice mixture of powder and sensuality for a Boidoir I find.

    • Tara says:

      Asali, I think you make a great point about your boudoir scents needing a bit of naughtiness. I guess Putain des Palaces would come under that banner. I can only seem to tolerate the nice ones unfortunately.

      All the same, I hope TKD works better for you in warmer weather. It’s nice that so many commenters thought the Varga Girl was a good match.

  12. rickyrebarco says:

    This one sounds nice, but I have not liked any other scents from the 4160 Tuesdays line and some of them (A Night in Old Havana) I have actively hated. I’ll relent and give this one a try. 🙂

    • Tara says:

      rickyrebarco, as Sabine above was saying, it’s a brand with quirky scents and I have a hard time with indie perfumes as it is, so I completely get where you’re comng from. This is the first of Sarah’s I’ve fallen for. I hope you don’t regret relenting!

  13. Suzanne says:

    Tara, I love how playfully flirty you make this perfume sound: from its raspberry swirl to its “boudoir mist” of old cosmetics, to its plump amber-and-vanilla bottom, it sounds like the perfume truly matches its name. I love when a perfumer has a clear concept and is able to convey it so well.

    Delightful review, Girly-q! (Can I call you that?)

    • Tara says:

      Hee hee! I love it. Thank you Suzanne.

      It’s funny how this perfume was born by accident but grew up into something with such a strong identity.

  14. Katherine says:

    I really love this fragrance. It so much fun to wear.

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