9 Nine, Atelier Cologne, Campomarzio70, Creed, Diptyque, Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, Frederic Malle, Guido Wetter, Juliet has a gun, L'Olfattorio, Le Labo, Liquides Imaginaires, Lubin, Milano, Profumo, Yosh
Forget the fashion district, the Milan shopping district to go to is the niche fragrance district around via Brera. To get there take Metro 1 to Cairoli, Metro 3 to Montenapoleone or tramway 1, 12, or 14 to via Cusani. The district itself is artsy and lovely, with many art galleries, vintage clothing shops and antique stores.
You can start your tour from Italy’s first Diptyque boutique in Via Brera, 23. The must smells here are Philosykos, 34, inspired by the smell of the famous 34 Boulevard St. Germain boutique, Oyedo, Tam Dao and basically everything else. The shop has also the full home fragrance range and it’s furnished like a stylish parisian apartment, with mixed wallpapers. Since it’s managed by L’Olfattorio- Bar à Parfums, you will test fragrances not on muillettes but in small paper cups, placed over a plastic stem to form a sort of champagne cup. L’Olfattorio bar -a – parfums is just down the street, at number 5. Getting there you will pass in front of Pinacoteca di Brera, which has one of the best art collections in Italy. In the main court you will see Napoleone’s statue by Canova.
At l’Olfattorio you will find a violet leather and brown wood Penhaligon’s corner and too many must smells to mention, including those from L’Artisan Parfumeur, The Different Company and Les Parfumes de Rosine. Don’t miss the new and exciting brand Les Liquides Imaginaires.
Directly opposite of L’Olfattorio, there is Profumo, where everything started. It’s one of the first artistic fragrance shops in Milan and most trends in italian niche perfumery start from here, including choosing the Brera district as an ideal location to open a fragrance shop. It’s the exclusive seller of Le Labo in Italy and it’s now launching the arabian brand Al Haramain, a definite must smell. There is a cabin where you can try the Frederic Malle Editions De Parfum fragrances and a cabinet with raw materials, to be experienced under the expert guidance of the proprietor, Guido Wetter. A few doors away, at number 2, the famous roman profumeria Campomarzio70 recently opened its Milan store. It’s one of the very few places in Italy where you can find Roja Dove fragrances, along with Brecourt, Xerjoff, by Kilian, Memo, Maison Francis Kurkdijan, Yosh and others. Diaghiliev is a must smell and so are the Kurkdijan ouds, then let the very experienced, friendly and multilingual staff guide you.
After visiting Campomarzio70, turn right on Via Dell’Orso. At 18 you will find Les Néreides Italian flasghip store, and just next to it, L’Erbolario, a mid range italian brand whose fragrances always remind me of famous luxury fragrances. But it must be a coincidence. In any case, it’s fun to smell them and those who miss the recently discontinued Shalimar Parfum Initial will find some comfort in Ibisco. Part of the profits from Ibisco go to a solidarity project in Africa. A the end of via dell’Orso turn right again and go to 9 Nine in via Ponte Vetero 22, a very british style perfumery that sells Juliette has a Gun, Lubin, Atelier Cologne, Molton Brown, everything from Crabtree and Evelyn, cookies included, Costume National and other brands.
At the end of via Ponte Vetero have a look at the beautiful Chiesa del Carmine and head to via Madonnina, 11 where you will find the Milan flagship store of Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. It’s not as beautiful or ancient as the historical shop in Florence, but it smells of the inimitable pot-pourri and has vault ceilings. The must smells are the best Iris essence ever, Nostalgia, the weirdly interesting Marescialla, Melograno, Cuba, Tabacco Toscano and, again, pretty much everything. The cosmetics, pastilles and herbal teas are also excellent. Last but not least Creed recently opened its Italian flagship store in via Madonnina, 17. Here you can find the whole collection and even sample some of the discontinued Creed fragrances. The very friendly staff also uses a special app to guide costumers in choosing their ideal Creed fragrance.