Carthusia is one of the smallest, privately owned perfumeries in the world. It’s in Capri and it makes Mediterraneo, one of the best, ever, lemon perfumes. Irritatingly, I have run out. So you can imagine my glee the moment a bottle by the same people, lands on my desk. It’s called Caprissimo. One waft and I’m back to bed time. The baby sitter has just arrived and it’s the late 70s – my mother is putting on her velvet evening coat and I catch a waft of her favourite scent, Caleche. She and my father are about to go out to dinner.
It’s because like Caleche, Caprissimo is a chypre (sounds like ‘sheep’ – kind of) scent. Unlike a floral scent a chypre has a dry, green kind of smell. And the classic chypre has oakmoss in it, which together with things like patchoui, vetiver and spices (I’m just dipping into a scent book by scent expert Roja Dove), makes it rather sophisticated, yeah-huh.
Thing about this one is that you put it on, and after a few further moments it gives you a surge at the pit of your stomach like you get when you catch a glimpse of the sexiest boy in class, or taste the most disgustingly, chocolatey pudding, or are having a snog. It really is quite something. Both nostalgic and damned sexy.
(Illo by Emma Hill)