Bustle Exclusive

Kayali’s New Fragrances Bottle Up That Summer Vacation Feeling

Mona Kattan shares all the exclusive details.

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Scent has the power to conjure up intense emotions and vivid memories — if you’ve ever caught a whiff of someone’s perfume and instantly been reminded of a specific person, time, or place, you get it. As summer unfolds, we’re leaning towards fragrances that whisk us away (at least, in our minds) to breezy spots like the shores of a Sicilian coastal town, or even a sun-drenched day in the park. Traditional summer fragrances will often feature notes from jasmine to vanilla and coconut, all of which transport us to a beach somewhere, daiquiri in hand, out of office-reply on.

If you’re a fan of sweet fragrance notes but looking for something a little different this summer, look no further than Kayali’s newest fragrance set, Vacay in A Bottle. Founded by Mona Kattan, Kayali has swiftly become a cult-favorite perfume brand, captivating fragrance enthusiasts with rich-smelling gourmand hits like Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar and Eden Juicy Apple.

Kayali, meaning “my imagination” in Arabic, reflects Kattan’s Middle Eastern heritage and the cherished art of fragrance layering to craft a unique, personalized aroma (Kattan herself is a fan of layering multiple of her fragrances at once to create her own signature scent). Made in France, each of her fragrances feature intoxicating gourmand note housed in her signature jewel-like bottles. Every element of a Kayali fragrance tells a special story, and Vacay in A Bottle is no exception.

“We really wanted to transport everyone through the power of scent and create an experience that would allow everyone to travel to different cities with a spritz during the summer,” Kattan tells Bustle exclusively. “Vacay in A Bottle is a full summer itinerary, taking you to Marrakesh, Maui, Maldives, and Capri with the spritz!”

This is the first time that Kayali has debuted a limited-edition mini set, featuring exclusive ingredients previously untouched by the brand — a true ode to summer. Ideal for avid travelers, Vacay in A Bottle is also purposely TSA-friendly.

“The truth is that not everyone can always travel during the summer, and we wanted to still make it accessible through scent — I’m actually one of those people!” Kattan explains. “I usually work during the summer and take time off during the year. We wanted to give the opportunity to travel to everyone, and we decided to launch it as minis as it just made sense for everyone to slip it into their suitcases.”


The Inspiration

The fragrances are inspired by places Kattan has personally visited and loved, like Capri and the Maldives, but also places she’s dreamed of visiting. “I had the best holiday ever in Capri in 2018,” she recalls. “ Walking in the streets really was breathtaking, there were lemons everywhere and this beautiful scent just followed you around as you walked.” Hence, why the scent Capri has lemon sugar notes in it. Maldives, on the other hand, is where Kattan spent her honeymoon, and she considers it a “special place” in her heart. “When you go to the Maldives, you smell sweet coconut everywhere,” she says. “It’s a very aquatic and relaxing place, and we wanted to translate that through the ylang-ylang and coconut [notes in the fragrance].”

Among the collection, Maui in A Bottle stands out as the epitome of wearability and versatility — and also contains an unexpected fragrance note: bananas. “My sister Alya is obsessed with it although she usually loathes bananas and runs away from the room if I’m eating one,” Kattan says. “It’s the best one to layer, and the combination of sweet banana, pear, coconut cream, jasmine, and vanilla makes it such a sweet, solar, and blissful fragrance.”

Lastly, though Kattan hasn’t personally been to Marrakesh yet, she was inspired by what she had heard about the city’s bustling streets, with its aromatic markets and sweet treats at every turn. She also collaborated with master perfumer Alberto Morillas — the nose for iconic scents such as Acqua di Gio and Marc Jacobs Daisy — which was a long-standing dream of hers.


Kayali's latest mini set, crafted with exclusive summer-inspired ingredients, marks a special moment for the brand. Designed to appeal to anyone who wants to stay in a vacation state of mind, regardless of they can actually travel, Vacay in A Bottle offers a sensory journey that transports wearers to sunny, dreamy destinations through scent.