Monday 6 January 2020

MILANO CENTO - The Original Just Got Stronger

I wonder how many bottles of fragrance end up languishing in the forgotten corner of a cupboard or get passed on to a friend with the greeting of “I think that this will suit you more than it does me.” When we find a perfume that we love it often becomes our signature and, understandably, others that are gifted or purchased can sometimes compare unfavourably next to it. Even the act of moving from an Eau de Toilette to an Eau de Parfum can prove problematic so, with this in mind, has Milano Cento successful managed to intensify its signature scent to match the expectations of a new decade?

When Milano Cento was relaunched in July 2016 it was the fulfilment of a dream that even the owners of the company had questioned was actually possible. This iconic fragrance was revived almost by accident, and it really is iconic to those that smelled it back in 1989, but it was an accident that the perfume industry desperately needed. Originally the brainchild of Dean Tatum and Matthew Bright, Milano Cento had been the talk of London and was very successfully installed in Selfridges, Harrods, and John Lewis. However, it became a victim of its own success and the owners couldn’t keep up with demand.

The doors closed in 1992 and remained firmly shut until Dean’s wife, Valissa, came up with the idea to get a bottle made for her husband’s fiftieth birthday. All that remained were a few old samples and a lot of memories, but unfortunately the fragrances had deteriorated to such an extent as to be of no help. After contacting the original manufactures, which then resulted in a lot of digging, the formula was eventually found and a new version created that was faithful to the original but which also met the new legal requirements. There was still a lot of work to do, but the dream was about to become a reality.

Milano Cento proved to be a beacon in a sea of oud and fruit but, very quickly, customers started asking for a richer version. Now, we’re already in fully fledged aromatic fougere territory here and so the company had to tread carefully. It’s become accepted practice that an EDT is usually reworked and tweaked to create the EDP version, and often bears only a passing resemblance to the original. Valissa and Dean didn’t want this and so took the wonderfully old fashioned approach of merely increasing the percentage of fragrance oils. However, would this increase turn the soaringly strident EDT into a deafening scream?

One of the interesting facts about perfume is that a fragrance’s character can be dramatically altered by the alcohol percentage. It almost adds space to the aroma and so, when it is reduced, you often see a devilishly sensuous animal emerge. With the new Milano Cento Eau de Parfum you still have all of the wonderfully aromatic quality from the lavender and rosemary, with rays of lemon and bergamot, but the base really seems to come to the fore. A labdanum rich amber accord locks onto the patchouli and sandalwood pairing but, lurking in the background, it's an earthy vetiver that adds the claws to this magnificent tiger.

Milano Cento Eau de Parfum is available from Lucky Scent in America and from numerous stores in the UK priced at £70 for 100ml. You can by search for your nearest stockist at To read my review of the original Eau de Toilette just click on the image below. [Sample provided by Milano Cento]

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