Montblanc launched its latest fragrance in February with quite a bit of fanfare and for good reason. The scent is crisp and bright at the top with leather and wood undertones, making it a pretty fresh go-to for everyday use. To top it off, the elongated bottle is wrapped with a black sheath and marked with Montblanc’s signature emblem for a simple, streamlined design that, unlike many other bottles, will fit seamlessly on a dresser top or bathroom vanity.
To create the scent, Montblanc enlisted three of the globe’s top perfumers, Jordi Fernandez, Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux — all from the renowned fragrance company Givaudan. Each of them brought expertise on a single ingredient from around the globe: bergamot from Italy, vetiver from Haiti and patchouli from Indonesia.
When smelling Explorer, Bergamot is the top note and it’s been sourced from Calabria in Southern Italy, no simple task. Acquiring the oil from this sour citrus fruit is a labor of love: It takes each bergamot tree four to five years to bear fruit and it takes the fruit of two trees to produce a single kilogram of essential oil.
Following bergamot, Haitian vetiver is at the heart of this fragrance. The masculine notes of the plant have been used for men’s fragrance since the 18th Century. While you can find the plant in Indonesia, India, Brazil and Madagascar, the Haitian variety is the most balanced and multi-faceted. The root oil brings calming earthy and woodsy notes to the layers of Montblanc’s Explorer.
Finally, at the base is Indonesian patchouli. The fragrant, bushy plant has also been used for centuries in perfumery. Like many other ingredients, it’s not easy to obtain: for a single kilo of essential oil, 200 times that amount in fresh leaves is collected in the fields. After air drying for several days, the leaves are distilled for a minimum of eight hours. However cumbersome, the process is worth it for the result, an oil that’s rich with warm and earthy notes.
Combined with French sage and pink pepper, the efforts of marrying these hard-won essential oils shines in Montblanc’s Explorer. Reminiscent of the edges of the globe that they hail from, this fresh and earthy scent is well-suited for all daily pursuits, far-flung or otherwise.