Spray It Don’t Say It

Bespoke - - MONTALE PARIS -

With a founder who shuns the pub­lic eye and a prac­ti­cally nonex­is­tent mar­ket­ing struc­ture, Mon­tale Paris is as mys­te­ri­ous as its east-meets-west scents. Brim­ming with ori­en­tal in­flu­ence, the Parisian shop trans­ports even the most jaded of noses.

It may be one of the best-kept se­crets in Paris. There are no glossy ads promis­ing ro­mance and no savvy press re­leases an­nounc­ing the lat­est scent. There are no press agents to be found or vi­ral ad cam­paigns for that mat­ter ei­ther. There is just a web­site and a few sim­ple so­cial media ac­counts tout­ing Mon­tale Paris’ lat­est creations, and these are about all you’ll find on this 13-year-old com­pany. The mas­ter­mind be­hind the brand, Pierre Mon­tale, is just as much of an enigma. There is no back­ground about him, no pre­vi­ous work ex­pe­ri­ence, no glow­ing tes­ti­mo­ni­als, not even a sin­gle pic­ture, let alone an in­ter­view. “That’s why peo­ple love us so much, when you buy a per­fume from Mon­tale you know that you’ll be the only one wear­ing it,” ex­plains the sales as­sis­tant at the brand’s Parisian flag­ship store, lo­cated on Rue Pierre Char­ron, be­tween Av­enue Ge­orge V and the Champs Elysées. Still, there are var­i­ous re­ports that the real Pierre Mon­tale has been spot­ted by cus­tomers in his Paris shop, help­ing clients dis­cover his mouth-wa­ter­ing scents. That we find this old-fash­ioned way of do­ing busi­ness un­usual is telling about the day and age we live in. And the fact that Mon­tale Paris is thriv­ing, with a glossy shop in a swanky neigh­bour­hood, in ad­di­tion to a solid dis­tri­bu­tion net­work, is in­dica­tive of the qual­ity of their prod­ucts. Per­haps this mys­tery, this sense of se­crecy, even adds to the ap­peal. The un­known man be­hind Mon­tale, and for that mat­ter, an­other stealthy brand – Mancera, is in fact Pierre Mon­tale. Af­ter some thor­ough in­ves­tiga­tive work, we un­cov­ered a telling trail. Pierre Mon­tale’s real name is in fact Pierre-louis Rep­pelin, and Rep­pelin’s half-sis­ter is none other than Marie Josée Fournier, the founder of Comp­toir Sud Paci­fique, an equally in­spired per­fumery brand, launched in 1975 but sold in 2002, around the same time that Pierre headed to the Mid­dle East. Af­ter a year spent re­search­ing, sniff­ing and soak­ing up the cul­ture in Saudi Ara­bia, where he re­port­edly cre­ated per­fumes for the royal fam­ily, Mon­tale re­turned to Paris, his suit­cases brim­ming with bot­tles and po­tions he in­tended to share with the world. Recre­at­ing the ori­en­tal scents with a Euro­pean mind-set re­sulted in the aro­matic birth of Mon­tale Paris in 2003, for which he opened a flag­ship store on Paris’s pres­ti­gious Place Vendôme. What Pierre Mon­tale did be­fore any­one else was to in­tro­duce the nat­u­ral el­e­ment oud to the es­tab­lished world of French fra­grance. Com­monly re­ferred to as ‘liq­uid gold’ or ‘wood of the

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