Perfume Directory

Explorer (2019)
by Montblanc

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Explorer information

Year of Launch2019
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
Not enough ratings.

People and companies

HouseMontblanc
PerfumerJordi Fernandez
PerfumerAntoine Maisondieu
PerfumerOlivier Pescheux
SupplierGivaudan
Parent CompanyInter Parfums

About Explorer

Explorer is a masculine fragrance by Montblanc. The scent was launched in 2019 and the fragrance was created by perfumers Olivier Pescheux, Antoine Maisondieu and Jordi Fernandez

Explorer fragrance notes

Reviews of Explorer

Alright everyone, gather 'round, because we have ourselves here quite the little piece of work. Hype about Montblanc Explorer (2019) was already building a year before anyone even knew what the scent smelled like, but most of the post-release hype came from the online cabal I affectionately call "The Kult of Aventus". For those not in the fragrance community, this is a very vocal minority group of super-obsessive "cologne guys" that place a scent called Aventus (2010) from the luxury brand Creed on such a high pedestal as to almost be worshiped like a God, endlessly slaving over batches of the slightest variance year to year (it's a Creed thing), then literally stalking or harassing anyone who doesn't agree with them that Creed Aventus is the greatest male perfume ever created, and those who wear it the greatest of men to walk the Earth. It's scary psycho babble for sure, and this same group also crucifies any scent release that bears even the slightest of resemblance to Aventus with endless trolling, and the hype they've stirred around Montblanc Explorer concerns it being a designer attempt at a clone of their beloved Aventus. Now, there indeed are many out-and-out clones of Creed Aventus from a lot of fly-by-night imposter houses, and some of them are pretty damned close to be sure, while others are laughably cheap and vague to the point of being a parody rather than a true imitation, but the jury is hung here on whether or not Explorer is direct designer plagiarism of the niche realm. For the record, I can totally understand why the Aventus faithful would get the impression this is a clone, because for the first 30 minutes or so of the wear, Montblanc Explorer does bear more than a passing resemblance to Creed Aventus in it's evolution on skin, but it is more of a lighter, sharper "sport scent" sort of resemblance than a direct proxy. There is an alarming number of synthetics in Explorer as well, many of them being patented Givaudan captives that literally spell out "this scent is only possible by working through Givaudan", letting those savvy about the industry know who is really pulling the strings here, and that is probably the biggest black mark against Explorer, more so than any degree of claimed Aventus bootlegging.

Montblanc Explorer opens up with a Givaudan Orpur® vacuum distillation of bergamot that strikes very close to another fragrance also lambasted by "The Kult of Aventus" as a clone: Mancera Cedrat Boise (2011). While I maintain that the Mancera has more in common with the later Dior Sauvage (2015), it does have juicy blackcurrant tied to bergamot like Aventus, while Explorer in this case does not. Instead, there is something fruity paired with the bergamot, but it is synthetic and much drier than the pineapple or blackcurrant from Creed, being combined with sage and pink pepper in a way that makes Explorer feel spicier than everything above. Once the heart moves in, Explorer does start focusing into a hazy facsimile of the Aventus accord, and it achieves that by using a similar denatured patchouli as Aventus and switching the birch smoke of that scent with the vetiver smoke of another Givaudan Orpur®, being their variety of Haitian vetiver absolute. The vetiver smoke here does a good job with the bergamot and processed patchouli, giving an "Aventus Sport" kind of feeling, with a lighter, less fruity, and more athletic take on the Creed. If Explorer had stayed like this, I'd be completely elated at having a makeshift sport flanker to Aventus as sometimes the vanilla and musk of that scent can be a bit much in extreme heat, but alas it is was not to be. Instead, Explorer does the usual 2010's designer trick of having glorious top and heart notes devolve into aromachemical sludge once we go into the dry down, meaning nobody will think you're wearing Aventus if they catch you after you've had this on a while. Explorer is frighteningly loaded down with ambroxan, called "Ambrofix" as it is again a Givaudan variant, and isn't your usual nuclear ambroxan like that in Y Eau de Toilette (2017), so Explorer avoids the "ambroxan bomb" tag. However, for as convincing an ambergris note as "Ambrofix" is, there's so much of it here with both norlimbanol and the naturally-derived but chemically-produced Givaudan "Akigalawood", that we're left with a drydown which could be mistaken for any number of 2010's "crowd-pleasing" designers when passing it on a department store counter. On the plus side, there really aren't any other designers on the market with an opening and heart this good, so you'd have to go back up to something like Aventus, Cedrat Boise, or even a vintage chypre to find bergamot of this quality before IFRA restricted its use, so there is some magic going on here.

Wear time is good but sillage is tight, as this is a typical eau de parfum, giving all-day performance for the average Joe who doesn't know who Creed are or what Aventus is, making Montblanc Explorer a solid and inoffensive office fragrance that is far better than the crud a host of others have passed onto the public in this style. With three perfumers put on task for Explorer, I would've expected more, but like with 2000's Calvin Klein scents, the old "too many hands spoil the pot" adage applies here. That being said, Antoine Maisondieu, Olivier Pescheux, and Jordi Fernandez have done solid work. If they didn't mean to clone Aventus, and I think bigger issues than irate online fanatics foaming over their keyboards would arise if they did, it is evident that there was at least inspiration from Aventus, if not direct orders from the top to make something "in the vein" on a budget for the economy of scale a big operation like Montblanc needs. What does that make Montblanc Explorer exactly? Perhaps it's payback for Creed making their own take on Montblanc Individuel (2003) and stealing its thunder with Creed Original Santal (2005), or maybe it's the inevitable deconstruction of the Aventus "ambergris" for use on the mass-market, like Davidoff Cool Water (1988) was to Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985)? Whatever Explorer is, I label it a "me too" scent, which is one semantic breath away from being a clone anyway. Sample as always, but if you're familiar with Aventus and came upon this stuff from reading a blurb about Explorer being "a designer clone", or maybe have sniffed a ton of bergamot-led ambroxan scents in a genre done to death and are looking for something novel, there is nothing here that will blow your mind and you may want to skip onto the next one. Conversely speaking, if you're looking for something fresh, versatile, compliment-getting, non-cloying, and don't care about synthetic mumbo jumbo or who's copying who, Explorer might just be the best masculine designer dumb-reach since Bleu de Chanel (2010) started this whole genre. Explorer is honestly the kind of thing Montblanc needed in their lineup if they expect to hang with the "big boys" in this arena like Chanel, Dior, and YSL, so there's that to consider as well. Thumbs Up.
10th March, 2019
Tried it at the airport.

What a synthetic cheap smelling scent...

Thumbs down!
06th March, 2019
If modern designer perfumery is to be described with a biblical expression, one can do worse than "vale of tears". Playing it safe is one thing, releasing absolutely derivative and just plain bad fragrances is totally another. Explorer by Montblanc is a sad addition to an already stale genre and it makes me mad on so many levels.

Let's not beat around the bush, this is Montblanc's attempt at cashing in on the Aventus hype train, 9 years too late, a copy that nobody in their right mind asked for, a work so depressing and bad that it boggles the mind it exists. Three (!!!) perfumers made this, of which two have at least churned out passable, (albeit not classical) original (albeit not groundbreaking) fragrances in their careers.

Be not fooled by the fragrance notes, there is nothing so sophisticated in the bottle (even the bottle is derivative). It's a smoky, citrusy pineapple from top to tragic bottom, absolutely linear in its progression. Vile, cloying and persistent, this chemical (in the worst possible way) broth refuses to go away once sprayed. I literally tried to wash my hands, Lady Macbeth style, and it lingered like the Mark of Cain. How in the world is it possible to use a budget like this, with a brief that probably sounded like "Aventus, but cheaper" and spawn this unholy mess?

I've bought tree-shaped car fresheners that smell more lush than this. I've smelled bathroom cleaning solutions that weren't as aggressive to my nose. From a fragrance perspective, it's the equivalent of money so inflation-ridden, that it's not worth the time spent picking it up if one drops it to the floor.

And naturally, since it's a clone of a sprayable meme, since it's persistent as hell, vulgar and impossible to ignore, it will probably sell like crazy. If this is what the future smells, I'm starting to regret the present, which says a lot.

Note: This review is based on two full wears of this perfume, one directly in the store, and one at home from a sample I got at the same occasion. Shame on me for being fooled twice.
25th February, 2019
Creed Aventus by another name.

A little less pineapple though, and depending on who you ask, it is either better or worse than the Creed.

To me, longevity and sillage were both above average.

Neutral only because it is an outright copy of Aventus...MB should have at least changed something.
19th February, 2019

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