Ligea La Sirena (Carthusia)

...we were having a Fishers Island picnic at Isabella Beach-- one of those picnics where the consommé and vodka came in thermoses and you toast the idyllic summer days with plastic cups. Edie had disappeared. It was a bit spooky. Someone said, "We saw her go swimming." But she was nowhere in sight on this beach. Then somebody else said, "Is that her? Way, way out?"... (A) little dark head (at) such a distance... She seemed to be going under and then surfacing again. I could see the shine of her legs as she dove... She was playing... totally natural and involved in the element of water; she was like a porpoise. First there was fear for Edie: "She's in trouble." Then it was, "Why, she's playing! Edie's having fun." She seemed only to exist freely in atmospheres that were removed or enchanted... in a particular space that she liked. Most people are happy swimming by the shore; she was happy out there.

--John Anthony Walker, remembering Edie Sedgwick in EDIE: An American Biography (1982)

A few weeks ago, while pawing through a bowl of random perfume samples at the antiques barn, I came upon a decant of Ligea La Sirena ("Ligeia the Mermaid") by Carthusia. After my last (and until recently, only) experience with this Italian perfume house, I never expected to dip my toe back in those waters. Who could predict I'd be found there once again, only now splashing about with the happy abandon of a liberated selkie?

At first sniff, Ligea La Sirena reminded me strongly of old-school Jean Naté, that wonderful, cooling citrus splash of which our mothers made lavish use on Sunday mornings. Depending on how you feel about the smell of plastic, a pronounced note of this material either embellishes or mars the top notes.  I happen to enjoy it.  If you don't, worry not-- it dissipates quickly, clearing the way for a mischievous, creamy-sweet lemon floral in the Etro Vicolo Fiori mode.  Opoponax (AKA sweet myrrh) adds a sweet vanilla-balsam note that lasts well into the drydown.

The longer I wore Ligea La Sirena, the more bewitching I found it.  Nonetheless, its spell did not take immediate hold on me. I kept waiting for it to suddenly go all horrid, as Aria di Capri (that Charybdis of a fragrance) had done. But Jaws never pulled me under, and I made it to shore unscathed-- and exhilarated.

Carthusia, all is forgiven.

Scent Elements: Mandarin, lemon, wild rose, opoponax