Two of my favorite people in perfume are the husband and wife team behind Eau D’Italie; Sebastian Alvarez Murena and Marina Sersale. As the owners of the hotel her family founded, La Sireneuse; they have created perfumes which capture the history around their property. Because they are interested in the past Sig.ra Sersale decided to dig a little bit into her ancestry. When she finally traced back her lineage to a great-great-grandfather who was in Argentina looking for business opportunities she found something extremely interesting; the great-great-grandfather of Sig. Murena was part of their story. In a perfumed version of the television show “Who Do You Think You Are?” they decided to make perfumes to capture not only the history of both families but the contemporary love of the two people who met all these years later.
Sebastian Alvarez Murena and Marina Sersale
The line is called ALTAIA which is an acronym for “A Long Time Ago in Argentina”. There are three fragrances in the inaugural releases. By Any Other Name is the story of Sig.ra Sersale’s ancestors and is a lovely rose themed perfume. Don’t Cry for Me is the one for Sig. Murena’s family and it is a beautifully fresh floral. The one which captured my attention from the first moment I smelled it was Yu Son which is meant to evoke an early moment in the relationship of Sig.ra Sersale and Sig. Murena.
All three of the ALTAIA perfumes were composed by Daphne Bugey. When I spoke with Sig.ra Sersale at Pitti Fragranze she said it was clear Mme Bugey really felt the inspiration behind the briefs she was given. I definitely agree that the perfume she produced has plenty of emotion behind it. Yu Son represents that moment in a relationship when you feel sure you’ve found your lover and your best friend. For our lovers this took place in an orange grove in Italy and Yu Son is meant to capture that evening as the air cools in the orange grove.
Mme Bugey uses mandarin as the source of her orange in the top notes. Paired with it is a lilting green tea accord which is almost like the lovers sitting on a cloth underneath the trees sipping cups of tea. It is a lovely fragile opening. It evolves into a passionate mix of orris and orange blossom. This is what sold me on Yu Son. Mme Bugey uses just the right concentration of orris. The orange blossom also stands up a little more than it might against a note like orris. Together there is the partnership of two halves forming a fabulous whole. Mme Bugey again keeps it light in the base as gaiac and amber provide a very simple frame to contain the floral duet in the heart.
Yu Son has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Orris and orange blossom are a not unheard of combination but there is something special about the particular balance Mme Bugey struck. I really feel the combining of two different influences into something new and greater than either. Very much like the life, and perfumes, Sig.ra Sersale and Sig. Murena have produced over the past eleven years.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from ALTAIA I received at Pitti Fragranze 2015.