Montblanc Explorer Montblanc

Montblanc Explorer Review: Aventus-Inspired Fragrance or Overhyped Letdown

Montblanc Explorer

Montblanc Explorer is a men's cologne launched in 2019.

This one has been getting hyped up in the fragrance community, just in general, people have been talking about this one.

People want to know what's up with this, is this one worth getting, is it any good?

The reason that this is getting so much hype is because it's getting compared to Creed Aventus.

In this article, I'll let you know what I think about the fragrance, how it performs if it smells similar to Creed Aventus if it's worth buying. 

What does Montblanc Explorer smell like?

Let's first unveil the notes of the fragrance.

The top notes are Bergamot, Pink Pepper, and Clary Sage.

Middle notes are Haitian Vetiver and Leather.

Base notes are Ambroxan, Akigalawood, Indonesian Patchouli Leaf, and Cacao Pod.

When you first spray this on, it does not smell like Aventus. And I'm talking about the very initial blast, okay?

I'm not talking about the entire opening, just the very initial part of the opening. It doesn't smell like Aventus initially.

Explorer is missing the apple, blackcurrant, and pineapple that Aventus has.

Explorer does have bergamot, and the bergamot that's used in Explorer is going to remind you a little bit of the bergamot that's used in Aventus, but that tang that you get from blackcurrant or that juice that you get from pineapple, those are missing in Explorer. And as well, there is no birch or smoke in Explorer.

So off the top, Explorer does not have the same opening as Aventus, it doesn't have that smoky birch, it doesn't have that juicy pineapple, and it's not the same.

Again, the bergamot that's used here is similar to the bergamot in Aventus, but it's missing a lot of things that Aventus has.

Now here's the deal, though. About five minutes in, Explorer does start to smell similar to Aventus, despite having those missing notes.

It's close enough that when you smell Explorer after about five minutes, you're gonna go, ‘Oh yeah, that does remind me of Aventus.'

Now, it's not close enough that I would call it an Aventus clone, what could you say that it's inspired by Aventus at this point in the fragrance's life?

Yeah, you could, and you probably should, but Explorer does have a definite designer feel to it that Aventus does not.

And why does Explorer have that Aventus feel?

Because of the aroma chemicals that are being used in it.

Explorer has an overload of Ambroxan and Akigalawood, and Ambroxan is used in tons of men's fragrances, and the Ambroxan overload here gives the fragrance a warm, semi-sweet pleasant feel after the first five minutes when it doesn't smell like Aventus. it starts to transition into an Aventus-inspired fragrance or riff on the Aventus DNA up until about 45 minutes, and that's when Explorer smells most like Aventus.

So you have about a 35 to 40-minute window where Explorer is trying to be similar to Aventus to an extent.

It's like you took Aventus, you got rid of the birch, you got rid of the pineapple, you got rid of the blackcurrant, and you replaced those notes with more Ambroxan and Akigalawood.

Akigalawood has a woody type scent with kind of a peppery undertone.

You do pick up a good amount of the pepper from the Akigalawood, and that pepper may trick some people into thinking that it's got kind of a smoky feel.

Again, there's no birch or birch tar in Explorer, so I don't pick up any smoke at all, just that kind of peppery Akigalawood and there's a good amount of that in here.

Explorer does come off as noticeably synthetic. I'm not saying that in a negative way.

A lot of times people say synthetic, and they use that as kind of a diss or a burn on the fragrance that they're talking about.

In this circumstance, I mean synthetic and it's using a lot of synthetic molecules, and it's obvious.

And the reason it's so obvious that this has so many synthetic notes in it is that once that fruity bergamot that might remind you of a fruitier batch of Aventus in the opening dies out, it becomes just an absolute woody and Ambroxan bomb. Not necessarily in terms of performance or projection, but in terms of what you pick up when you smell it.

There's a small touch of vetiver in Explorer that comes out as it dries down, and you pick up those woody notes more prominently, but the vetiver here is never really all that strong. It's dwarfed by the Akigalawood and the Ambroxan.

In the dry down. The vetiver just gives a slightly dry, semi-musty feel that's in the background of the fragrance.

I know that Explorer has been compared to Aventus as a clone, as being very similar to Aventus, and as I said earlier, for about 30 minutes there, you could say that it's close enough to be considered in the extended family of Aventus. But once it dries down and in the initial opening, it's not close to Aventus at all, at least to my nose it's not.

Explorer has similarities to Aventus as it goes from the opening into the mid, but past that, once the bergamot starts to dry down, there's not much similar here in the dry down.

Explorer is missing a ton of notes from Creed Aventus. There's no vanilla, there's no musk, there's no birch, there's no oakmoss, there are no floral notes in Explorer. Aventus uses Ambergris, Explorer uses Ambroxan.

Ambroxan gives off kind of a fuzzy, semi-sweet warm fragrance feel.

Ambergris is usually smoother and sometimes gives off a little bit of a salty feel, and when you spray these on side by side, there's an enormous difference.

I did spray Aventus side by side with Explorer so I could compare them. I was essentially comparing the worst Aventus batch that I have up against Explorer, and Aventus was still much better.

I also had my wife test both of these while I was wearing them and give me her thoughts on them.

She did it blindly because she didn't know which one I had sprayed where. I just said, ‘Hey, one of these is Aventus, smell these and tell me which one,' and she got it immediately, with no hesitation whatsoever.

This was in the very initial opening, like I said, the first five minutes or so, Explorer does not smell like Aventus. She could immediately tell, she said, ‘The first one's Aventus and the second one honestly doesn't smell good.'

In the middle, she said that they smelled more similar, but she still preferred Aventus. So she was on the same page with me and my thoughts.

And once they got the full dried out, she said that they smelled like two completely different fragrances.

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How long does Montblanc Explorer last?

For me, not very good longevity, we are talking 4 to 5 hours before you can not pick it up at all. It leans more toward 4 hours than it does 5.

And the projection is good through what I would call the Aventus-ish phase of the fragrance's life.

Throughout that phase when the bergamot is still more noticeable, it projects well.

Once that bergamot starts to die off, though, the projection goes with it.

To be fair, though, Explorer does perform just a little bit worse than my 18K01 Aventus batch.

This Aventus batch is pretty weak as far as projection and longevity go off my skin.

So while Explorer does not have great performance off my skin, if you compare it to a more modern batch of Aventus, it's pretty close.

My older batches of Aventus perform much better.

When to wear Montblanc Explorer?

I think this scent has a high versatility and I would say the same thing about Club de Nuit Intense and I would say the same thing about Creed Aventus.

I think you could wear this on all seasons and occasions perhaps the only thing that hinders the versatility a little bit is does it leans a little bit more masculine, and if you used to smell Aventus and other Aventus-type fragrances on men then you will be able to associate those fragrances as well.

In Summary – Montblanc Explorer

In my opinion, Montblanc Explorer is not a clone of Aventus.

It's not even really inspired by Aventus, it just rips off part of the DNA for 30 minutes or so, and then it's its own synthetic Ambroxan woody balm.

Now, despite all the stuff I've said that makes it sound like I'm crapping hard on Explorer, it smells okay.

It's pleasant, is it unique? No, it's not.

is it worth it?

I think yes, for the price is very good, you get a similar Aventus DNA for 1/5th of the price.

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