L’Artisan Parfumeur is one of those brands that took a long while to click with me. I started off exploring two of their cult classics – Tea for Two and Patchouli Patch – both of which left me cold. I then left the brand alone for a few years whilst I sailed off around the perfume world trying anything and everything that wasn’t ‘L’Artisan’.
Fate brought me back to L’Artisan Parfumeur many years later when a friend dragged me into the Covent Garden boutique. It was there that I tried and loved Bertrand Duchaufour’s ode to the clash of East and West that is Traversée du Bosphore for the very first time and after that, well after that I fell down the rabbit hole grabbing and adoring everything that L’Artisan and Duchaufour had done together.
The latest perfume launch from L’Artisan is not a Bertrand Duchaufour creation but that’s not a bad thing in the slightest. Created by perfumer Dora Baghriche-Arnaud this latest perfume joins the brand’s Grasse collection of candles and scented gloves that takes inspiration from “the spiritual home of fragrance, in Provence”.
Named Caligna (meaning to ‘court’ or ‘flirt’ in the Provençal tongue) – the first perfume in this collection is an ode to the Grasse countryside and according to L’Artisan Parfumeur it “evokes a warm breeze blowing over the land, a sense of freedom in the wild open spaces, a lightness of being with laughter echoing into the distance.”
Clary Sage, Fig, Jasmine Marmalade Accord, Mastic and Pine Needles
How Does it Smell?
Caligna’s top notes are awash with under-ripe green figs. The treatment of fig here is incredibly subtle, with the woodier and bark-like aspects of the fruit emphasised rather than the milky and jammy facets. There is a silvery freshness to it in the opening stages that is both sweet and cold like a cool spring breeze.
Jasmine plays a strong part in the middle stages and is billed as a “jasmine marmalade accord“. I’m not entirely sure whether jasmine marmalade is a thing (I’d like it to be) but my impression of it here is a sort of sticky, green bitterness that melds with the ever growing ashiness of the fig bark. With time light flashes of fresh tobacco, similar to the green tobacco found within Etat Libre d’Orange’s Jasmin et Cigarette, appear to give a harder edge.
By the time Caligna reaches its final stages it is relatively subdued, speaking only in wisps of greenery and earth. There is a little touch of something that I can’t quite put my finger on that gives a little lift and carries the idea of jasmine on a spring breeze right through to the very end.
Caligna is both pretty and intricate, it’s one of those fragrances that feels refreshingly simple but decidedly complex at the same time. It smells very natural but does not smell of nature, you won’t wear it and imagine yourself standing within a stunning vista as it is far too introspective and nowhere near large enough for that.
Do I love Caligna? Well it’s very safe to say that I am more than taken by it (I’ve used a good portion of my 15ml decant already), I almost see it as a greener and more refined version of Creed’s Silver Mountain Water (read: less of a chemical foghorn) and if it were to come in a 50ml size I would be sorely tempted to make a purchase.
Caligna will be available in early April in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £95.
Sample via L’Artisan Parfumer. Notes via basenotes.net. Quotes via Press Release. Image 1 via mimifroufrou.com. Image 2 boisdejasmin.com.