Eau d'Italie and ALTAIA - details below

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Bottling your holiday is a growing business.

A couple’s romantic idea to capture the scent of their luxurious family hotel in Positano has launched an international range of fragrances.

Australians love Italy’s Amalfi Coast. You could ask, who doesn’t? Yet apparently, we like to souvenir it, too. The husband and wife creators of two best-selling Positano-based beauty and fragrance brands have launched an exclusive stockist deal with Mecca, after building a profile here via travelers bringing the scents back home.

Sebastián Alvarez Murena and Marina Sersale, whose family owns and runs the landmark Positano hotel, Le Sirenuse, launched their Eau d’Italie fragrance 20 years ago.

It’s now expanded into a range of bath and body products and a further 16 fragrances. There’s also a range called ALTAIA, or A Long Time Ago In Argentina.

“Sebastian and I met in Positano [after 9/11],” says Sersale, during the couple’s visit to Sydney in March. Due to travel being halted, a party celebrating the 50th anniversary of Le Sirenuse was cancelled, “so we met at an intimate birthday party that my cousin held.”

Sersale, a British-Italian documentary maker, and Murena, an Argentinean journalist, decided to mark the occasions with a fragrance that would capture the spirit of the hotel and the Amalfi Coast as they saw and felt it.

“We started working together on the Eau d’Italie project without declaring that we were doing it,” explains Sersale. “I was officially the one in charge, but I didn’t know much about fragrance. It became more and more our project, and then it became our work together.”

They sent out tendrils of inquiry to the tight perfumery industry before eventually coming across industry maverick, Bertrand Duchaufour. Their brief to him would become the blueprint for Eau d’Italie: “No lemony smell,” smiles Sersales. “Positano, lemons, Sirenuse, citrus – no.”

The debut fragrance (Eau d'Italie) was of Le Sirenuse in summer: tuberose, magnolia mixing with the incense of the nearby churches, tartness of blackcurrant, and underneath that a matte, caramel-like accord they say is the smell of sunbaked clay that lingers over the hotel at that time of year.

It was a hit. The experience with Duchaufour and the success of Eau d’Italie set off the second act of this love story – they married in 2008.

ALTAIA is the story of the couple’s ancestry when about 160 years ago, Murena’s great-great-grandfather General Bartolomé Mitre, the first president of a unified Argentina, opened the country up to foreign investment. One investor was Sersale’s great-great-grandfather, British entrepreneur James Morrison.

Fragrance names playfully reference personal anecdotes or details. There’s Don’t Cry For Me, an “olfactive homage to Buenos Aires” that was inspired by Murena’s childhood memories of the Argentine capital. The peppery rose of Any Day Now tells the story of their combined history and almost predestined meeting back in 2001, while Yu Sōn is the scent of the moment they first met.

Both ranges are popular in Australia. Asked why, Sersale says “Maybe it’s the fact that you are at the Antipodes. Far from a sort of European-centric vision. I think it gives you an absolute edge because the world isn’t Europe-centric any longer. And the Antipodes are becoming far more important from every point of view.”

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