Friday, June 22, 2007

Carthusia of Capri

My favorite perfumery of all time is located on the beautiful island of Capri. The stone path leading to the shop is lined with blossoms of the most incredible fragrance. Legend has it that in 1380 the father prior of the Carthusian Monastery of St. Giacomo in preparation for the arrival of Queen Giovanna D'Angio to Capri made an arrangement of local island flowers. The water was not changed for three days until the prior noticed this water had acquired a lovely fragrance. That water became the first perfume of Capri.

Today Carthusia still makes perfume in limited production using the same methods as the Carthusian monks. Local herbs and flowers such as rosemary from Monte Solaro and Capri wild carnation are used in their heavenly brews. The last time I was in Italy I purchased my favorite Carthusian scent, Fiori di Capri. It's light with delicious notes of Mediterranean wild carnation, lily of the valley and oak along with hints of amber, sandal and ylang ylang. Imagine my despair the day I finished off the last drop of this perfume! When would I have another chance to get back to Capri? Fortunately, Carthusia is available in the States (and online) at British apothecary, C.O. Bigelow. Now one can appreciate the beautiful scents of Capri from the comfort of home (not that this should ever stop you from going to Italy!)