Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Carthusia is a line of fragrances created (or in some cases, reorchestrated) by the perfumer Laura Tonatto, whose separate eponymous brand was established in 2000. Carthusia purports to bring us the scents of Capri, and Numero Uno must be one of its most pastoral expressions. It has a rustic character that comes from the herbal notes with a slightly camphorous facet. This roughhewn chypre executed in a fairly traditional manner started out rather promisingly, with the bright citrusy top notes folded around the green herbaceous accord. …
The initial impression brings to mind chypres like Parfums de Nicolaï New York and Chanel Pour Monsieur. However, the similarity was rather fleeting, and while New York continued its movement into a warm vanilla-leather base and Pour Monsieur donned an elegant tobacco laced coat of moss and woods, Numero Uno vacillated between the sharpness of eucalyptus and the soapiness of musk. While I waited for the composition to assume a uniform character, the end result turned out to be a chypric flourish of woods and vetiver.
Like some other Carthusia fragrances, Numero Uno is rendered with a bright touch; however, it is far from ethereal. Its rustic, herbal bite might make the composition too masculine for most women, although it is certainly not more virile than Pour Monsieur, which I like to revisit from time to time as a great example of an elegant classical chypre.
In general, Carthusia seems to follow the path of many niche brands, as it attempts to preserve a certain nature-inspired quality as well as to maintain a relative simplicity in its compositions. Numero Uno is rather like a watercolor painting of an idyllic country scene. However, in this case, I would trade this bucolic vista for something a bit edgier.
Numero Uno includes notes of bergamot, Sicilian orange, lavender, thyme, eucalyptus, violet, ylang-ylang, patchouli, vetiver, myrrh and white musk. Carthusia line is available at Aedes, Bergdorf Goodman, Takashimaya.