If I could live in many places all at once, I’d start my day in Naples...or Venice...or Rome...so I could sip several cups of espresso with breakfast. I live in Seattle and, yes, I can get some great coffee here, but none that matches the distinctive flavor of the cups of coffee I've enjoyed in Italy. And I can assure you, there is NO cafe in Seattle that compares to the grand Italian coffee houses you'll find from Turin to Syracuse.
La Via del Profumo (also known as AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo) just released Milano Caffè. Perfumer Dominique Dubrana wasn't born in Italy, but moved there from France over 25 years ago. He is celebrating his adopted homeland with five “Italian” fragrances, paying homage to the cities of Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence and Naples. Milano Caffè was the first release in the Italian line. Dubrana said: “This perfume, named for Milan, is centered on the omnipresent and most characteristic smell of the city, the aroma of coffee. It pervades the streets and workplaces; it is part of every event and encounter, professional or leisurely; and is present in every social occasion. I have blended coffee with chocolate because that is the Milanese way: the residents of that marvelous city add Cacao powder to cappuccinos, and place a single square piece of chocolate next to your cup of coffee.”
Milano Caffè opens with a pleasantly discordant mix of espresso beans, bitter chocolate…and perhaps a touch of real patchouli. Next up is the scent of an expensive bar of dark chocolate, scented with cinnamon/clove, and an accord that reminds me of cardamom, something “sage-y”/green and a dark, almost caramelized sweet note (the “spirit” of opoponax followed me as I wore this perfume). Milano Caffè’s character in mid-development is of an off-kilter amber fragrance, with its bits and pieces not quite fitting together. I love the fact that this is NOT a smooth, predictable, culinary take on coffee and chocolate, but more of an herbal/spice-coffee-chocolate perfume “tonic.” There is a woody vibe in the extreme dry down, and the perfume gets a tad incense-y (benzoin?) the longer I wear it. (There is also a phase that reminds me of Thai iced tea, with its cream and star anise aromas.)
On first sniff, Milano Caffè went to the top of my favorite coffee-chocolate perfumes list, and I like it more each time I wear it; the fragrance would be great to wear in autumn and winter, even on a chilly spring day.
La Via del Profumo lists Milano Caffè as a masculine fragrance, but, to me, it’s unisex. Milano Caffè's lasting power is good for an all-natural fragrance (around four hours on me); sillage is minimal.
After morning espresso in Italy and a workday in Paris, I’m about to head to dinner in Chiang Mai. After that, a midnight stroll and then to bed in San Miguel de Allende (there, I’ll pick up a piece of Mexican chocolate or a hot cinnamon-y churro right before morning espresso back in Naples). A man can dream, can’t he?
La Via del Profumo Milano Caffè is available in 15.5 ml (€33), 33 ml (€71,40) and 50 ml (€98); available at La Via del Profumo.