How Bad Girl Mermaid Perfumes Turned the Tables on The Handsome Prince

Posted by
Sarah Colton
 August 15, 2016

Photo courtesy Andersen, Hans Christian. Fairy Stories from Hans Christian Andersen. Margaret Tarrant, illustrator. London: Ward, Lock & Co., 1910.



As you will recall from last month’s blog post, the world’s first “Bad Girl Mermaid Tail Fragrance” emerged on the shores of the French Riviera in 1927 in the form of Jean Patou’s scented suntan oil Huile de Chaldée. With its wildly seductive blend of orange blossoms, jasmine, hyacinth, amber, and the sun-filter salicylate de benzyle, Huile de Chaldée had captured the fabled fragrance of a Mermaid’s tail, so evocative of exotic and untamable female sexuality. Slathered on the bodies of Bad Girl Mermaids, whether born with legs or tails, the results were earth shaking.


Sadly, this was too late for The Little Mermaid of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1839 tale. She didn’t realize that by trading her tail for legs, she was giving up the most fascinating and alluring attribute of a mermaid, the animalic, female odor of her tail, without which, she was destined to a sad fate in the world of man. (For further details refer to the July 4 post.)


Fortunately, modern Bad Girl Mermaids, immediately caught on to the power of Mermaid Tail Fragrances, and the world has never been the same.


Indeed, Huile de Chaldée had such an immediate and profound impact on beach culture that it inspired the creation of an entire industry of fragrant suntan oils and lotions, notably, Ambre Solaire and Coppertone (refer to July 4, 2016 post for details). And this was just the beginning of a very long and fragrant tale.


From Bad Girl Mermaid Suntan Oils to Bad Girl Mermaid Perfumes

Immediately realizing the power and significance of Huile de Chaldée, Jean Patou launched an alcohol-based perfume using the same notes later in the same year (1927). He called it simply Chaldée

Chaldée copy


Bad Girl Mermaid ‘Beach’ Fragrances

Other brands realizing the enormous power of fragrances so evocative of Bad Girl Mermaid Tails, swished onto the market with their own Bad Girl Mermaid Tail Perfumes, now often referred to as ‘Beach’ fragrances because they deliberately mimic the smell of suntan oils. Favorites among them are Eau des Merveilles by Hermès (2004) which echoes the warm and sultry notes of Patou’s Huile de Chaldée, and Bond No.9’s Fire Island  (2006) which captures Ambre Solaire’ s enthralling smell of warm skin on hot sand. Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent and Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia  (2012) recall the sultry notes of Bain de Soleil, while Bobby Brown’s Beach (2009) smells about as close to Coppertone as you can get.

4.aa.Beach Fragrances collage ps100dpi


Bad Girl Mermaid ‘Marine’ or ‘Aquatic’ Fragrances

Another type of Bad Girl Mermaid fragrances, referred to as ‘Marine’ or ‘Aquatic’, found its way to shore during the 1980s and 1990s following the availability of calone, a synthetic raw material with an ethereal, ozone-y smell, evoking sensations of breaking waves, sea-breezes, and marine life. Among the classics of this era are Issey Myake’s ozone-y and otherworldly L’Eau d’Issey (1992), and Calvin Klein’s romantic and feminine Escape (1993) with its hint of marine breezes.

5. Issey and Calvin's Escape for collage

These days, Bad Girl Mermaids whose lure is more saline or ozone-y than sunny and sultry can wreak havoc on land or sea with James Heeley’s breezy and aquatic Sel Marin, which carries sensual and salty notes of seawater in a tantalizing scent of lemons and driftwood as if carried on a breeze above warm sand and salty sea air.


Heeley perfumes with Sel Marin




Most recently, APSU by Ulrich Lang New York  (launched in June 2016 just in time for Bad Girl Mermaids), exudes a world of sensual and watery green saltiness.

ULNY APSU Leaf Image



Bad Girl Mermaid Perfumes From Around the World and the Seven Seas


From the Island of Capri

Not surprisingly, the Island of Capri, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast offers an abundance Bad Girl Mermaid Tail fragrances. The brand Carthusia, founded on the rocky crags of this mythical island, even claims that the recipe for its fragrance, Ligea, named after one of the very Mermaids who charmed Homer’s Odysseus, was handed down from local monks who knew her. To understand why Ligea might be a true interpretation of this mermaid’s fragrance, just imagine these poor innocent monks doing their damnedest to live peacefully on the Island of Capri and focus on their “good” works, with the songs and swishing tails of Mermaids all about them. Reading between the lines of the Carthusia brand’s history, it’s easy to understand what these monks were really up to while coming up with the original formula for this feminine and sensual, honey-like fragrance.

Carthugia Brand logo image

Editor’s Note: Ligea was most recently sighted swimming in the company of the outrageous Bad Girl/Bad Boy Duo, Kathryn Malley and Jean-Claude Magret.


On another tack, beautiful globe-trotting Australian Bad Girl Prudence Kilgour  reminds us that her brand Prudence Paris has an entire fragrance line, The Capri Collection, inspired by the Island of Capri — the lush opulence of its vegetation and its iodic laden breezes. Outstanding among these fragrances, Prudenzia (hmmm…nothing but the name should warn you that this one is beautifully Bad) with its freesia, peony, and litchi top notes, has been know to sing and seduce alone or in harmony with her sister Bad Girl Mermaid fragrances CaprinaFelicita, Lucia, Marina, and           Sophia, all in splendid sea-toned bottles flaunting etched images of seductive of sirens.

Prudenzia by Prudence of Paris



Further up the Italian coast, another colony of mermaids frolics along the beaches of Portofino’s picturesque harbor. Originally a fishing village and now a haven for beautiful people, Portofino is also world-renowned for its Bad Girl Mermaids. Their fragrance of choice? Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino Acqua, of course. Be warned! With citrus and neroli notes wrapped in sexy and sultry amber, those who dare to wear this fragrance need frequent dips in the water to keep the heat of their bodies from burning the sand beneath them.

9b. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acque ps100dpi


From The Caribbean

Wildly exotic Bad Girl Saskia Wilson-Brown, founder and director of The Art and Olfaction Awards, tells us of Yoruban Orisha Yemayá, a mermaid she recently spotted off the coast of Cuba. Revered as a Mother Goddess of oceans and rivers, Yemaya is also known to have the conduct of a stormy sea in bad temper just to remind people of her Bad Girl Mermaid power! Little wonder she is worshipped throughout South American and the Caribbean.

Yoruban Orisha Yemayà Cuban Mermaid

As far as her fragrances are concerned, word has it that a current favorite is Jacques Fath’s salty AND fruity fragrance Curacao Bay (2015). With musk, ambergris, and woody notes this extraordinarily fresh fragrance aptly recalls the seductive mystery of the Caribbean island for which it is named.

12. Curacao Bay ps100dpi



From Germany

Bad Boy Helder Suffenplan, founder of SCENTURY, arguably THE definitive online magazine and research platform for perfume culture, reminds us that Germany has a powerful mermaid legend all its own. Loreley, as she is called in her native tongue, sits on the cliff of a steep slate rock high above the River Rhine, and while combing her golden hair is so distracting to shipmen with her beauty and song that they crash on the rocks below.

Lorelei German Mermaid on the Rhine River

Her fragrance? Unlike other Bad Girl Mermaids, a contemporary Loreley whose domaine is neither ‘Beachy’ nor ‘Marine’, might choose Berlin based J.F. Schwaerzlose’s, chypre floral fragrance Altruist, whose name is nothing but a cover for her true Bad Girl Mermaid intention of totally confounding her victims. With bright sparkling notes like those of her river – the better to blind you with, my dear – as well as the dry and humid notes of her dominant and towering rock, Altruist’s floral and spicy notes sing out in no uncertain terms that at the purest of all levels this girl is, indeed, a Bad Girl Mermaid.

15. Altruist ps100dpi

Ah, yes. Thanks to the power of fragrances, inspired by the seven seas and surging in unending waves from perfumers’ palettes, the tables have turned for contemporary Bad Girl Mermaids, oh most fortunate descendants of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid.

While basking in the glories of your own chosen Bad Girl Mermaid Perfumes, imagine for a moment how the sad story of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid would be dramatically different if she were to come ashore today. Armed with a supply of Bad Girl Mermaid ‘Beach’ and ‘Aquatic’ perfumes, this ‘innocent’ little mermaid would be able to deploy the full and magnificent power of her sensual Mermaid tail. Instead of pining away for the love of The Handsome Prince, she would be happily lounging on the beach, while a much less cocky Prince would be fighting off her suitors with a stick!

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen


End of Post

Enhance your OWN Bad Girl Mermaid Tails and Tales.

Leave a comment and/or your email address and be eligible to win a full-sized bottle of some of the fragrances above, including:

Carthugia’s Ligea 

James Heeley’s Sel Marin

James Heeley’s Cocco Bello

Jean Patou’s Chaldée 

Jean Patou’s Vacances 

Prudence Paris’s Prudenzia

Ulrich Lang New York’s APSU


Disclosure : The opinions given in this blog post are my own. They are based on observations I have made as a journalist, blogger, and writer in interviews and store visits over a period of more than 15 years. I also constantly smell fragrances in perfume boutiques and department stores, as well as at trade shows, launch parties, and PR events where I often receive samples and/ or full bottles of fragrances from brands. The samples and full-sized bottles offered to readers of this blog post as ‘give-aways’ have been generously donated by the brands.








  1. Marie Woodard |

    Would adore smelling any of these, minus the coconut…especially Jean Patous and Carthugia’s Ligea !!

    • Sarah Colton |

      All things are possible!

      • Sarah Colton |

        Especially for Bad Girl Mermaids like you, Marie Woodard.

  2. Helder |

    I will definitely go and smell VACANCES by Patou asap! Thanks, Sarah for introducing this to me.

  3. Tiphaine |

    “Bad Girl Mermaid” i loooovvvveeee it!
    Bravo for your article Sarah, i feel like if i was on the beach with all these summer fragrances! 😍

  4. Jean-Claude MAGRET |

    Back to the future …. The Year is 1966, the Place on the Beach of Menton, nearby “Jean Cocteau Museum “, sun tanning, eye-catching your Shadow on the sand, and intoxicated by the exquisite
    spiritual voluptuousness of your oiled skin scent, within a few minutes I finally collapsed in a drunken stupor under the Tent on the roof top of “Fontana Rosa” abandoned Blasco Ibanez’s Villa, famous author of “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” …. longtime forgotten….

  5. Cat Burglar |

    One whiff of APSU and I literally fell in love with this fragrance, which with its smell of fresh cut grass, sea salt, and basil, instantly brought back memories of hot summer afternoons, lazing in a cool dark room, hypnotized by the ceiling fan above, a lawn mower humming in the distance, and the salty taste of my afternoon swim still on my skin. Thanks Ulrich Lang New York !

  6. Cleopatra |

    It all brings back fragrant memories of my days as a buyer, collaborating with Comptoir Sud Paciique on the creation of Vanille Coco, Vanille Extreme and others. Tropical breezes and exotic notes came to mind, and surely a mermaid or two inspired us as well. But the other fragrance that was truly in line with all of these was Demeter’s Summer Vacation which immediately transported you to a beach chair at sunset with a Pina Colada in hand. I’m sure the mermaids would approve!

  7. KateBo |

    Hmmmm, I have lots of storms to navigate and could use some inspiration from Yemaya with Coccobella!

  8. Isabelle FERRAND |

    Memories of my honeymoon at St Martin are totally associated with ‘Huile de Chaldée’

  9. Farley |

    Sel Marin or Prudenzia would turn any head in or out of the water… but nowhere better than between the sheets!

  10. Farley |

    Sel Marin or Prudenzia would turn any head in or out of the water!

  11. kasia |

    i do love sel marin, unfortunately i’ve got only 2ml sample 🙁

  12. MariaA |

    Chaldee is one of my favourites, as well as Sel de Vetiver and Lys Soleia, I always end up wearing them during winter to remindme of sunny beaches. I really enjoyed your article!

  13. Cyndee Grant |

    Love how you relate the history of these fragrances! I’m in DC today, heading to a fragrance counter to check these out.

    • Sarah Colton |

      Looking forward to hearing about what you like, Cyndee.

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