Others have reviewed it in great detail so my addition will be relatively simple.
The first impression is that of tiramisu or some other complex chocolate-coffee concoction (I'm guessing the ethanol holding the thing together probably adds to the tiramisu impression). However, it avoids being sweet and that is the genius - it is only the aromatic side of the cake and not the overwhelming, cloying, slightly sickening feel of ethyl vanillin that is usually liberally added to that kind of profile. Think cocoa powder rather than chocolate bar.
As time passes, the scent migrates to woodier, spicier territories, warm winter food spices. Of those, clove particularly stands out. Again, perfect balance, and good projection - very impressive considering the all-natural ingredients.
I think this is a great fragrance, I reach for it all the time for both casual and professional occasions, and it is the sample that got me to contact Mr. Dubrana to order a set of his other stuff.
There's a little too much soil in the topnotes for me to fully appreciate this fragrance. It's fantastic in Hindu Kush; not so much when I'm thinking about having a cup of coffee. When those blow off, the fragrance is a good coffee one with pastry notes. It skewed masculine on me.
Milano Caffè opens with an almost gourmand accord of cocoa beans, coffee (real, bitter, earthy and round coffee smell forget the Nespresso absolute several so-called "coffee" scents deliver), with also woody-earthy notes of patchouli, vetiver, oak moss, dry resins, spices which initially are quite light, hiding behind the "gourmand" initial feel. Overall is a really peculiar, edible blend with a leather accent, really soft, cozy, aromatic, dark and dry but also sweet and rich, which effectively reflects its name a sort of exotic, but also "civilized" austerity and refinement, with a mysterious and tasty elegant smell of coffee an ingredient which I love (mostly because I love coffee), but it is really rarely used properly in perfumery. After a while the spices emerge more clearly, notably cloves, which for a while bring Milano Caffè closer to some "No. 88" scents. Also the dusty, dry but soft and warm vetiver note is now more detectable. Basically, in broad terms, it is a dark, spicy, woody and warm scent, really masculine and classy, with a warm heart of sweeter notes a light, elegant sweetness, also quite earthy and organic since it's given by cocoa and coffee. Top notch style and quality as we can expect from Dubrana's standards. Surprisingly, Milano Caffè has also a bolder projection and a longer persistence if compared to others of this line. Mystical and sophisticated, refined and cozy, a nostalgic reference to an "old Milan" which sadly (speaking as Milanese...) is not there anymore.
Another Dominique Dubrana's convincing performance appointed for the extremely genuine and "fragrant" AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo. Milano Caffè, the first of a series dedicated to several representative italian cities, strikes by soon for its "somewhat O'Driu'esque" extremely measured juxtaposition between aromatic/spicy culinary elements (aromatic herbs, dry spices, green peels) and an amber/cappuccino olfactory basement which never drags the aroma towards the slippery (and dangerous) gourmand fields. The aim is to reproduce over an olfactory path the "milanese aura" dominated by the ubiquitous caffè/cappuccino/cigarette presence and by the spicy whiffs exhaling all around by the ethnic restaurants. The strenght of spices (cloves, pepper and cinnamon under my profane nose) supported by the influence from aromatic herbs and probably green citrus peels are all for long more relevant than the restrained coffee/amber-vanilla/cocoa basic accord. I detect tobacco along the dry down but this characteristic element smells more about dry/spicy tobacco than about a perfumed, smooth and sweet vanillic tobacco itself (despite the listed vanilla, cocoa and cappuccino). This basically dry spicy tobacco is closer to an Hilde Soliani Bell'Antonio's type of tobacco rendition (which is anyway far drier and more ash-tray type) than to a Tobacco Vanille one, despite the rounding performance afforded by a vanilla/cappuccino accord. The dry down smells something in the middle between an "O'Driu'esque" ideal Peety/Linfedele Haiku "encounter" and the Don Corleone's tobacco/vanilla main vibe. The "accomplished" outcome is still woodsy/spicy for sure but finally well rounded, tobacco flavoured, woody, averagely dry (dry spices/tobacco/amber accord) and with a "non-gourmand" subtle cigarette/cappuccino vein never beyond the fences of a strict balance. Is like spices, dry amber, herbal patterns and tobacco could be able to dry, restrict and wisely refrain the rounding balsams influence in a way the aroma appears carnal, spicy and almost organic till the end of the trip. Frankly I'm not able to detect any iris which eventually expresses its influence just with a rounding, powder providing and amalgamating effect. Yes, I detect throughout a subtle, really subtle tenacious green/lemony slightly bitter/aromatic secret spark. Extremely natural (with the finest genuine aromatic raw materials implementation), and distinguished Milano Caffè is another satisfactory "odorous" issue by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo.
I must have been distracted when perfumer AbdesSalaam Attar launched his project on Italian cities here on Basenotes- I would have loved to take part in the development of a fragrance inspired by my home town!
Fortunately others did and what a beautiful result!
To be truly honest, this fragrance has a much more immediate and flattering beauty than the city itself- I wish Milan were so warm and spicy and open to the world! AbdesSalaam has decided to catch a very peculiar glimpse of it, through the ubiquitous smell of coffee that oozes from every bar and private house and the lively spiciness of a slice of East Africa in the heart of the city- a handful of streets in the semicentral district of Porta Venezia where a multiethnic community resides since many years.
The fragrance is smooth, rounded and polished like a coffee bean. It starts rather green, with minty and herbal notes, then gets softer, powdery with a coffee- cocoa accord (reminding me more of the cold remains of coffee in a cup than a steaming hot espresso). There is a certain sweetness , but it never turns gourmand or edible (drinkable, I should say!). The woody and slightly bitter facets of coffee and cocoa are highlighted here, along with a balsamic, resinous quality that I have found in every Profumo fragrance so far. The spiciness is supplied by mostly pepper and cardamom throughout the whole fragrance.The drydown is a deliciously bittersweet, amber, at the same time warm and dry and austere, with hints of a resin with slightly lemony undertones (labdanum?) and cedarwood.
The lasting power is rather good for an all-natural fragrance, though a certain liberality in spraying is necessary to obtain the effect. The projection is moderate, on the other hand, but most of the fragrances of this line are intended to be this way. The fragrance is indicated as masculine on Profumo website but it's perfectly unisex in my opinion.