Carthusia Numero Uno : Perfume Review



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 NicolaĂŻ 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.



  • Robin: V, do you know if Tonatto did the later releases, including this one? As I’ve said before, I find that the fragrances she did for Carthusia are very different from what she has done with her own line. June 13, 2006 at 10:03am Reply

  • Laura: I liked this at first, but then it changed into my crazy great aunt’s skin smell. Not a good thing. June 13, 2006 at 7:47am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, unfortunately, it changed into something reminiscent of shaving cream. The top notes were promising though. June 13, 2006 at 12:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, it is definitely worth a try. I like some of Carthusia fragrances, however many are not my style at all. June 13, 2006 at 12:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I do not know if Tonatto did Numero Uno, but she reorchestrated Mediterraneo and created Ligea and Io. I agree with you. I also prefer her work for Carthusia. June 13, 2006 at 12:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, perhaps, you might like it. I just found the composition to have too many sharp edges, and they were not appealing. June 13, 2006 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Ina: I ordered a sample of this (thanks for reminding me it’s coming today!) but I’m probably not going to like it. Still, worth a try! 🙂 June 13, 2006 at 9:40am Reply

  • Marina: Hmm, sharp and soapy. Probably not for me then. June 13, 2006 at 10:21am Reply

  • marchlion: V, I am giggling. Nobody damns with faint praise better.

    I do like Mediterraneo in the summer, although I don’t think it’s going to win any Perfume Genius awards. I find them all a little … rustic? June 13, 2006 at 10:06pm Reply

  • k-amber: I do love some of Mariages Freres incense as well as their tea. Happy to know they offer fragrances, as a serious tea drinker and tea scent fan, I do try absolutely! Victoria,thank you for the information as always 🙂

    Kaori June 13, 2006 at 8:57pm Reply

  • k-amber: Oops…I posted my comment wrongly. The previous one was supposed to be at Bulgari, the rouge. Sorry for that, Victoria.

    As for Cathusia, I got a sample, probably Fiori di Capri, from my partents who went to Capri, and remembered it was not a my cup of tea scent. Many flowers there did not mellow out smothly on my skin…

    Kaori June 13, 2006 at 10:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaori, it is my pleasure. I hope that I was not misleading though–Mariage Freres does not offer fragrances, however they should! 🙂 June 14, 2006 at 12:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, yes, that is certainly true about them being a bit rustic. I liked Mediterraneo as well, however when I ran out, I did not feel like replenishing my supplies. June 14, 2006 at 12:27pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaori, it is not a problem at all.

    Fiori di Capri also seemed to drydown as a bit too sharp and bitter to be appealing. June 14, 2006 at 12:28pm Reply

  • Katie: “sharpness of eucalyptus and the soapiness of musk” GAK! Doesn’t sound like it’s one for me then. I don’t mind a touch of soapiness now and again, but it’s not my fave thing in the world, and combining it with eucaclyptus sharp or otherwise sounds like I’d be miserable wearing it. June 14, 2006 at 5:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I like a bit of eucalyptus, however, it bothers me when it is overly camphorous. Carnal Flower has a tinge of it, but in that case, it works perfectly against the lush creaminess. June 14, 2006 at 11:46pm Reply

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