Milano Caffe

I have been itching to try some perfumes by La Via del Profumo, an Italian company under perfumer Abdes Salaam, since reading about his creations on Suzanne’s Perfume Journal. I was lucky enough to win Milano Caffe in a draw on Australian Perfume Junkies, so today’s review truly comes from the bounty of the perfume blogosphere.

milano

If you’re a regular reader, you know I have sought out coffee scents for years, without finding one that is truly my ideal. The reigning favorite is Coffee & Cedar, by what appears to be a defunct tiny Etsy operation.

As Suzanne noted, Milano Caffe can’t really be compared to any of the well-known coffee scents on the market. It’s richer and more “roasted” than Bond No. 9’s New Haarlem, and just plain richer than Jo Malone’s Black Vetyver Cafe. It’s not as one-noted as Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s coffee frag, and it’s more coffee-centric than, say, Bell Antonio or L’Eau de Navigateur.

The opening of Milano Caffe is, to me, overloaded with several natural molecules that I am familiar with from other fragrances—but particularly several by Neil Morris. At this stage, it smells very much like a muddy and blurred-out patchouli, although patchouli isn’t a listed note. Milano Caffe isn’t as vaporous as Borneo 1834 (lacking the menthol that gives Borneo its amazing heavy lightness), but I agree completely with Suzanne that it hearkens a bit to Borneo. I also agree with Portia that wearers would be advised not to bury their noses in Milano Caffe for at least an hour after spraying.

After several hours, Milano Caffe does soften considerably, and I enjoy a few moments of a mellow, slightly sweet blend of coffee and spices before the scent fades. But unfortunately, the messy and muddy opening (far too typical of natural perfumes, in my opinion), spoils Milano Caffe for me. I have tested it many times, striving to experience the elegant and wonderfully complex scent that Suzanne and Portia describe, but it just doesn’t sing on my skin.

Have you tried Milano Caffe? What is your favorite coffee-based scent?

For reviews of La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe, see the links above or check Fragrantica.

Sample was won in a draw. Posts are never compensated or sponsored. Image courtesy Fragrantica. 

 

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15 responses

  1. Too bad this one didn’t work for you. I just looked up the very popular Monday Question we did on tea and coffee perfumes and have a couple here that you may or may not have tried yet.

    Cafe V by Olympic Orchids (see if Portia still has some!)

    L’Or de Torrente by Torrente – notes from Fragrantica: it opens with mandarin orange, litchi, kiwi, black currant and magnolia, followed by iris, cedar, the essence of coffee, rose and angelica aromas. It ends at the base of vanilla, white amber, precious wood and coffee.

    Cafe Diem by Paul Kiler which is supposed to be a Turkish coffee

    These may not be easy to get hold of but might be worth looking out for.

    • I had gone back and made note of some of those suggestions as well. I’m especially interested in L’Or de Torrente. But thank you for pointing out Cafe Diem, too! I’m going to look for that one also. I do wonder though if I only like the idea of a coffee fragrance, and not the real thing. It may be a possibility.

  2. Natalie, thank you for the link love and kinds words about my La Via del Profumo reviews. It’s funny how everyone’s skin reacts to fragrance differently – this one evolves very quickly on my skin, so I don’t have wait to bury my nose in it. Natural perfumes can be challenging, too. For a long time, I didn’t think I cared for them, because on my scent eating skin, they disappeared so quickly. In saying that, I think that, there again (skin chemistry) is how I came to fall in love with the two natural perfume lines that I love the most (La Via del Profumo and April Aromatics), because they have a density, longevity and complexity that is perfect for me.

    I hope you find another favorite coffee perfume. (Coffee & Cedar sounds so good … I remember Meg from Parfumieren loved the sample you sent.) You’d think there would be a lot of great coffee perfumes, and yet there aren’t, or at least not in the same way that there are many wonderful tea-inspired perfumes.

    • Thank you for introducing me to this company, Suzanne! You raise an interesting point about skin chemistry. I sometimes wonder if part of the reason naturals don’t seem to work as well on me a lot of the time is that my skin doesn’t tend to eat any aspect of any fragrance. I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but when I have had the chance to try side-by-side with others, I have often felt like my skin is a blank canvas that simply mirrors back the contents of a fragrance. There is so much going on with a lot of naturals that they just feel cacophonous on my skin. Hmmm … I’ll have to see if I can test this hypothesis via more side-by-side wearings with other fume fans.

  3. I haven’t tried this one, but would dearly like to find a fragrance with a coffee note that I cared for. I do like Atelier d’Artiste by Nez a Nez, but it’s more about other notes than coffee. I should really like to try SoOuds Asmar. I often find when I have just sprayed perfume in the mornings and then make my coffee, when the two scents intertwine, that’s perfect! Maybe that’s as close as it’ll ever get for me:-)

    I’m curious; what’s your favourite so far?

    • Asmar sounds nice – I haven’t tried that one. I would like a perfume with a coffee note, but not dominated by coffee, so the morning perfume + coffee blend that you describe sounds like a winner to me. :)

      Current favorite is Coffee & Cedar, which is sadly no longer available. But I’ll keep you posted if any of these other recommendations turn out to be winners.

  4. I shan’t be seeking this one out, purely because I dislike coffee in all its incarnations except coffee cake! And I do know what you mean about the opening of some natural perfumes being a bit murky – I have had that issue with a couple of houses – almost, but not entirely across the board.

    • Does coffee cake even contain coffee? ;) Thanks for the opinion on the murkiness issue. I’m glad it isn’t just me. Agree it’s not across the board, but it has definitely been a frequent experience of mine.

  5. Hey Gorgeous,
    What a BUMMER! I am sad this didn’t work for you. Have you tried Cafe V by Olympic Orchids? I wonder if that may be more your style. It may be too leathery for you. Hmmm
    I’ll bring it on Friday week.
    Portia xx

    • I think I tried Cafe V a long time ago, but would welcome the opportunity to try again – thanks! And thank you for hosting this great draw. I was definitely happy to smell these.

  6. Keep thinking that I’ll get around to Via del Profumo but haven’t yet, and now wonder how far I should bother?
    As to coffee scents, still really Like the A*men series, and after that Bel Antonio because it smells SO Italian. Also fell for Shelley Waddington’s Caffe Cacao.
    Which Neil Morris perfumes? Have you tried Dark Season? I’m on a bit of a Morris kick right now. Love his Rose of Kali, Afire and Izmir.

    • I don’t know … I feel like naturals (even more so than non-naturals) are sooo individual. I can never predict what I will and won’t like in the realm of naturals. I like Bel Antonio a lot, but I don’t really categorize it as a coffee scent – I wonder why?

      Most of the Neil Morris perfumes I’ve tried were his creations for Devilscent. I also have (if I recall correctly) samples of Moulin Rouge and Assam. I don’t think I have Dark Season, but Afire sounds familiar … (I can’t check, b/c those samples are back home in the sample box). Will have to dig them out when I’m reunited. :)

  7. Just discovered your blog and I love it. I’m a huge fan of perfumes and avidly read fragrantica. However, unfortunately I cant afford perfumes too frequently… I always just have two at a time

    • Thank you so much! I’ve been quite haphazard with posting for a very long time now, and I can’t promise that will change, so I’m very glad with new folks still stop by. It makes my day! :)

      As for just having two at a time, I think there’s a lot to be said for minimalism. I went through most of my life having one perfume at a time.

  8. I have to say that my experience of Milano Caffe was a lot like yours. In all honesty, I’m not sure I got any coffee from it . . . I think it smelled closer to an actual café (like the kind of big, noisy Italian ones with a terrace where you can sit and watch the world go by). I would love to find a terrific coffee fragrance. Montale’s Intense Cafe starts off beautifully, but then the coffee fades quickly on my skin. Have you tried Mancera Black Candy? It’s not a coffee fragrance per se, but it comes closer.

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