07.06.2024 LE SIRENUSE

During a conversation about how best to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hotel which Marina’s father had co-founded in 1951 with three of his siblings, she recalls that “somehow the idea of a signature fragrance came up”. It was the start of an adventure that would take Marina and Sebastián through two long years of learning, research and testing, until finally Eau d’Italie was born.

Launched in 2004, this founding fragrance grew out of Marina’s childhood memories of summers at a hotel that was frequented by sophisticated globetrotters but also associated with simpler scents and sensations, from wild herbs to sun-warmed terracotta to the wisps of incense that were carried up on the sea breeze after evening mass in Positano’s mother church Today, Eau d’Italie is the name both of that original signature scent, with its intriguing notes of bergamot and blackcurrant, musk and incense, and of what has become a fragrance and bodycare brand with global outreach.

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Twelve more fragrances have been introduced since 2004, among them Acqua Decima, inspired by the celebrated Path of the Gods mountain trail, Jardin du Poete, evocative of ancient Sicilian gardens, and the brand’s homage to silver screen diva Greta Garbo’s Amalfi Coast love affair, Rosa Greta. The most recent, Acqua di Positano was created to mark Eau d’Italie’s twentieth anniversary in 2024, and comes, in Sebastián’s words, “with all the character of a standalone fragrance, something of a brand within the brand”. It is dedicated, he says, “to the one place we have so far overlooked on Eau d’Italie’s olfactory Italian Grand Tour – Positano itself”.

“When we see, we remain who we are. When we smell, we are absorbed entirely”. So wrote philosophers Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in their book Dialectic of Enlightenment. One of the first senses to develop in mammals, the sense of smell is connected to older subconscious parts of the brain and to our limbic system, which regulates mood, memory, behaviour and feelings. Well aware of the seismic power of scent to trigger emotional fault lines and reawaken buried recollections, Marina and Sebastián always begin by creating a ‘mood board’ that distils the images, scents, tastes, memories and sensations that they associate with their chosen place or theme.

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In the case of Positano, these included the heady perfume of jasmine that envelops those who walk back up narrow Via dei Mulini after a day on the beach, the fragrant Mediterranean maquis of myrtle, prickly pear, mulberries and carobs that line the wild, rocky mountain trails above town, or the terraced kitchen gardens of its perched villages, where tomatoes, basil, oranges, peppers, zucchini and ancient figs flourish in small, lovingly-tended plots. It took in the sunlight – strong, transparent, omnipresent – and the drama of sudden summer storms that trail in their wake the scent of wet sand and wild herbs newly nourished after weeks of dry heat.

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It fell to French master perfumier Marie Salamagne to translate these impressions into a seductive fragrance that would speak to all who knew the Amalfi Coast’s most celebrated ‘vertical town’ – and feed the yearning to return there. One of the expert ‘noses’ on the books of Swiss fragrance specialists Firmenich, Salamagne strives with every commission to find the expressive notes that will unlock a wave of sensations and associations. “A good perfume acts like Proust’s madeleine”, she believes. “It has the power to transport and the emotion it arouses is uncontrollable and powerful. It is an entity in itself.”

Available in both 100ml and 10ml eau de parfum spray bottles, enclosed within an eye-catching sky-blue box embellished with Le Sirenuse’s classic double mermaid logo in burnished gold, Acqua di Positano is now shipping worldwide. If you can’t make it back to Positano anytime soon, or if you have a stay planned but want to get in the mood, why not let this heady fragrance be your madeleine?


Clients in the US should click here to shop Acqua di Positano and the entire Eau d’Italie range. For the rest of the world, please use the main Eau d’Italie website.


Photos © David Castillo, @davidcastillofotografo. The model wears Emporio Sirenuse.

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