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Morn to Dusk – The Italian way to Vanilla - April 1, 2016


Hotel Le Sirenuse, (red building) Positano, Italy -

Italy! The Amalfi Coast. Growing up in our family, I was fascinated by my dad’s recollections of the Amalfi Coast where he’d spent time during WWII. Especially of Positano, which he described as a beautiful little town built on the cliffs rising from the Mediterranean, with steep winding cobbled streets, old walled villas, fragrant flowers and abundant sunshine, delicious seafood cuisine, warm and gracious people, and now here I was climbing the worn steps from those vertical streets into my hotel. Positano was positively beautiful, just as Dad described it.

Positano is known by perfume afficionados as the home of niche brand Eau d’Italie which was started in 2004 by Marina Sersale and her husband, Sebastien Alvarez Murena. Their first fragrance, also named Eau d’Italie, was launched to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Sersale family’s five-star award-winning Hotel Le Sirenuse.  Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour was asked to create Eau d’Italie as the signature scent of La Sirenuse - it should smell like sun on skin, it should carry the scent of shrubs and herbal grasses growing along the coast, of the warm terracotta tiling, of the incense wafting from the church on the hill, and of the salt in the sea air. It should smell like Positano.

Eau d’Italie is exactly that, summer in Positano, and it’s been followed by ten more scents all of which explore the landscapes and history of Italian regions and cities, such as herbal Jardin du Poete (Sicily), and spicy Baume du Doge (Venice) which are listed in our Decant Store. Six of the scents have been created by the talented M. Duchaufour, and for their eleventh and most recent 2015 release Morn to Dusk, Marina and Sebastien chose a woman perfumer known for her rich voluptuous style, Annick Menardo, the brilliant nose behind the modern classics Bulgari Black, Hypnotic Poison by Dior, and Lolita Lempicka.

Morn to Dusk doesn’t seem to represent so much a place in Italy, like the other scents in the line, it represents more a feeling through time. Eau d’Italie website describes this soft scent as “A sensual feeling that wraps like a veil of gold, from morning till the sun sets…. Morn to Dusk is the Italian way to Vanilla: simply irresistible.”

And it is irresistible to me. It opens with soft vanilla, vanilla tinged with citrus and white florals, the lime of bergamot, the green floralcy of lily of the valley. It’s a fresh clean vanilla, light and airy, with a quiet energy. And then it becomes silky and smooth and very chic, with a hint of almond and grasses as it deepens into the heart, a slightly sweeter and creamier vanilla but the feeling is soft and controlled. This delicious accord lasts for a couple of hours and then Morn to Dusk deepens, and in the base the vanilla becomes more woody with hints of amber, feeling languid and more sensual as musk notes turn into skin scents.

Morn to Dusk is a very quiet scent, warm, slightly floral, slightly gourmand, comforting, but with a sensual vibration just below the surface. It’s vanilla from top to bottom but not sweet or foody, and in the hands of Annick Menardo this vanilla note goes through some very subtle but fascinating changes as it dries down through the day, creating a sensation of great comfort and ease. Subdued, with low sillage, it’s a delight to wear and enjoy all day from morn to dusk.

It’s the Italian way with vanilla. Ah, those Italians from Positano. They understand pleasure and beauty.

Morn to Dusk is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.