Carthusia's Mediterraneo fragrance — a bright and sunny mix of lemon, verbena and green tea — has long been a summer staple of mine. So far, nothing else in the line had really captured my affections, although I've been meaning to revisit the florals since I haven't smelled most of them in quite some time (if you have a favorite, or if you've had the chance to try any of the solid perfumes, do tell). Their new 1681, though, was a pleasant surprise.
1681 is named for the year the Carthusian monks of the Certosa di San Giacomo on the island of Capri reportedly began crafting fragrances using local materials.1 It opens with a spicy, somewhat sharp blend of citrus, herbs and lavender, and dries down to a creamy and smooth cedar pencil + light incense (mandarin, bergamot, coriander, red thyme, rosemary, iris, neroli, lavender, petitgrain, black pepper, sandalwood, cedar, incense, amber, vanilla and musk). It's more dry than not (the vanilla is just a dab) and I don't know who it is being marketed to, but most people would probably find it more masculine than feminine.
If it sounds at all heavy, rest assured that once it calms, it's soft and sheer enough to work perfectly in the worst humidity — it might be a summer version of something like Frapin Caravelle Epicée. The lasting power could be a little better, but it's reasonable enough. I wouldn't mind owning a bottle but I'm not quite head over heels in love: it's been added to the "maybe, at the right price" section of my "buy" list. It's certainly worth a try for anyone looking for a spicy woods for summer.
Carthusia 1681 is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum ($120); for buying information see the listing for Carthusia under Perfume Houses.
1. Or returned to crafting fragrances after the Certosa was reconstructed? Or some such. The press materials are not entirely clear.
p.s. If anyone knows if Mediterraneo has been reformulated in the past few years, do comment!