I always find it a bit strange when something like an item of clothing or a fragrance is described as flirty. I mean, can a blouse really be considered flirty, just because it’s got a pouting lipstick print on it? But in the case of Caligna, the new women’s eau de parfum from iconic French house L’Artisan Parfumeur, such a description is entirely appropriate, because Caligna translates as ‘to flirt’ or ‘to court’ in Provencal dialect.
The fragrance, available to buy in early April, is the latest launch in the Grasse Collection, which saw L’Artisan Parfumeur return to the grass roots of perfumery (pun sneakily intended) with scented candles and leather gloves. Caligna is intended to evoke the pastoral plains of Grasse, a region that rests between the mountains and the Mediterranean in the South of France. It’s also the place where Dora Baghriche-Arnaud, the ‘nose’ behind the scent, grew up, as she told me at the launch event in the basement of the label’s bijoux Covent Garden shop.
Baghriche-Arnaud based the scent around three main ‘accords’ or notes. Presenting me with samples of each, she explained how she married the fresh, pine-like tang of clary sage, a plant native to Grasse, with creamy fig and sugary jasmine marmalade accords. It evokes ‘a lightness of being with laughter echoing into the distance,’ according to the press spiel. I don’t know about that, but I do know that, getting a whiff of my tester again, I smell a rich and complex concoction, like a sticky dessert wine. If you like fragrances that smell almost good enough to eat, you’ll love the raisin-y goodness of Caligna. And since they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, you may well find it does the flirting for you.
Caligna, £95 for 100ml, will be available from early April from the L’Artisan Parmfumeur website.