Montblanc Explorer: The Review

Montblanc Explorer Eau de Parfum Spray Review

The spotlight is on our #MyEscentual Fragrance Blind Trial line-up! Now that the results are out The Candy Perfume is sharing why they made it into our ‘Best Fragrances of 2019’.

With time, the olfactory families have evolved. Just take a look at the chypre and how that has changed since its birth in the last century. The original chypres, the mossy, standoffish style of perfumes such as Mitsouko are so far removed from the modern chypres of today; the floral musks of Narciso for Her and Chloe Nomade. Tastes change, and so do the styles of olfaction we wear. And, this is happening to the fougere too. The masculine “fern” family of fragrances that sees herbaceous notes of lavender blended with geranium and coumarin to give a suave and sophisticated vibe. A style of scent that has embodied several evolutions in its lifespan.

The first fougere was Houbigant’s Fougere Royale, created by perfumer Paul Parquet in the 1800s. It is a classic, handsome fragrance that once boasted an overdose of the sweet, hay-like note of coumarin. But the fougere has had many a facelift, nip and tuck over the years, with the leathery, rugged interpretations of the ‘70s and ‘80s, to the barbershop mintiness of fragrances like Gaultier’s Le Male in the 1990s. Now, the fougere has taken on a more minimal, refreshing approach, replacing coumarin overdoses for the excess of another synthesised material: the marine, ambergris of ambroxan. We see this new style in fragrances like Bleu de Chanel, Dior Sauvage and Creed’s Aventus. Scents that embody a clean, casual, yet diffusive character, this is the new fougere.

So why the brief history lesson? Well, because Montblanc’s new Explorer falls directly into this category of new fougeres. It embraces the style with a wild, adventurous spirit that still boasts some of that rugged, stubbled roguishness that has always given the fougere a sexy edge.

image of montblanc explorer aftershave for fragrance review by escentual

What are the notes in Montblanc Explorer?

Top Notes: Bergamot, Pomarose, Sage.
Heart Notes: Vetiver, Leather, Sandalwood.
Base Notes: Patchouli, Ambrofix, Akigalawood.

How does Montblanc Explorer smell?

Explorer opens fresh and smooth. There is a seamless interplay between citrus and herbs, with the sparkling zest of bergamot warmed by the savoury depth of sage. Pomarose, a Givaudan captive material that has a fruity, rosy character brings in dewy orchard facets, which gives Explorer a natural impression that leads one to think of days spent outside amongst the warm sun and the cool breeze.

Things get a bit butch from then on as the grassy note of vetiver, the smoky, buttery tones of leather, and an intense wave of ambroxan envelops the smooth, nuttiness of sandalwood. This gives the impression of a vast grassland, over which a silvery mist rolls in against a gauzy, grey sky of patchouli. The effect is very much like those modern fougeres I mentioned earlier; but there’s perhaps a more natural, relaxed feel to Explore – a sense that it is entirely comfortable being free from constraints.

Montblanc Explorer does not reinvent the wheel. It presents a familiar style but does so in a way that has more of a carefree spirit than many of the fragrances in this genre, which tend to go for more of a tailored navy suit vibe. Explorer is more of a white t-shirt, jeans and converse type of scent. Everything about it is handsome too; from the sophisticated black bottle, which is minimalist in presentation but has a subtly luxurious feel (thanks to the tactile texture), to the crystalline, mineral intensity of its olfactory signature – this is a fragrance that smells good and let’s face it, that’s the most important thing, right?


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