By and  on May 13, 2008

ROME — Niche fragrance marketer Eau d'Italie has expanded its fragrance portfolio with a fifth scent, called Magnolia Romana.

Like other fragrances in the Eau d'Italie assortment, Magnolia Romana's inspiration is Italy centric. One of the Italian brand's founders, Sebastián Alvarez Murena, came up with the idea for the fragrance while jogging in the gardens of Rome's Villa Borghese.

"In the gardens, there are about 70 magnolia trees and when they blossom with these creamy white flowers in June it is truly something you can't forget," said Alvarez Murena, "because the humid air is loaded with perfume, which has a tinge of lemon leaves to it — it's lighter and fresher than jasmine."

But reproducing the aroma in a perfume turned out to be a challenge. After 35 trials in two years, Alvarez Murena and partner Marina Sersale abandoned the project.

"The problem with making the fragrance was finding the balance between fresh and not being too sweet," said Alvarez Murena.

However, perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, who created the other four Eau d'Italie fragrances, was intrigued by the brief and continued to work on the scent.

"He took it on as a personal mission, he was really determined to find what we were looking for," said Alvarez Murena.

Six months later, Duchaufour came up with "something perfect," said Alvarez Murena, and added, "a light floral that's not sweet but rather dry, with a roundness to it."

Though positioned as a unisex fragrance, Magnolia Romana "is the most feminine of our scents," said Alvarez Murena.

Duchaufour's olfactory blend for Magnolia Romana includes top notes of purple basil, lemon leaves, neroli, nutmeg and cypress; middle notes of magnolia flower extract, Bulgarian rose essence, tuberose, lotus, ozone and water notes, and base notes of cedar, French hay extract and white musk notes.

Magnolia Romana is bottled in an opaque white glass flacon, and the 100-ml. eau de toilette spray is priced at $120.

The scent, which was introduced in Europe at the beginning of last month, rolled out globally at the end of April and is on track to be the brand's best-selling fragrance, according to Alvarez Murena."Colette ordered it without even smelling it, retailers have been really enthusiastic and embraced it," said Alvarez Murena.

Industry sources estimate the scent could generate $400,000 in first-year retail sales.

Eau d'Italie's fragrances are carried at 210 doors worldwide. The brand entered Bergdorf Goodman at the end of last year, reached 10 Corso Como in Seoul in March and has plans to launch at Gum and Tsum in Moscow by the end of this year.

— Stephanie Epiro

L'Oréal Crowns e-Strat Winners

How best to achieve the highest share price index while incorporating diversity and sustainable development considerations was the challenge undertaken by 48 students from 16 universities worldwide taking part in this year's L'Oréal e-Strat competition.

Teams from National Chengchi University in Taiwan and from Schulich School of Business in Canada won the final round of the French beauty company's online business game. The competition, begun in 2001, is a key recruitment tool for L'Oréal, according to the company. As a general manager of a virtual cosmetics company, each student makes some 150 decisions, relating to pricing, research and development, marketing, advertising and brand positioning, over six rounds.

This year, a new sustainable performance module — relating to employee benefits, plus environmental, diversity and equity initiatives — replaced the former corporate social responsibility module. And, for the first time, L'Oréal partnered with Google to use its e-commerce tool for the challenge, so students could develop virtual online sales even further.

— Ellen Groves

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