Wow! A great scent! Hits all the right buttons for me.
The opening is excellent. It is a fig note which is green and refreshing. It works well with the dusky clary sage and a hint of violet leaf, which ameliorate the fig note and provide a very nice, complex opening chord.
The lentisk further develops the dusky-green theme. I also get a forest and forest-floor note from the pine needles.
Overall, this is a very good scent in the garrigue style -- a breeze wafting over resinous shrubs.
In the top note he fig is the dominating force on my skin, with an unusual green sage note added. There is a brightish mild citrus component for the first half hour on my skin too. This is, whilst not groundbreakingly revolutionary, a very nice creation, which is the drydown assumes a mildly coniferous character. After the first hour it is very close to me skin, but initial projection and silage were good. I get three hours of longevity from this nice scent that is good for warmer days.
Whereas a sprightly sage is mainly what comes across on a blotter, Caligna tried on skin is a different proposition. Here the pungency of the sage is held resolutely in check with some pretty citrusy tones of pine and fig foliage, the whole thing light as a feather. Even the jasmine marmalade that’s at the heart of it (never tried the stuff, but if you’re talking a sweet, non-indolic, polite jasmine, it’s here alright) doesn’t weigh it down. Caligna offers something of an object lesson in placing a sugary note in a composition without overwhelming the wearer. The sage is one of the first notes to power down here. Easy to wear, moderately strong, refreshingly different in the first few hours, it nevertheless fails to get beyond nice.
Crossing about the three hour mark the notes blend to produce a citrusy green tea kind of feel, we’re talking liquid hand soap territory.
Quite The Wonderful Enigma...
Caligna opens with a very aromatic combination of orange leaf, aromatic herbs and fig. Transitioning to the early heart the orange leaf recedes though still remains detectable as the fig takes over as star, revealing a bit of its fruity nature to balance the residual aromatics with now slightly detectable wood rising from the base. As the middle progression continues the fragrance develops a subtle powdery sheen derived from violet as the remaining orange leaf finally disappears, while coniferous fir briefly laced with a mint leaf-like tinge joins in. During the late dry-down the aromatics completely disappear as the now slightly sweetened oakwood from the base becomes the star with the fragrance becoming a skin scent. Projection is above average early but tamping down considerably late, and longevity is on the low side of average at 6-8 hours on skin.
Caligna is a much more complex fragrance than one might think on first glance. It starts off extremely fresh and aromatic with the orange leaf, herbs and fig going all out. Then, just as one thinks they have the fragrance figured out it brings in nuances of powdery violet, green fir, and I could have sworn I even detected just a bit of mint-leaf or a close approximation for a brief moment in the heart as well. Then again it takes another turn late as it becomes a sweet woody fragrance. The whole thing is quite remarkably done by the relatively unknown perfumer Baghriche-Arnaud, with the transitions quite seamless. If I had any minor gripe about the composition it would have to be its performance metrics which while not bad by any measure still could be much better. The bottom line is while Caligna is one of the most expensive offerings from the house of L'Artisan at $180 per 100ml bottle; it also is one of the best earning a "very good" to "excellent" rating of 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5. Recommended for sure.
Pros: Changes gear several times over its development and smells great throughout.
Cons: Performance metrics are a bit on the low side of average.
10th August, 2013 (last edited: 13th December, 2013)