Scent to Travel

By Jo Phillips

Many a scent is crafted with a sensuality, redolent of a particular place in the world. Via science, we know the sense of smell, out of all of our senses lingers in the brain the longest, deep within the limbic system where emotion and memory lie. In a time where real travel is deeply restricted, we still know that scent and memory are intermingled. To travel in the mind via scent is one way to reach foreign lands whilst not leaving your own living rooms, read Scent to Travel here.

Image Keny Kakadia.

Let’s start in Haiti with the marvelous scent of vetiver.

Vetiver the essential oil comes from the sun-dried root of the plant called Khus-khus grass, which is a perennial bunchgrass. Its scent, initially earthy, woody, and root-like, becomes increasingly sweet, and slightly floral, even violet-like. It can also range from cool, smokey, dusty, and clean, all the way to a damp scent via a leather note, simply because vetivers come from different parts of the world and so differ a lot. Not just used for its scent properties it is also a natural fixative that will explode the full scent.

Perfumer Olivier Pescheux says of this wonder ingredient, “I love the fact that it takes time to truly understand all the richness of vetiver. It’s not a common or easy-to-access smell. It’s authentic, raw, and earthy. Vetiver is a root with strong masculine accents: the combination of complexity and roughness gives it real virility. 

The most commonly used and sustainable vetiver comes from Haiti, so from there we travel to Italy for our next ingredient we have a strong smell meets memory connection, Bergamot.

Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit. Oil from the peel of the fruit, and extract from the fruit juice, are used to make medicine as well as extensively used in perfume. Usually, the size of an orange, with a yellow or green colour similar to a lime. Also known as the “green gold” of Calabria southern Italy. It is also familiar to many from Earl Grey tea, which gives its distinctive flavour.

The magical ingredient is used often at the top of the scent to offer an explosive start, particularly in fougère and chypres. From fruity-sweet with mild spicy hints,  citrusy, bitter & tart, and certainly elegant.

Lastly, in our scent journey, we make our way to Indonesia for the ever-present Patchouli. An aromatic flowering plant that grows in a bush and is part of the mint family. When it blooms, it produces small flowers in white or pale purple shades. The plant’s fragrant oil comes via the leaves extracted by drying the leaves of the plant and then distilling the oil via steaming.

Patchouli as a scent is strong, sweet, and falls into a musky-earthy category. Used as a base scent in perfumes and although it is part of the mint family, it doesn’t smell fresh and cool in the way a typical mint may. It has more of the sweet-spicy and musky facets to it and is known by so many as a really 70’s hippy smell.

So why in our article Scent to Travel did we choose Haiti, Italy, and Indonesia as places to explore via our nasal sensations? Along with three different perfumers to work as companions on our journey,  Jordi Fernandez, Antoine Maisondieu, and Olivier Pescheux . Because these three keynotes go to make up the perfume Montblanc Explorer, which pays tribute to a theme of travel and exploration. It invites explorers on a fantastic journey, discovering the rarest ingredients and manufacturing methods that combine craftsmanship with the latest technology into a refined modern men’s fragrance.

The top note, of course, bursts with effusive Bergamot bright, energetic and optimistic. Called OrPur®, this particular bergamot explodes with floral, green, and intensely fresh notes so reminiscent of travels to southern Italy. Next comes the region of Les Cayes, in Haiti where the most refined vetiver is organically and ethically produced. OrPur® Vetiver, exclusive to this specific region of the island brings masculinity to the fragrance. A sharp fresh opening that meets in the middle with rooty maleness and finalises in softest powdery patchouli. Brave yet warming, fearless brightness finishing with softening comfort.

The flacon design finalises the journey. A meeting of far-flung lands starts with a bottle covered in a leather-like protective sheath printed with the elegant Saffiano motif used on Montblanc’s creations since 1926. The bottle also echoes the earth’s two hemispheres, recalling the multiple destinations explored during this olfactory expedition. Made of thick glass, its spherical shape evokes timeless solidity. At the bottom, like a mythical treasure, lies Montblanc’s emblem, the iconic star representing the six glaciers of the highest mountain in Europe. 

The ‘gun barrel’ colour, modern design, and weight of the cap evoke the safety nut of beautiful vintage cars. Engraved with a Montblanc star, this cap with masculine lines sums up the affirmed virility of the fragrance. 

Available nationwide or at Montblanc Fragrances Here

If you enjoyed Scent to Travel then why not try Easy Travel Here.